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Michelle Tjeenk Willink

Starting from her first side job as a teenager, every job Michelle had so far has been with children or in the education sector. After obtaining degrees in language and education, she has spent the last ten years working for a variety of international education and development education organisations. Michelle has been a teacher, an administrator, and an educational programme developer. For the past four of those ten years, she has been working for Aflatoun International. Now as our Senior Curriculum Manager, she mostly focuses on youth employment and entrepreneurship and on converting content from our face-to-face learning materials into a virtual classroom or training setting.

At Aflatoun, Michelle really enjoys the variety and scope of the projects.  There are continually new requests from every corner of the globe and for diverse learner groups. There is always something new to learn and everyone at Aflatoun is really enthusiastic about the work they are doing.

Why do you work for Aflatoun International?
I see education initiatives as one of the most sustainable interventions, and especially so with Aflatoun’s financial education learning content.

How would you explain what you do to a 5-year-old?
I write and check really fun training programmes, teacher session plans and workbooks for students on social and financial learning topics.

Why is social and financial education important?
The blending of social and financial education makes the learning relevant for children and young people in their daily lives—and relevance is one of the first steps to getting (and keeping) students engaged.

What do you like most about Aflatoun International?
I love all the opportunities to connect with people from all different points on the education spectrum and from every region of the globe. The creativity never ceases to amaze me!

How do you see the future of Aflatoun International?
The future of Aflatoun will include continuing to assist teachers with exciting and useful learning materials while also keeping up with the growing demand for virtual or digital connections.

Please share with us a motto or quote close to your philosophy of life.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” –Einstein. An important point for us in the curriculum department at Aflatoun and for teachers everywhere to remember. Learning is a lifelong activity!