World Teachers’ Day 2023

UNESCO established World Teachers’ Day in 1994 to honor teachers around the world who put their passion and hard work into helping and inspiring others. 

For a company like ours, whose mission is to transform lives through learning, World Teachers’ Day is a big deal. And while we honor all those who teach, this year we’re pleased to spotlight Vital Nsengiyumva and Chris Haroun, who are featured in this video.

Vital’s story also begins in 1994, a year with horrible significance for those in Rwanda, Africa, when over 800,000 Tutsis and others were killed over 100 days of violence. Vital was just four years old at the time. The Rwandan Genocide left villages without basic infrastructure, let alone a functioning school system. Vital was able to follow his desire to learn — from primary school to engineering studies in Germany to business courses on Udemy. With the help of Chris, he was ultimately able to bring learning and skills back to his remote village of Magu with the opening of an internet-enabled school and computer science building. They call it Project Magu.

Vital and Chris had expected 25 students on opening day, but around 100 people showed up between the ages of 8 and 70. Affordable education is a big priority for people in Rwanda, and Project Magu hopes to open 1,000 schools in Rwanda over the next few years. To help those efforts, Udemy has donated $5,000.

When World Teachers’ Day was established, teaching was mostly done in the classroom. Blackboards and textbooks were the materials of instruction. Almost thirty years later, things have changed. The classroom is still there, but many chalkboards are now dry-erase boards and textbooks may be loaded onto tablets. But perhaps the biggest change is that learning also happens online. An instructor may be in New York and the person taking their course may be in New Delhi.

But the one constant is the debt and gratitude we owe to our teachers all around the globe — because teaching and learning allow for hope and change. Just as it did for Vital, and just as it does for the children in Magu.