The importance of education cannot be overstated. It is the means by which individuals may raise themselves, their families and their communities into a higher standard of living. Education levels the playing field – taking race, religion and social status out of the picture. It is the foundation of true democracy.
With major advancements in technology over the past few decades, classrooms have been enhanced with modern devices and tools such as live-streamed lectures, e-textbooks and interactive exams. Despite this progress, millions of children around the world still never receive a quality education.
Many countries, especially those with large rural populations, do not provide basic schooling to their students. As a result, their people are unable to break the cycle of lost opportunities, squandered potential, and sub-par living conditions.
Research has even shown a strong correlation between a lack of education and lower life expectancy. That’s right – you are more likely to die young if you didn’t go to school.
If you think that is just unacceptable, you are not alone. Meet Mr. Noah Samara, the Founder of Yazmi.
The Founding Father of Satellite Radio
Mr. Noah Samara is the Chairman and CEO of Yazmi, an organization committed to ensuring that no child goes without an education.
Noah was born in Ethiopia to an Ethiopian mother and Sudanese father. Unlike many of his compatriots at the time, Noah was fortunate enough to be schooled from an early age, and ultimately attended university in the U.K. and the United States.
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from East Stroudsburg University and pursuing his graduate studies in European Renaissance History at UCLA, Noah went on to study law at Georgetown University. At Georgetown, he was introduced to Space Law and how satellites deliver massive volumes of information across continents. Equipped with this newfound knowledge, Noah entered the communications industry.
In the late 1980s, he launched AfriSpace, a company providing digital audio broadcasting services for Africa. AfriSpace made it possible for people to listen to dozens of radio channels with complete clarity using a portable radio. The company offered its radios at an affordable price and, by signing news and entertainment giants on as content providers, giving listeners a wide range of programs to tune to.
Noah explains, “In truth, we’ve long known that access to information is indispensable to human health, stability and advancement. Access to information means teachers will be capable of guiding children to become literate and numerate, essential skills that will support them as workers, parents and citizens. Access to information creates the demand for more information. It never fails: in every age and in every land, people hunger for information. By the same token, where there is a poverty of information you will find a poverty health, sustenance and human dignity. The responsibility in the EdTech sector is deep and serious because we design and build systems to arguably distribute the most precious commodity: information.”
In 1990, determined to change the education landscape, Noah established WorldSpace, Inc., the world’s first company to launch a satellite radio system. While growing the WorldSpace operation, he also served as an advisor to numerous global telecommunications and broadcasting organizations on a wide range of business and regulatory issues. As the founding father of satellite radio, Noah has dedicated his life to using satellite technology for improving millions of lives around the world.
An Education Solution for Remote Areas
In 2009, Noah established Yazmi to tackle a seemingly impossible challenge – delivering quality education to areas lacking internet, telephone connectivity and electricity.
Yazmi’s satellite-based and solar-powered technology transmits educational content to tablets or smartphones at schools that are otherwise unreachable. With Yazmi, an limitless number of students and teachers can access materials such as e-textbooks, live-streamed lectures, interactive exams and educational games – solving the major challenge of material shortages.
Yazmi’s solution provides the sender with full control of the content being accessed on users’ devices, which strictly display information broadcasted by the sender. The system includes a return path via the satellite, allowing for communication between education administrators and the schools being served, as well as data analytics such as exam performance and time spent studying.
Yazmi’s solution also addresses the vital issue of teacher performance: before each lesson, teachers can watch tutorials by “super teachers” to improve their techniques and understanding of the content. For example, a recognized math professor can transmit a video and lesson plan to all Algebra teachers explaining the lesson and his preferred exercises that help his students learn.
The Yazmi tablet takes the place of a backpack filled with textbooks, acts as a reference library and serves as a portable desk. Unlike any other educational technology provider, the Yazmi system is device-agnostic and broadcasts content via its own two-way communication satellite – guaranteeing end-to-end content delivery.
Moreover, applications of Yazmi’s technology go beyond the traditional school setting. The solution can be used to train technicians entering the manufacturing industry, provide health workers with tools and alerts to suppress disease outbreaks, and support agricultural extension workers with techniques to improve efficiencies and yields of their community’s farmers.
A Sharp, Motivated Team
Yazmi’s team – a blend of seasoned management and young talent – share a common belief in the impact their work will have on millions of lives around the world. Their leader, Mr. Noah Samara, is recognized as a great mentor to young entrepreneurs.
The team is working day-to-day on improving connectivity, expanding content and improving efficiencies in their operation.
Yazmi’s main headquarters are in Washington DC, USA and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The company is always on the lookout for new, skilled team members to join their mission of equipping people around the world with the knowledge they need to pave the way for a better tomorrow.
Mr. Noah Samara’s vision is becoming a reality, as his company continues to fuel the development of the education, health, agriculture and industry sectors in Africa and beyond.