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Justin Zoradi Believes Education Can Eradicate Poverty
Image: Jered Scott
Justin Zoradi Believes Education Can Eradicate Poverty

When most kids get home from school on Friday, it's a feeling of celebration: Weekend! But not for Justin Zoradi. At dinner every Friday, his mom would open the newspaper to discuss current events—local, national, global. "I remember thinking it was really dumb," Zoradi says. "But she'd say, 'It's important that you realize your life isn't just about your little town and your soccer team and your fourth grade class. You need to know how other kids in the world live—and to know how great you have it.' "

Zoradi isn't rolling his eyes anymore. Today, he's founder and director of These Numbers Have Faces, a nonprofit that provides college scholarships for students in South Africa, Rwanda, and soon Uganda. Zoradi, 30, discovered the need while on a service project in South Africa in 2006, when he met several bright students who wanted to go to college but couldn't afford it. Zoradi remembers thinking, This is injustice, and I have to do something about it.

After returning to the United States, Zoradi felt God's prodding one day. "Suddenly, bam, it hit me," he says. "God was saying, 'Are you going to deny opportunities to others that you demand for yourself?' It wasn't a feeling of guilt. It was a feeling of empowerment, responsibility, and clarity of my role in the world."

Question & Answer


I hear there was a particular student in South Africa who got to you.

Xolani was graduating in the top five of his class. He wanted to study accounting and be the first in his family to go to college, but they were very poor. He told me, "I've worked so hard to get to this place, and now I have nothing." ...

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Justin Zoradi Believes Education Can Eradicate Poverty
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October 2012

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