“Why DirectEd?” By CEO Simon Sällström

I was brought up in a stable and loving family in Sweden. But when I was 15, I had the opportunity to study abroad in China for a year. Questions arose. “What if I was born in China? How can tens of thousands die every day from starvation while tens of thousands die from obesity on this planet? What are the root causes and solutions to all of this?

This became the beginning of a long journey that culminated in me graduating with a masters in economics from the University of Oxford. By now I had a better sense of the vast landscape of suffering, injustice and cheating enabled by an opaque and unfair system. I could also more clearly see the potential of what could be if things were done differently. So I rejected both the PhD and the corporate 9-5 route.

I decided to launch a charity, a sector riddled with issues and hence many opportunities to have an impact. Though most charities are started with the best of intentions, many aren’t and those who are may often fall short in many respects: transparency, cost-efficiency and creating sustainable impact through self-sufficiency. DirectEd seeks to innovate in all of these aspects.

About Us

DirectEd Development Foundation (DirectEd) is a UK non-profit delivering training and internships in software development, durable skills and entrepreneurship to high-potential under-resourced students in Africa. DirectEd’s 2025 vision is to raise the lifetime earnings of students by $50 million.


DirectEd student TV interview


“DirectEd Saved Me”


Who We Are

Our multinational team of contributors and volunteers spans over 7 countries and three continents and has well over 15+ years of NGO leadership, 5 Oxbridge Master's degrees, PhDs from universities in Oxford and Addis Ababa and 2 Young African Leaders Initiative Fellows. Our advisors are sourced from leading coding bootcamps, universities and impact organisations from all over the world.



We partner with leading online course providers, high schools, and tech companies to identify high-potential Kenyan and Ethiopian students and design a cost-effective, scalable and evidence-based programme focused on equipping students with the most sought-after digital skills on the market.