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Teaching on the run

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The ability to visually follow youth ambassadors as they visit local hospitals in India and interact with children in the villages they run through, she says, gives participants a richer understanding.

"To be able to communicate live with these ambassadors in a place that most kids are not able to travel to is phenomenal, and it makes it real for them," Rossi says. "So, when they are learning, they are getting excited about it."

This is exactly what Mr. Zahab had in mind when he started the program. "We believe that integrating technologies and using them in ways that are entertaining, educational, and informative is the landscape of the future for education," he says.

In 2007, Zahab himself ran 50 miles a day for 111 days across the Sahara desert. The run was documented in the film "Running the Sahara," produced and narrated by Matt Damon, and designed to raise awareness of water issues in the Sahara.

He says that the best way to share the experience with students is to put this cutting-edge technology in the hands of young people and let them tell their own stories. This is why he selects "youth ambassadors" for each expedition. The youth ambassadors in India were a diverse group, from Cook-Clarke, who is spending the year backpacking through Asia with her mom, to Hashveer Singh Saluja, a Sikh who is finishing his master of business administration degree in Jharkhand, India. Mr. Saluja says that even though India is his home country, he had no idea how difficult it was for people at the village level to get access to health care.

Expeditions with focus

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