Meet the Community

Jonathan Mendonca

“I build leadership at the grassroots so that community practices, values, and goals shape education.”

Jonathan Mendonca earned his Masters in International Education Policy Candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2022. He is the co-founder and Director of Strategy at Barefoot Edu Foundation, a non-profit focused on building educational leadership in India. Jonathan is also a Saul Zaentz Fellow, Young India Fellow, Mother Teresa Fellow, and was invited to share his experience at the United Nation’s ECOSOC ’19 Youth Forum.

As a Cheng Fellow, he was on a mission to decentralize education by empowering leaders at the grassroots so that the voice, values, and goals of their communities’ shape education. Civil Engineer turned educator, Jonathan trusts in the potential of people to build the foundation for transformative social change. In this regard, he designed Rehnuma, the world’s first incubator for school principals which coaches them to be entrepreneurial in their approach to building autonomous 21st century schools. This work has impacted over a hundred schools, helping them thrive even through COVID-19. He aimed to reach 100,000 schools through government and NGO partnerships.



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