In 1997, after an initial experience with street children in Colombia, Arnoud Raskin designed the prototype mobile school as part of his 'Industrial Design' course. In 1999, the first two mobile schools were launched in Guatemala and Bolivia. A camera crew followed this process as part of the Woestijnvis programme 'Naples Zien' on Eén. The report achieved particularly high ratings and is etched in the collective memory of TV-watching Flanders. Because of this visibility, Arnoud found the necessary support as a young social entrepreneur to develop the project professionally and in 2002, the Mobile School non-profit organisation was founded.

After that, things went fast. In the first years, mobile schools were only set up in Latin America. Later, the mobile schools moved to other continents, with a first project in Africa (Kenya) in 2005 and projects in Asia (Philippines) and Europe (Romania) in 2006. Currently, the counter stands at 33 countries worldwide.


Meanwhile, the organisation also grew in terms of offerings. The online game platform StreetSmart Play was built. All educational game forms that come with the mobile schools can be downloaded there for free and for nothing. The training sessions given to youth workers - when new mobile schools are launched - are also available for free on our training platform StreetSmart Learn. In addition, with StreetSmart Impact, we also offer an app to measure impact as a youth work organisation. Our digital projects were made possible partly thanks to funding from Erasmus+ and We use technology to make our knowledge and materials available as widely and easily as possible to anyone working with vulnerable children and young people.


Around the world, the effects of the pandemic, armed conflicts, climate change, the current energy crisis and rising inflation are taking a heavy toll on vulnerable children and youth. UNICEF, for instance, calculated that the pandemic pushed some 100 million more children into poverty. That brought the sad total number of children in poverty to 638 million by 2021. Rising poverty in families is causing a marked increase in abuse and intrafamily violence. For instance, a recent study shows that as many as 2 in 3 children in Latin America and the Caribbean face violence. In addition, an additional 10 million child marriages are also expected before the end of the decade. Many children lack a healthy family and school context making the street the basic learning environment. We see this with all Mobile School partners reporting a sharp increase in the number of children on the streets. The requests for new mobile schools come from organisations that notice that children are dropping out of the education system. They start looking for alternative methods to reach them on the streets.


On the occasion of Mobile School's 20th anniversary, Play4 decided to rebroadcast the series 'Los Easy Riders'.

10 years ago, Arnoud and television producer Paul Van Rooy travelled by motorbike through Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) past several Mobile School projects, where they met old friends. During the 8,000-kilometre motorbike trip, Arnoud and Polle not only learned what it is like to ride on unpaved terrain, but also noticed how motorcycling brought them closer to people, literally and figuratively.

The series is expected to be on Play4's schedule around Christmas time.