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Sandra Fisher-Martins

Skoll Scholar, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Biography

Sandra Fisher-Martins is a plain-language activist, social entrepreneur and 2017-2018 Skoll Scholar on the Oxford MBA.

If you have ever struggled to fill in a form or understand a legal document, you can try to imagine what life is like for a person with low literacy, who is challenged by even the simplest texts.

Sandra believes that information is the gateway to health, civic participation, and economic opportunity. If you don't understand it, you live fewer years, have poorer health, make less money, don't have a voice, and your children have fewer opportunities. If you can find the relevant information, comprehend it, and act on it, you make better decisions and participate more fully in society. The right to understand is a fundamental human right.

After realizing in 2007 that 80% of Portuguese citizens are functionally illiterate, Sandra founded Claro. Claro empowers citizens with an ability to understand their rights, benefits and opportunities by leading transformative plain-language initiatives across private and public stakeholders, to the benefit of millions of people. Currently, Sandra and her team are developing an AI-based tool that helps writers match the literacy level of their readers.

Sandra's plain-language activism and expertise have won her invitations to high-profile audiences around the world, including the European Commission, the Swedish Ministry of Justice, the German Ministry of Justice, and the University of Barcelona.

Her acclaimed TEDx Talk, The Right to Understand, was featured on the TED homepage and sparked a nationwide conversation that ultimately led to several governmental initiatives.

She is married and has a 5-year old son, with whom she builds Lego spaceships and has epic ninja battles.

Regional Focus

Europe