One Chair 4 One Child: One Student’s Social Business

Racquel Knight ’18 is a global citizenship major and champion at Becker College. She is passionate about bringing solutions to global problems and changing the world.  Her latest endeavor is the One Chair 4 One Child social business project. Racquel recalls how difficult it was to get a chair and desk to start the school day while attending primary and high school in Jamaica. “We would spend thirty minutes or more trying to find a chair. If a chair had three legs, then I would improvise, leaning against the wall and barely sitting on the chair to try to avoid falling.”  She often used her back pack as a seat or bracing her textbook against the wall to write, which was very uncomfortable and distracting.

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She has realized that this was not just a problem specific to her childhood, rather, it is a problem for many children in the past and today, especially in the rural areas of Jamaica.  In developing countries, poor or inadequate school facilities pose a real obstacle to learning for children.  In Jamaica, there is an increased need for chairs in classrooms. Chairs are often broken or misplaced; therefore, students are sent home from school or struggle to participate during class sessions. Racquel decided to work to change this by beginning the One Chair 4 One Child project. Her vision is to eradicate the problem and create a comfortable learning environment for children who are attending school in rural areas of Jamaica.

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Racquel is partnering with members in the Association of Clubs in Jamaica and plans to employ youths living in Jamaican communities who possess the skill to design quality chairs and desks.  She is also developing an online store on the project’s website that will showcase different crafts and products from Jamaicans.  All profits from the project will be reinvested into purchasing materials for the chairs and desks and paying the individuals who make them.

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The One Chair 4 One Child project is a shining example of social business as envisioned by Dr. Muhammed Yunus, who coined the term.  Social businesses work to identify world problems and create self-sustaining business solutions that have social impact, while generating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities that drive economic development regionally and around the world.

See how this project develops by visiting www.facebook.com/onechair4onechild.