Friday, July 01, 2005

Be a social entrepreneur.

This week, PBS broadcasts a set of programs called "The New Heroes" which "tells the dramatic stories of 14 daring people from all corners of the globe who, against all odds, are successfully alleviating poverty and illness, combating unemployment and violence, and bringing education, light, opportunity and freedom to poor and marginalized people around the world." These sound like the kind of people I like!

Such folks are often called 'social entrepreneurs'. They "identify and solve social problems on a large scale, . . seizing opportunities in order to improve systems, invent and disseminate new approaches and advance sustainable solutions that create social value." Here are a few of the fourteen thinkers and doers that are profiled:

* Moses Zulu opened Children's Town School and Community Center to serve Zambian children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. "The program has grown from a handful of children living in tent shelters to almost 300 children and a staff of 22 living in six different houses." 'So what can I do' publicized a similar school in Uganda in the November 18th post.

* Mimi Silbert founded founded Delancey Street, "where substance abusers, former felons and others who had hit bottom would, through their own efforts, be able to turn their lives around. [She] has empowered more than 14,000 people to lead crime-free, drug-free lives in mainstream society. They have acquired skills, they attend college and they are part of the workforce." 'So what can I do' profiled similar organizations in Atlanta and the world in the February 4th post.

* Muhammad Yunus helps "people lift themselves out of poverty in rural Bangladesh by providing them with credit without requiring collateral. Yunus developed his revolutionary micro-credit system with the belief that it would be a cost effective and scalable weapon to fight poverty." 'So what can I do' promoted microloans in the December 10th post and economic justice in the March 6th post .

* Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy ("Dr. V.") and David Green are using "compassionate capitalism" to help millions of blind and deaf people in India and Nepal see and hear again. 'So what can I do" gave readers a way to contribute to similar efforts in the October 11th post.

* Albina Ruiz developed a community-managed system of waste collection that has eased health, economic, and environmental problems in Peru. 'So what can I do' discussed environmental justice in the November 17th post.

* Sompop Jantraka and Kailash Satyarthi are working to end human trafficking and slavery in Thailand and India respectively. You can support the work in India, Nepal and Pakistan by buying rugs from The Rugmark Foundation. 'So what can I do' talked about similar issues in the June 29th post.

You can help by contributing your time, money, or other resources to the organizations founded by these people or others like them. Better yet, watch 'The New Heroes' on July 5 and be inspired to create social value in your community and positive change in our world. You, too, can be a new hero!

"The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men." - Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist.


Danyel said...

cool blog.

Karama said...

Glad you like it, Danyel! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find some ideas you can use. Please come again soon, and spread the word.

Karama said...

And check this out:

Are You the Next New Hero? You can take this quiz to find out what issues move you. Get involved in social change projects that resonate for you. "Whether volunteering in your own community or donating to a cause in a faraway country, you can make a contribution."

KCB said...

These are great links!

Are you familiar with Women for Women International? They do job training and rights education for women in strife-torn areas.

The thing I like best is that they provide translators so my sponsorship sister and I can correspond without the language barrier getting in the way.

Barbara L. said...

Karama--you went to Swarthmore, right? I don't think we officially knew each other, but I knew of you. I was in the class of 1994.

Anyway, I just joined the Progessive Women's Blog Ring, was intrigued by the title of your blog, and go figure, it happened to be written by a Swattie.

My blog is The Well Being at in case you want to stop by.

I look forward to reading your blog:-) Barbara (Ley)

Steve said...

Great post, K.

Karama said...

KCB: Thanks for the tip! I'd run across the website for Women for Women International and marked it for further investigation. I'm pleased to hear that they are doing such great work. Now that I have your recommendation, I'll be sure to profile them soon. Thanks very much!

Barbara: Yes! I remember you! I was class of 1993 at Swarthmore. Small world. I stopped by your blog, and will be a regular visitor. Great work. Perhaps we should start a Swarthmore blog ring. Hmmm. I hope you enjoyed your visit to So what can I do. Please come again soon, and spread the word.

Steve: Thanks so much for being a regular reader and commmenter. Best to you.

The Crusader said...

Great post! As a Christian Conservative, I am always up for using creative and compassionate capitalist solutions to fix social ills. These programs make so much more difference than pure "gummint" largesse ever could.

God bless you for compiling all this information together.

Karama said...

Hello William,

Thank you for visiting. I am so pleased that you enjoyed this post. I hope you find something in it or in another post that you can support with your time, money or other resources. There really is so much we all can do (much of it requiring little individual effort) to make a positive difference in our word. Please stop by again soon, and spread the word!

Karama said...

Learn more about Women for Women International in this article from The AFRican Magazine by Kwadjo Boaitey. Enjoy!