It’s hard to learn in the dark, and Selina Shi has set out to make sure every child has an illuminated education.
By Arianna Smith
Photography by Boswell Hardwick
When Selina Shi’s father, a doctor, was growing up in rural China, he often didn’t have the tools and materials he needed for a quality educational experience.
“He pushed himself and brought himself out of poverty, but I was inspired by him and his story, and I wanted to help other children that were in that same position,” says Shi, 17, of West Bloomfield.
According to the World Bank, about 1.2 billion people worldwide lack access to consistent and dependable electricity. To offer solutions for students around the globe to receive a good education, Shi, a Cranbrook Schools senior, co-founded DOK, a nonprofit that offers solutions for students to gain an education around the globe.
DOK is still in its early stages, but Shi has raised several thousand dollars through creative ways like selling rolled ice cream in the summer. The funds support solar technology that provides electricity for underresourced schools and homes in developing countries.
DOK is now working on a prototype of a kit for students living in the dark at home.
“The DOK lighting kit includes a solar-powered battery pack, as well as a USB folding lamp that can be used anywhere,” Shi says.
Even though Shi’s pursuits stemmed from a desire to further educational opportunities, her motivation has evolved to show that age is not a barrier in making a difference in the world.
Selina’s mother, Hongbin Li, praises her daughter’s altruistic efforts to improve people’s lives.
“I am so proud and filled with admiration when I think of Selina and the work she has done,” Li says. “Selina is a passionate individual equipped with an acute sense of justice and a mad desire to learn.”
DOK continues its work to improve the educational conditions of all students, regardless of where they live or what advantages they may have or lack. The progress the nonprofit has already made couldn’t have been jump-started without Selina Shi, who’s lighting up the world so everyone can see the joys of learning.
“The great thing about Selina is how she attracts others to rally around her concept,” says Holly Arida, entrepreneurship program coordinator at Cranbrook Schools. “Each key member on Selina’s are determined to make a difference.”
Selina is a SEEN 2018 Young Changemaker. Read more about the finalists: