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Starts:8-Dec-10 8:30 p.m. GMT
Ends:17-Dec-10 8:30 p.m. GMT
Award 1: $250, was awarded to MODcrea...
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This organization will be a tool for people in developing countries to connect directly with people from westernized countries who can provide assistance beyond money. With access to the Internet, life-changing opportunities for those in developing countries are now a fingertip away, but often require the know-how of someone to show them the way. The organization will connect people who can provide knowledge in the form of guidance, insight, know-how, handholding, information resources, networking, etc. to people seeking to better their lives. These types of contributions can reach deep into someone’s life trajectory, and also be highly rewarding for the donor. The pilot project will focus on connecting college-qualified young women living in developing countries with US women to 1) help them navigate the admission and scholarship application process, and 2) provide parental-like guidance during their tenure as US students. Once successful, it will be scaled up to include other needs and types of people.
We prefer being able to use .org
People who want to help change the world through their experiences and know-how. They will be forward minded, globally aware, and somewhat experienced in life. They probably donate money to organizations that support people in poverty, politics or the environment.
1) Ability to create personal, one-on-one global connections or bonds
2) Opportunity to donate your knowledge & experience, not just money toward creating change.
3) Ability to feel you are personally helping someone improve their life.
This company represents an evolution in global aid, which is heavily criticized for its lack of impact and wastefulness. This new approach takes advantage of Web 3.0's embracing of personal interaction and feedback. Its also in-tune with changes happening today because it fosters skipping the "corporate middle-man" by connecting real people. The name needs to reflect today's new mindset and separate it from the past.
Like: Global, Bonding
Dislike: Women related words. The initial project will focus on women and college, but the vision is much bigger, and hopefully it will grow to include many other types of people and needs.
Like all good ideas, this project is born out of a success story. Below is Barbara’s story, which frames the vision and its potential.
I was in Rwanda in 2008, working with Bpeace (bpeace.org) when my Rwandan associate Jeanne and her then 20-year-old daughter Malyse tapped me on the shoulder with a question. They wanted to know if I could help Malyse apply for a scholarship in the US. They believed she had the grades and language scores to get accepted but didn’t know how to apply. The truth was, all three of us didn’t have a clue of how to apply, but I instantly said “sure” and decided it was worth a try. Having received government grants for my education, I Ioved the idea of personally helping a young woman win a scholarship. Malyse and I met a few times on that trip. Together we huddled over her computer exploring Common Apps and randomly looking up schools she might like to apply to. When I left Rwanda, Malyse was armed with a sample essay from my niece, an understanding of the necessary forms, and knew where and when she would take the SAT test.
While I felt helpful, I was unsure about the possibility of the plan becoming a reality. Then an interesting course of events happened. In sharing my story back home, women in my network offered up their connections with women in admissions at both Wellesley and Bucknell. Without even trying Malyse suddenly had schools interested in her, just because I knew people with connections. Over the previous two years, Bucknell had accepted with full scholarship two Afghan women introduced by people in Bpeace and therefore were highly interested in another recommendation. Malyse still had to qualify but she had a solid connection. Over email we worked hard on her essay, she pretty much handled the forms and got all the recommendations and bank verifications in order, hitting “send” well before the due date. My Wellesley connection left her job during the application process, and Malyse ultimately wasn’t accepted there. But Bucknell offered Malyse a full scholarship to start in the Fall of 2009. Yahoo.
The reality is Malyse is a superstar who needed a boost. While I helped her get a start, she is continually opening doors for herself that will ultimately lead her to bigger and bigger opportunities. Today she is a sophomore with a double major in International Relations and Women & Gender Studies, along with a minor in Spanish. She studies hard, has near perfect grades, is working two on-campus jobs, and hopes to go to Spain next year for a study abroad experience. She interned at Women-for-Women in Rwanda last summer after winning a stipend from Bucknell to fund her work there. She is constantly being asked to give speeches about her internship, and has taken on several campus leadership roles. Importantly, she and I have a friendship that keeps getting stronger. She spends Thanksgiving and Xmas breaks with me. We love hearing about each other’s lives and both feel highly rewarded. My mom and sisters jump in whenever possible by funding her books, winter clothes and even an iPhone!
The story however, isn’t complete without the final motivating element. Through Malyse’s school and work in Rwanda she has met several other US women who have taken a liking to her and are committed to proving guidance and help. After suppressing the slight jealousy that created, it became even clearer to me that Malyse is a superstar and people enjoy helping her succeed. But it was also obvious that there are many, many more women like me with connections and helpful networks that would relish the opportunity to give superstars like Malyse a boost. The problem is, they don’t know how to find each other.