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‘We empower communities through access to education, essential aid’

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Youssef with students of the #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative.<br />

An entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Paxful, Ray Youssef, in this interview with GLORIA NWAFOR, speaks on how #BuiltWithBitcoin, a charitable initiative, will help create positive social change for the future of young ones through access to quality education and scholarships.

What is the #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative about?
#BuiltWithBitcoin is a charitable initiative that Paxful created to help those who need it the most using the power of Bitcoin. The initiative has helped to build schools and water wells, fund scholarships, and provide much-needed aid to those in need during a crisis. The mission is to empower communities by providing education, safe drinking water, and essential aid—all with the power of Bitcoin. We believe that Bitcoin is capable of providing opportunities, improving lives, and making the world a better place—one Bitcoin at a time.

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What inspired the Initiative?
It has always been my dream to build schools. Education and knowledge represent the power to change one’s life and by arming the young with education. We are helping create positive social change for the future. Additionally, by starting young, with primary and secondary education as a focus of #BuiltwithBitcoin, we are creating an appetite for knowledge that we hope will carry them through life.

How many schools have been completed so far?
Four schools have been completed – one in Nigeria, two in Rwanda and one in Kenya. 

How are the schools maintained?
We do not only build these schools but also provide the necessary funds to keep these schools sustainable. We provide books, stationary, staff salary, and health insurance among others. We also equipped our schools with necessary protective equipment in response to the pandemic, so that the kids can safely return to their classrooms.

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How are teachers sourced and what measures are put in place to ensure they deliver?
With the support and guidance of a certified education resource firm (B.O.B resources), we have been able to roll out a detailed school curriculum that will be used in the school, and it is the standard required by the national education board and Ministry of Education. The children will also be taught leadership communication skills, so they know that it is their responsibility to help improve their society. Regarding their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put in place a facility attached to a water well that will have a constant flow of water – powered by a solar panel. All provided by Paxful. Students and staff will have the opportunity to constantly wash their hands. Hand sanitizers will also be provided in the school entrance and classrooms. Facemasks will also be mandated for students’ use – provided through the school program.

Where do you source your funds?
Funds are solely raised by Paxful through social media and our own user base. Donations are accepted on a rolling base on builtwithbitcoin.org and will be used to aid in the completion of the school among additional #BuiltwithBitcoin initiatives including Paxful’s Africa Fund for COVID-19.

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What differentiates the initiative from other bitcoin funded projects?
We want to show the world that Bitcoin is more than just a currency, it is a way to empower communities by providing access to education, safe drinking water, and essential aid. Every once in a while, we’ll be asked why they spend so much time and resources on this project. We simply answer that we want there to be an opportunity to capture the energy that you can do something that can change the entire world. It’s a chance to build something sustainable that can take care of people. Hope is what’s going to help humanity. That’s what we’re building.

How has the partnership with ZamZam water been?
They are absolutely the best! They have been very transparent when there are difficulties with a project. There is mutual respect between the teams and the level of communication between us has always been very comfortable.

What more should we expect from the BWB project?
What started out as an idea has grown into a movement that brings opportunity and hopes to the emerging markets around the world. Our vision is to expand the initiative to more countries and be able to support more communities.

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In this article:
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