WALNUT CREEK, Calif., Sept. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A group of One Planet Group team members have recently returned from a service trip to Starfish International, an organization working tirelessly to improve access to education in The Gambia. Working with roughly 150 students annually, Starfish International works with Gambian girls and boys, supporting their journey through school and instilling them with the core values of nobility, independence, courtesy, knowledge, and service.
“I profoundly believe that businesses must be a source of social good. At One Planet Group, we care deeply about the equality of women and men, which is why we are so honored to do a small part to support the incredible mission of Starfish International, an organization founded by Mam Yassin Sarr and David Fox. Their work in The Gambia is inspiring and humbling, and its impact can only be fully understood through first-hand experience.”
– Payam Zamani, Founder, One Planet Group
The group from One Planet Group, spent a week on Starfish’s main campus, working with and learning from the students, and ultimately taking part in their annual graduation ceremony. The Mentors at Starfish International guided the group throughout the community, including a trip to The Land, a beautiful piece of land that Starfish is developing into a secondary campus, including classrooms, skill building facilities and farming grounds. The group also took part in shadowing the students during “a day in the life” to see their living conditions and household responsibilities, providing crucial context to the importance of the programs at Starfish International.
“We believe that girls’ education, in particular, is the key to mitigating or even remedying humanity’s issues. Our hope is to educate as many young people as possible, exposing them to numerous resources and opportunities that they can use to further themselves and their communities. We were so glad to welcome the One Planet team, and have the opportunity to introduce them directly to some of our incredible students.”
– Mam Yassin Sarr, Founder and Director of Starfish International
While education for girls specifically in The Gambia has improved, in many cases, they are fighting an uphill battle. The average family in The Gambia subsists on approximately $1 per day. Early marriage and pregnancy further curtail girls’ education and prospects, putting them at a much higher risk of leaving school before obtaining a degree. Socio-cultural norms can also restrict girls’ mobility and participation in public spaces, limiting their exposure to diverse experiences, networks, and possibilities. Starfish International actively works to address these limitations by advocating for gender-equitable policies, raising awareness about the importance of education, and challenging deep-rooted stereotypes to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for girls in The Gambia.
“Stepping into the world of Starfish International was a humbling experience that reaffirmed the power of education and grassroots empowerment. The students of their programs exuded compassion, positivity, and confidence, embodying the change they wish to see in their communities. Beyond the classroom, the program’s mentors showcased the ripple effect of Starfish’s efforts, as they not only impart knowledge to the student through learned experience but also manage the program and extend their impact through outreach initiatives across The Gambia and beyond.”
– Kirianna Longsworth, Marketing Manager, Buyerlink who took part in this trip to The Gambia
As a company, One Planet Group believes that businesses should be a source for social good. We challenge the idea that only non-profit organizations can serve humanity, and firmly believe that for-profit companies need to step up to the challenge and make betterment of the world a core part of their DNA. Capitalism can serve humanity.
The team members that went to The Gambia, were drawn across One Planet Group companies, including Buyerlink, Autoweb, and One Planet Studios. In total, they spent about seven days working with the students in The Gambia. The trip was funded by One Planet Group, and will be an annual initiative.
About One Planet Group
One Planet Group is a closely held private equity firm that owns a suite of online technology and media businesses while also investing in early-stage companies. Owned and operated businesses span a variety of industries including ad tech, publishing, and media. One Planet Group’s mission is to support strong business ideas while building an ethos that helps improve society and give back to communities.
Infused with foundational values which promote diversity and inclusion, unity, service to humanity, and excellence in all things, One Planet Group strives to foster an environment that promotes equality, love, and empowerment.
The company’s investment portfolio includes over 40 startups representing a diverse group of innovative tech-enabled products and solutions. Investing primarily in high-growth early-stage entities, with an emphasis on companies that aspire to the concept of ‘Innovation + Intention.’ Specific areas of focus include the future of mobility, education technology, health technology, and environmental solutions.
One Planet Group’s core operating businesses include Buyerlink, a leading online marketplace for performance-based marketing; Autoweb, a company that provides performance-based marketing solutions to the automotive industry; California.com, a curated guide to traveling and living in California; and Contractors.com, a site connecting homeowners and service providers. One Planet Group also operates BahaiTeachings.org, a non-profit platform that shares personal perspectives to promote the oneness of humanity.
One Planet Group was founded by tech entrepreneur Payam Zamani in 2015. With offices and employees in over ten countries, their global headquarters is located in Walnut Creek, California.
About Starfish International
Starfish International is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a well-rounded and quality education for Gambian girls and boys. Working annually with 100 girls and 35 boys, Starfish International has been in service for 12 years, uplifting, educating, accompanying, and providing a safe haven for their students’ growth, wellbeing, and development.
Starfish’s mission is to uplift Gambian girls by providing them with a world-class education that is focused on service to humanity while at the same time providing international service-learning opportunities for volunteers.
The values and the five qualities highlighted at Starfish International are nobility, independence, courtesy, knowledge, and service. As an organization, its major achievement is to have graduated and impacted over 900 students who are now doctors, teachers, lawyers, nurses, and many other professionals in their respective fields. Their three significant areas of impact are education, health, and agriculture, with a focus on mentorship, entrepreneurship, character development, scholarship opportunities, leadership training, career counseling, public speaking, and community service.
Senior Director of PR & Communications
One Planet Group
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SOURCE One Planet Group
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