After the Second World War my grandfather had to flee from the Czech Republic. He was in exactly the same situation as refugees now — he had no papers, had no money, had to live on streets for two years. For him it was a life-changing experience being able to study, and because of this experience he was able to get a job, he was able to have a family. This is just something I grew up with. I really admire my grandparents, I think they have a unique perspective on life, and they are so thankful for this chance. But they still go back every year to the Czech Republic, so I know about their pain, how it is to lose everything.
What makes me keep on working is, I think, two things: first of all, we are in very close contact with the students, and for them it really is a life-changing moment when they enter our institution. They are really open-hearted, they really give us feedback honestly about what it means for them to have hope again in life. This is really touching. And it’s just a lot of fun building things! You have an idea, you discuss it with people, and the next day it’s actually helping people. This combination of achieving things really fast, and getting feedback that the things you achieve really matter — I think these two things motivate me.
It is not about finding the perfect idea that no one ever had before — there have been MOOCs before. The point is that you really have the purpose to solve a problem… if you really want to do something meaningful, you have to find something that really fits you, that is really your purpose.
Vincent Zimmer, founder of Kiron University