Showing posts with label social enterprise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social enterprise. Show all posts

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Afghan Women

Based in Chicago, Arzu is a not-for-profit that pays poor Afghan women a market rate for rugs produced in their homes, plus a 50% incentive bonus for the best workmanship. In exchange, women and their families must agree to educate their children (boys and girls) and attend literacy programs themselves. They must also agree to Arzu transport from their rural villages for pre- and post-natal care.

The rugs, modern and traditional; are sold online. (Expensive, but check out the summer sale). Read about the women in this link, and check out the video. Arzu  considers itself a social enterprise and says on its Website, “Severe inequity and female abuse often result from gender-biased, male-dominated societies where education, opportunity and free choice do not exist for females. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Acumen & Arpels

Live from the Cooper Hewitt Museum in NYC, what do Greta Garbo, Jackie O., Eva Peron and Maria Callas have in common with Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen Fund? Design. The last of the regal ladies were fans of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry designs on display through June at the Cooper Hewitt. Novogratz helps design financial solutions to help the poorest of the poor access things like water, electricity and toilets.
Tonight she spoke at the 5th Avenue museum, once a Carnegie mansion, explaining  how designers, who want to be cool in the eyes of peers, could instead be motivated to conceive of potable water bottles and filtration plant architecture. Upstairs, meanwhile, music thumped as the museum hosted one of it's summer cocktail hours. Few looked at the elegant "mystery settings" (at right) of Van Cleef rubies flowing like blankets around diamonds. Fewer still contemplated the rough and raw diamond that is the poor.
On our 2008 CBS social enterprise trip to India, we visited impressive Acumen Fund reps in Hyderabad and their women's hospital project. On the same trip, our group visited the Dial 1298 ambulance project, which has grown exponentially with Acumen and government financing and other affiliates.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

India's Microloans

Debt and lending risk are rising in India's slums and rural areas because big banks and private equity are "carpetbombing" the poor with lucrative microloans. Such small loans with high interest rates, initially driven by social service, were mostly repaid in full. But with so much money available, the poor are fibbing to get new loans to pay off old ones, says today's Wall Street Journal front page feature on microlending in India. It says things got rolling with the 2007 share offering by SKS Microfinance based in Hyderabad, India. (We visited SKS on the Columbia Business School social enterprise trip in 2008.) WSJ found a repeat loan recipient in Ramanagaram, India where people cultivate silk from cocoons for a living -- much like the villagers in our ancestral home in Turkey. The woman, Lalitha Sharma, summed things well: "One problem solved, another created."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Slum Tourism

Is paying a travel agent to take you through a slum tourism or voyeurism? That's the New York Times headline on an article addressing the very thing we did on our Columbia U/Chazen social enterprise tour when we visited Dharavi slum in Mumbai. Even seeing the clothes-washing district in Mumbai is part of these tours. We spent the majority of our time with resident advocates, but a tour is a tour.