Maggie McDonnell, 2017 winner

Maggie MacDonnell teaches indigenous communities in Canada and has been a teacher in a fly-in Inuit village called Salluit, in the Canadian Arctic.

There are tremendous gender issues in Inuit communities with teenage pregnancies common, high levels of sexual abuse, and gender roles often burden young girls with large domestic duties. Maggie created a life skills programme specifically for girls, a partnership with the daycare centre, set up a community fitness centre, and encouraged her students to run a community kitchen, attend suicide prevention training and hike through national parks to understand environmental stewardship.

Events that Maggie attended in the year after her win included:

• Keynote speech at the annual Education International Conference in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
• The Canadian Sports Film festival
• Coaching Association of Canada conference
• Travel to Chile and Argentina, where she was received by the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet
• Teach for All event speaking with CEO Wendy Kopp
• Goldman Sachs event, speaking with President Anne Black
• New York Royal Academy of Sciences event speaking with Vice President Michele Przypyszny
• UN High Level event on education, speaking on a panel about innovation in education. The event was seeking to raise awareness of the obstacles and opportunities for achieving universal access to quality education and lifelong learning
• Maggie launched her Kayak programme in Canada, training indigenous youth and women as instructors and paddlers in a bid to reconnect them to the land and their heritage
• Mental Health Roundtable event at the Houses of Parliament, UK
• Keynote lecture at the Institute of Education, London

Maggie continues to teach and is using some of her winnings to keep previous projects operational as well as to fund her Kayak programme.