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Poverty Eradication & Alleviation

Quotes + Thoughts | On redefining poverty

If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognizing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up. ~ C.K. Prahalad

Inspiration: Exela Ventures, Ideas Inspiring Innovation


Discarded 2 Desired | Exquisite jewelry made of trash

By Dian Hasan | November 21, 2010

What separates us from designers or anyone with a good eye for design, is their ability to look beyond the obvious and turn a daily object into a work of art! And when you combine this knack with an eco-consciousness, the result is amazing. Creations that soar as far as the imagination.

What others consider as trash, waste, garbage or simply junk, they see as a palette of design potential!

Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder!

What happens after you consume your soft drink? The aluminum cap is probably the first you’d throw away. Not so fast. Israel-based design firm, Kotik, transforms the caps into exquisite jewelry. You wouldn’t know at first sight. What brands did you notice. Check below to see what you might’ve missed.

Inspiration: Say Hi to Design

Discarded 2 Desired | Empowering trash collectors through bags

By Dian Hasan | November 3, 2010

What separates us from designers or anyone with a good eye for design, is their ability to look beyond the obvious and turn a daily object into a work of art! And when you combine this knack with an eco-consciousness, the result is amazing. Creations that soar as far as the imagination.

What others consider as trash, waste, garbage or simply junk, they see as a palette of design potential!

Here’s a look at what happens to trash in Jakarta, Indonesia, and how it’s transformed functional bags.

XS Project has such brilliant idea to help reduce waste and overcome poverty in Jakarta. They buy unused plastics from the trash pickers, develop the plastics into bags, wallets, trash bins, lunch boxes, etc. More information on their website and their catalog. I bought the large handbag and it’s so useful, long lasting and unique. I use it for when we go to the beach or the swimming pool. It’s great cause you could just wipe it if it ever gets wet. The one thing I remember when I first bought the bag was the wonderful smell! Because the plastics are mostly from detergents or floor cleaners.

Inspiration: Jakarta Daily Photo Blog

Quote of the Day | On infant mortality reduction

You can buy a Coca-Cola virtually anywhere in developing countries but in these same places 1 in 5 children die before their 5th birthday from simple, preventable causes like dehydration from diarrhoea.

~ Cola Life

Quote of the Day | On sustainability and poverty alleviation

Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

You cannot achieve environmental security and human development without addressing the basic issues of health and nutrition.

~ Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway (1986 – 1989 and 1990 – 1996) and Director General of World Health Organization (1998 – 2003)

Grassroots Innovation | Alleviating poverty ~ one bike at a time

By Dian Hasan | October 10, 2010

Innovation that brings good to the people and makes a measurable and quantifiable difference always fascinate me. So without further ado, I’ve chosen to zoom in and share stories from around the world of innovative ideas and initiatives that help alleviate global poverty.

And although on the surface this may seem like a tall order, the stories bring forth some very unusual and random ideas that seek to attack the problem at the root.  My hope is that the stories will be inspiring that we can all make a difference.

Here’s a look at what is being done in RWANDA, AFRICA. And the tool of choice: BICYCLE.

The cargo bike that will replace the wooden bike and help any coffee farmer tremendously. Project Rwanda is helping establish a program of bike ownership.

The functional but unreliable wooden bike that will be replaced by the cargo bike.

The “Wooden Bike Classic” race, an event initiated by Project Rwanda to sustain the tradition of handcrafted bikes and create an ecotourism event.


US-initiated Moss Landing, California-based PROJECT RWANDA. Founder: Tom Ritchey


  • the bicycle can be an important tool in rebuilding a country, building national pride and addressing local issues facing Rwanda and other African nations.


  • furthering the economic development of Rwanda through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope.
  • use the bike to help boost the Rwandan economy as well as re-brand Rwanda as an attractive and safe business and ecotourism destination.
  • provide a program to replace traditional wooden bicycles with better-performing modern bicycles, while concurrently sustain the traditions of the handcrafted wooden bicycles.


Coffee-Bike Program: cargo bicycles can solve the transport problem if a program could make the bikes available to coffee farmers for a reasonable price on credit and where quality premiums would cover the bike’s cost.

The Rwandan coffee sector has enormous potential to create a dynamic and prosperous rural economy through the pursuit of extreme-quality specialty coffee for the U.S. and European markets. This will drive the Rwanda’s rural economy, empower the population, create employment and generate increased revenues.

Cargo bikes are provided through a collaborative venture between Project RwandaRitchey Design, and Rwanda Smallholders Specialty Coffee Company (RWASHOSCCO).


Eco-hero | TOMS’ new sustainable business model

By Dian Hasan | September 29, 2010

I don’t have enough good things to say about Blake Mycoskie, TOMS shoes founder. He’s brought to life a whole new way of looking at business, one that seeks a balance between Profit, People, and Planet. This is the way I view his business model, attaining profit to empower people’s economy and give back to the communities, while lessening the burden on the planet.

TOMS shoes’ model of One-for-One, donating a pair of shoes for every pair purchased is not only commendable, but as he has demonstrated – is a profitable sustainable business model! And that makes it one heck of a COOL COMPANY! Blake’s title on his business card says it all: “Chief Shoe Giver”!

Here’s another story on Blake Mycoskie from The Huffington Post:

Migrant Women in the Struggle against Poverty

The choice to migrate, to leave loved ones behind, to venture forth into the unknown, represents for millions of impoverished women, a heart-wrenching, first-step towards poverty’s end.

Today, there are over 200 million migrants working abroad. Half are women. Each year, they remit some US $300 billion to developing nations, building homes, feeding families, and educating children.

These migrants and their remittances are a pivotal force in poverty eradication, argues Dr. Sarah Mavrinac, president of aidha, a Singapore based social enterprise.

Inspiration: Qi Global

Alleviating poverty ~ clothing for one slum child at a time

By Dian Hasan | September 16, 2009

There are social climbers, and then there are social visionaires. Those who dream of making a difference in the society, giving out a helping hand to bring about social change. Sheeena Matheiken is the latter. Her mission of choice: draw attention to the plight of India’s millions of “invisible” slum children. And she worked for her mission in a most unique way ~ pledge to wear the same outfit for AN ENTIRE YEAR!

And of course being a lady, she’d accessorize, as any lady knows best.

Starting May 2009, Sheena pledged to wear one dress for one year as an exercise in sustainable fashion. Sheena Matheiken’s The Uniform Project is inspiring women to make the most out of what they have in their closets while raising awareness for a cause very close to her heart. Each day Sheena reinvents the dress with layers of other clothing, stockings, socks, covetable shoes, rocking accessories, you name it.

This non-profit organization was founded in Mumbai in 1990 through the volunteered efforts of college students devoted to bringing education to slum children. The Indian government spends an average of $360 on one child’s schooling, of which 80% drop out before reaching the 10th grade. Akanksha vows to spend the same amount on every slum child to afford them a better, more well rounded education.

Good Cause 2.0 ~ how social media empowers giving [3]

How technology is applied and used practically remains a mystery… even to the most savvy tech producers (yes, these are all your software programmers, app developers, and electronic gadget makers the globe over…), UNTIL IT LANDS in the HANDS OF CONSUMERS!

You don’t buy that? Case in point: when SMS (Short Text Message) application was developed for cellular telecommunication, probably very few people envisioned that one day SMS could empower farmers in remote villages in Kenya to check market prices of their crop, which market to sell it to, and exactly at which time.

The same goes for Social Media, such as the world’s most popular: Facebook. Sure it’s used predominantly to stay in touch with friends and family, and to parade indecent pictures that will forever haunt your life and reduce your reputation to a pulp! But there are more noble, altruistic ways that Facebook is used, to connect donors and recipients.

An excellent example is Escama Studio, a joint collaboration of San Francisco and Brasilia-based fashion brand of hand bags and accessories fashioned out of recycled soda can aluminum pull tabs. Escama is run as a Social Enterprise, helping reduce waste and empower local communities in creating jobs and keeping artisans’ tradition alive. Pull tabs are purchased from scavengers who source them from city dumps, then cleaned and prepped for production. A team of women from two artisan cooperatives hand crotchet the pull tabs into beautiful works of art, that have been seen on fashion catwalks from New York Fashion Week to Rio de Janeiro.

So how does the Social Media get in the picture? Here’s the fascinating part: every Escama item comes with a “Who Made this?” label, that is signed by the artisan who makes it. And each lady’s picture and brief bio is posted on Escama’s website, and consumers can email a “Thank You Note” to the right lady via Escama’s Facebook site.

Perfect model for personalized giving! And although not every customer will want to communicate directly, the fact that it’s an available option makes Escama brand very personal. Brilliant Personalized Brand Experience!!

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Each Escama bag comes with a personalized label with the artist’s name. Customers can see their personal story and connect via email and facebook. Photo: flickr member Jen Consalvo

The bag above was crafted by Eveny Ribeiro dos Santos, a divorced mother of four who was unemployed before her sister invited her to work for Escama. This information was extracted from Escama’s website.

Inspiration: Jen Consalvo and Ideas Inspiring Innovation