Malibu native Christine Waljeski, along with her husband Julien Dubois, are raising money toward paying for the expenses of a total of 325 teachers and government officials to go to one of several sites in Ethiopia for leadership training. The couple has now raised $12,500 toward their goal of $20,000, with a deadline of Feb. 14. Fundraising efforts by others in the U.S. and Canada will bring the total to $120,000.
Christine Waljeski has committed to raising $20,000 to go on the trip — essentially paying for the expenses of 67 Ethiopian educators to travel from rural communities and attend the training. She is one of 12 instructors who will be donating their services and traveling to Ethiopia at their own expense to deliver “Lightyear Leadership” training at a conference over a four-day period.
It will be North American leaders working with Ethiopian leaders,” Waljeski said. “There will be a mix at each location, and we’ll have translators.” She has been studying for over two years in her spare time to become a qualified instructor in these courses.
The gist of the training is to lead teachers to recognize their unique contributions and impact on the world. They leave the training with a set of 10-year goals and leadership tools.
“It’s how to take planned goals and a vision to bring a project to life,” she said.
“There’s a tradition for children to do chores instead of going to school among Ethiopians in rural communities,” Waljeski explained. “The community needs to honor tradition, yet still examine it and implement change to move forward. Most teachers aren’t trained to envision their job as creating change and inspiring the people around them.”
The nonprofit organization Christine Waljeski and Dubois work with, imagine1day, was formed in 2007 by Canadian billionaire philanthropist couple Dennis (“Chip”) Wilson and Shannon Wilson, founders of the Lululemon Athletica clothing line. In addition to an endowment, the organization raised $2.2 million in public funds in 2015.
The goal of imagine1day is to “be part of a movement to give all Ethiopian children access to quality education, free from foreign aid, by 2030.” The nonprofit directs 100 percent of donations toward school construction, teacher training, leadership development, education materials and supplies and high school scholarships. Salary and travel costs for field staff, fundraising costs, and occupation costs are covered through the endowment.