Jo Boon talks to Luke Swann, an entrepreneur, writer and founder of The Prologue - a project that focuses on providing children with free education through storytelling, with the aim to nurture their wellbeing and help them achieve their goals. Based on the belief that children should not only be the future but the present too, Luke discusses how the project came about and what he and his volunteers are doing to support children everywhere.
What first gave you the idea for the project?
I find it really difficult to see so many children suffering and so I wanted to create as much positive social change in that area. After being brought up with four younger siblings, having worked as a maths teacher, along with other roles in schools, and having been a children's author, I decided to create my own social enterprise to have a greater impact. Initially, this was a publishing company to share my personalised story 'The Secret Book of I'. All children but the education component naturally came with this and is the primary focus. The timing of it is noteworthy: my newphew and godson, Oscar, was born at the same time and seeing such beautiful, innocent and fragile new life made me want to protect him and all the other equally-deserving children in the world.
How long have you been working on it?
The Prologue was legally born just over half a year ago but conceived of half a year before that. However, in many respects, this has been something I have been working towards for most of my life.
Who is involved with the project/ what do they do?
I'm the sole director and employee but I'm fortunate enough to work with 17 students from Manchester Metropolitan University and around 10 other people - all in voluntary positions. It's such a privilege and joy to work with almost 30 people who are unpaid: my mission is of the utmost importance to me and working with others towards this is immensely rewarding. I'm hugely indebted to them! In return, I don't hold interviews to filter the numbers as everyone has something to provide. Rather, I discover their strongest passions and greatest skills and together we align them with The Prologue's values and objectives. This way, I can try to ensure that people are working in areas they find most fufilling, and are working towards their own goals. When they (sadly) leave, they have gained something of value and hopefully loved the experience.
What are your aims?
The Prologue aims to become the largest World Education System in which children are active members of society, being not just the future but the present. By being a centre of support and empowerment, we can better ensure that children can be well in mind, have control of their lives, create meaningful change in the world and have much more developed thinking capabilities than we presently possess.
How can people support the work you're doing?
Firstly, I think if we consider it our collective duty to ensure the well-being and opportunities of all children, each of us can make great changes to individual children's lives and to society as a whole. The Prologue is a community for children and we warmly welcome you all to follow us on our website (www.theprologue.org) and get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) where you can receive our free personalised stories and educational resources for all children you know; you can contribute in any way or form towards our mission, collaborating and partnering with us; and we can, collectively, celebrate children!
What ten words would you use to sum up the project?
Centre of support and empowerment for children and their champions
What do you most want people to know about the books?
Children have the opportunity to be the hero in their own inspiring tale where they go on an exciting journey to find their hidden Book to discover their destiny. For the first time, a personalised story will be available for free to all children as an e-book (or they can be bought a paperback copy to cherish for life); they will be used as educational tools by our educational partners in schools across the country; they are the most personalised to date; and we are setting up a 'Donate a Book' initiative so that anyone can purchase a paperback for a child with a difficult start in life.