Who We Are

Riahl O'Malley

Co-founder

Riahl believes that education is central to social change and he loves working with groups who are interested in building movement leaders by effectively transforming learning into action.

His love for education and social change began two decades ago when he was a teenager. In his rural Minnesota hometown he spent much of his time at a youth drop-in center. There he was taught by other young people how to run meetings, organize events, and lobby city council to advocate for himself and his peers. In college he was introduced to something called “Popular Education” by an older friend and mentor named Lan Anh Ha. Inspired by the works of Paulo Freire, they co-founded a youth-led training program, leading retreats to inspire anti-oppressive action using participatory methods of teaching and learning.

Later he applied his passion for facilitation and training development to organizing for economic justice. After college he moved to Nicaragua where he led delegations from the U.S. to inspire action against unjust U.S. foreign policy. Then as Education Director for the national movement-support organization United for a Fair Economy he trained hundreds of trainers and planned curricula reaching thousands of people, applying the principles of popular education to understanding the economy.

Riahl holds a Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife, collaborator, and thought partner Indira.

He loves hearing people’s thoughts about education for social change and welcomes the opportunity to chat virtually over coffee or tea.

Indira Garmendia

Co-founder

Indira has dedicated her life to defending justice for women, immigrants, workers, and people of color. She is a proud Nicaraguan feminist and organizer who believes in the collective power of everyday people and is here to help you and your team build it.

She was politicized by the Central American feminist movement in her home country of Nicaragua where she quickly went from attending trainings on gender and reproductive justice to organizing and leading them across the country. Alongside her peers she founded a feminist collective that led educational communications campaigns on sexual and reproductive freedom. Later she applied her passion across Central America as a foundation program officer, mentoring newly formed women’s groups run by indigenous, rural, and working class young people.

Since moving to the United States she has been working alongside other immigrants and people of color in the struggle for justice. She worked in the largely immigrant communities of Chelsea and East Boston in Massachusetts for environmental justice and in the promotion and creation of immigrant-owned worker cooperatives. She currently leads a leadership development program for Latinx and African-American low-wage workers within a Minnesota workers center dedicated to racial and economic justice.

In her free time she likes to plant vegetables and flowers, go to new places to hike and explore, and attend marches where she can scream at the top of her lungs for justice. You might catch her on TV in Central America, starring as Jessica in the social issues telenovela “Loma Verde.”

She currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her husband Riahl.

How are you using education for social change?

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Riahl O’Malley and Indira Garmendia, co-founders

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