I have the homepage on my computer set to CNN.com in an attempt to keep up with what’s going on in the world–it doesn’t always work–but for the most part I spend a few minutes each day going through the headlines and reading a few stories. Most days I don’t like what I read.
And then there are the occasional “gem” days–those days when I find a magnificent article dunked in a barrel of positivity and then smothered with hope. Articles that remind me of the good that truly does exist but often is overshadowed by the bad.
Yesterday was a gem day x’s 10 when I came across CNN’s list of 10 ideas currently changing the world.
While all 10 ideas are brilliant, a few are either dear to my heart or fantastically innovative & thus are automatically my favorites…of course, now it’s time to share them with you!
1) Microfinance–I took a course on contemporary Africa during my senior year at UNC Chapel Hill and studied a good bit about microfinance when writing a mock grant-proposal and research initiative. Microfinance often refers to microfinance loans—loans given to assist in the start-up or improvement of an individual/family’s livelihood. Microfinance initiatives have ever-increasing success rates of reducing poverty & HIV/AIDS by providing individuals with the means to sustain an income and provide for themselves.
One of the leading organizations in microfinance loans is Kiva.com. Partnering with microfinance initiatives in impoverished countries, Kiva relies on the giving of individuals like you & I (called lenders) to help support the entrepreneurial endeavors of others—a one-time “loan” of $25 can help someone around the world better his/her life. Now that’s inspiring.
And what’s even cooler—just as a traditional loan stipulates, the Kiva loan is always “repaid” back to the lender who can then re-give the loan to help someone else…a never-ending cycle of giving. Genius, I say!
2) Hippo Water Roller–Even if you’ve never been to Africa, you’ve most likely seen women and children carrying huge jugs of water on their backs or heads while watching television or a movie. During my brief time in Kenya I distinctly remember realizing I could never carry those huge jugs like the women walking along the roads, let alone carry them for miles.
This is where the Hippo roller comes in, and goodness, why didn’t someone think of this years ago! Designed using a basic wheel/axle combination, the Hippo enables women and children to push a huge barrel of water across bumpy terrain—reducing the strain on the neck/back and transporting almost twice as much water. It’s a win-win situation.
Greenaid–this is just plain FUN. The folks at The Common Studio are on a mission to take back the “gray” spots of urban landscapes and make them beautiful again. Wildflower seed “bombs” (a pod of clay, compost & seeds) are dispensed from refurbished gumball machines to then be tossed into any open area of dirt—cracked sidewalks, vacant lots, highway medians, etc. They call it guerrilla gardening & I think it’s brilliant.
TOMS Shoes–if you know me, you know I adore this company. I discovered TOMS about 3 years ago and love the One-for-One mission it has used to completely change the business landscape. For every pair of TOMS purchased another is made & given to a child in need of shoes–shoes reduce the spread of soil-transmitted diseases & enable kids to go to school. TOMS has already given over 1,000,000 pairs in only three years. Wowzers. The new Fall designs were recently introduced and as always they’re pretty fabulous. The classic designs are still my favorite, though…hmmm, might just be time for a few pair (;
In case all of this “good”ness wasn’t enough for you, feel free to check out the other six “ideas” and read the full article—> click here.
Feeling inspired? Good, me too.
Joys galore, M.