Young Pakistani-American Student Social Entrepreneur Fights Hunger

Hannah Dehradunwala, a Pakistani-American student at New York University, has co-founded Transfernation, a nonprofit startup with the aim of alleviating hunger beginning with New York City and Karachi. She has partnered with a fellow NYU student Samir Goel, an American of Indian descent. It's essentially an app and a website that enable leftover food at restaurants and corporate events to be distributed to the hungry.

Within hours of  Transfernation’s official launch on Oct.16 in conjunction with The Resolution Project’s New York City Gala, Dehradunwala and Goel had already overseen the transfer of 85 pounds of food leftovers from the Gala event to Bowery Mission, a social institution providing homeless New Yorkers with immediate help and long-term recovery programs, according to USA Today.

“Our gala celebrated sustainable living, and Transfernation enhanced the sustainability of the evening by making sure that any unused food from the event went to those who need it at the Bowery Mission,” George Tsiatis of the Resolution Project told USA Today.

In Karachi, Transfernation’s Pakistani subsidiary is currently in the process of building partnerships with local restaurants to transfer large food leftovers to charitable shelters. Hannah's friends in Pakistan are leading that effort. Transfernation is set to launch projects in Oxford, U.K. and Karachi, Pakistan later this academic year.

Data shows that vast amounts of food at restaurants and corporate and private events are wasted every day---food which could help dramatically reduce hunger. According to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), about one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When this figure is converted to calories, this means that about 1 in 4 calories intended for consumption is never actually eaten. In a world full of hunger, uncertain food prices, and social unrest, these statistics are morally unacceptable.

Transfernation received $5,500 prize when it won the Resolution Project's Social Venture Competition at the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in March this year. Hannah and Goel are raising additional funds for the startup via crowd-funding site Indiegogo.com.

Here's a video of the young social entrepreneurs' pitch for their startup:

http://dai.ly/x2ajbph



Transfernation Intro Video by uroojnaz6

http://youtu.be/p2tDgXdlfOQ




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan

Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley

Pakistani Village Girl Launches VC Funded Startup in San Francisco

Karachi Slum Girl Goes to Harvard

Success Stories of Pakistani-American Women

Hunger in South Asia 

Pakistani Woman Engineer Wins Grace Hopper Award

Working Women Bring About Silent Revolution in Pakistan

Status of Women in Pakistan

Microfinancing in Pakistan

Gender Gap Worst in South Asia

Status of Women in India

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistani-American Iba Masood's Gradberry is launching today out of Y Combinator to connect US companies with vetted technical talent. Candidates quickly build a talent profile, connecting their GitHub, online portfolios and projects, and LinkedIn account. The talent profile is then vetted by the Gradberry team and approved candidates are passed along to specific employers.

The Gradberry of today is a result of three years of work, across several continents, multiple product iterations, two failed applications to Y Combinator and one very passionate founding team.
(Karachi-born) Iba Masood, co-founder and CEO says Gradberry works with graduates and employers. The site has jobs listings and courses, so students can take courses to fill in the gaps in order to land a position, or they can be hired and their employer will sponsor them to take a course to learn a required skill for the job. Masood says the majority of its revenue today comes from the latter. The way it works is that a company hires a recent graduate who looks promising, but lacks a requisite skill. For example, a marketing graduate could lack training in social media marketing. They take the online course, get a certificate and they should be better prepared for the job at hand.

Masood says she and co-founder, CTO Syed Ahmed started the company in 2012. Their original idea was a LinkedIn for students where recent graduates could have a place to apply for jobs, but by earlier this year they realized providing job listings wasn’t enough and they had to address this skills gap, and shifted their focus.

She reports they currently have approximately 38,000 registered users (representing 650+ universities globally), with 1,500 employers using the Beta. Among the first to sign on was IBM, which used the platform in developing economies in the Middle East and Asia.

The company uses a freemium model for employer job ads offering the first three ads free, after which they start paying for ads and training for employees as needed.

They have approximately 30 courses today ranging from languages like Arabic to social media marketing to learning HTML5 and they hope to crank that up to 120 courses by October. Masood says they began by producing the courses themselves, but they don’t want to be in the content creation business long-term. “What we’ve realized with content creation, it’s a capital-intensive, heavy model. It’s also intensive on the side of creation. To have high quality courses in terms of production value we would need a studio, the right lighting and video,” she explained. Moving forward they will oversee content creation, but won’t be creating it themselves.

Instead they are working on partnerships with companies like Microsoft and Adobe to produce the content for them. The software companies gain access to a highly valuable 18-24 market who will be trained in their product sets and there is value in that for these companies, which Gradberry hopes to take advantage of.

Gradberry has 6 employees and up until now they have been bootstrapped through revenue generated from the site and small prizes totaling $40,000 they have won in startup competitions. Currently they are part of MassChallenge, a Boston-based startup incubator, which Masood says has offered invaluable assistance in the development of her company.

“MassChallenge has connected us to stellar mentors and innovators in the Boston community, who have helped us refine our operational strategy, to scale on both sides of the equation –that is, course content and career opportunities,” she said. She added that they also have great connections to multinational organizations, who will be partnering with them to provide employer-led courses and job opportunities for fresh talent.


http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/11/gradberry-aims-to-fill-college-grad-skills-gap/
Riaz Haq said…
Leila Janah, Female Social #Entrepreneur Who Hired the Poor, Dies at 37. Those she hired in #India have worked under contracts with #Microsoft, #Google, #Facebook, Walmart, and others. Her company helped 50,000 people -11,000 workers and their dependents https://nyti.ms/2OcAkAa


Samasource, one of her companies, said the cause was epithelioid sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer.

“sama” means “equal” in Sanskrit


After graduating from Harvard in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in development studies, Ms. Janah worked for Katzenbach Partners, a management consulting company in New York. She was later a founding director of Incentives for Global Health, which develops market-based financial solutions to meet health problems, and worked for the World Bank’s development research group.



A child of Indian immigrants, she created digital jobs that pay a living wage to thousands in Africa and India, believing that the intellect of the poor was “the biggest untapped resource” in the world.


Leila Janah, a social entrepreneur who employed thousands of desperately poor people in Africa and India in the fervent belief that jobs, not handouts, offered the best escape from poverty, died on Jan. 24 in Manhattan. She was 37.

Samasource, one of her companies, said the cause was epithelioid sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer.

A child of Indian immigrants, Ms. Janah traveled to Mumbai, India, in about 2005 as a management consultant to help take an outsourcing company public. Riding through the city by auto rickshaw, she passed an enormous slum. But after arriving at the outsourcing center, she found a staff of educated middle-class workers. Few, if any, of the nearby poor were employed there.

“Couldn’t the people from the slums do some of this work?” she recalled thinking, in an interview with Wired magazine in 2015.


It proved to be a galvanizing moment for Ms. Janah, who called the intellect of the poorest people in the world “the biggest untapped resource” in the global economy.

She went on to start Samasource in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2008 — “sama” means “equal” in Sanskrit — with the aim of employing poor people, for a living wage, in digital jobs like photo tagging and image annotation at what she called delivery centers in Kenya, Uganda and India. The workers generate data that is used for projects as diverse as self-driving cars, video game technology and software that helps park rangers in sub-Saharan Africa prevent elephant poaching.

t least half the people hired by Samasource are women, the company says.

“Leila had a vision about bringing the dignity of work and the promise of a living wage to the world’s most vulnerable,” Kennedy Odede, the founder and chief executive of Shining Hope for Communities, a grass-roots organization in Kenya that has worked with Samasource, said by email. Through her work, he added, “young people began to see different possibilities for their futures.”

Samasource’s employees have worked under contracts with companies including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Walmart, Getty Images, Glassdoor and Vulcan Capital, a holding company formed by Paul G. Allen, a founder of Microsoft.

The company has helped an estimated 50,000 people — 11,000 workers and their dependents — and regularly evaluates whether it is meeting living-wage requirements, Wendy Gonzalez, Samasource’s interim chief executive, said in a phone interview.

Another venture developed by Ms. Janah is LXMI, a luxury cosmetics line that has the same mission as Samasource: to hire marginalized people and give them a decent wage. Begun in 2015, it employs hundreds of poor women along the Nile River Valley, largely in Uganda, to harvest Nilotica nuts and turn them into a butter that is exported to the United States for use in the production of its skin-care products. More people have been hired in other African countries and in India to harvest other ingredients.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan start-up looks to break taboos around menstruation
Many women in the country remain uninformed about periods, but a social media-based project is targeting the problem

https://www.ft.com/content/e1bc10d8-d25b-45e7-93a3-43a024c80cd4



Saba Khalid has set herself the goal of breaking some of Islamic Pakistan’s long-held taboos with the help of the internet, smartphones and WhatsApp.

“Technology offers a sense of comfort,” she says of the work of Aurat Raaj, her Pakistani social enterprise. It educates women and adolescent girls about menstruation by means of audio messages sent via the WhatsApp social media platform.

Three years after Khalid, a journalist turned social entrepreneur, launched Aurat Raaj, she believes “there is a change of views coming” among communities in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, where her service operates.


Though still short of meeting its objective of seeing information on menstruation included in Pakistan’s school textbooks, Aurat Raaj has come a long way, Khalid says.

Rather than treating periods as a matter of shame, she and 30 field workers — so-called menstrual champions — spread their message about periods as a healthcare matter.

Aurat Raaj says it has reached at least 50,000 women through urban and rural campaigns, as well as podcasts and gatherings known as period parties.

Internet coverage in the region is patchy, so recorded messages in the native Sindhi language, rather than live content, are sent to the menstrual champions. These cover topics such as instructions on making sanitary pads with locally available cloth and the sanitisation of pads for reuse.

For Shaiwana Nasir, a menstrual champion based in Sukkur, 350km north-east of the port city of Karachi, making inroads into communities is a gradual process. “It’s a sensitive subject. People became offended when they were first approached,” she says.

The other challenge was the low level of smartphone ownership among women in the roughly 50 villages in Nasir’s area of responsibility. “We had to first convince village elders that this was an essential service. Once we gained acceptability, we were able to enrol local women in our sessions,” she says.

Each menstrual champion sets aside a room, typically in their home, where women gather to hear audio messages and participate in group discussions.




Breaking taboos around menstruation in rural Sindh has been difficult, because of the deeply conservative values many residents hold. Similarly, on matters of sex and birth control, the challenge was evident at a clinic in Karachi, where a doctor saw a woman in her mid-twenties who was in her seventh pregnancy in as many years of marriage to a truck driver.

The couple and their six children live in a two-room slum in Lyari, one of Karachi’s poorest neighbourhoods, where waterborne infections and other ailments are rife. “I told [the patient] that her life will be in danger [if she has more children], but it’s the same reply as I have heard from other patients — the husband doesn’t agree,” the doctor says.



The challenge of discussing sex-related issues is greatest among Pakistan’s uneducated poor — almost one-third of the population lives below the poverty line — but women from middle- and upper-income households also face obstacles in accessing such information. “In many homes, irrespective of their income level, women are under pressure to have more children,” the doctor adds. “The ideal of a two-child home is disregarded because families and husbands insist on large families.”

Khalid, however, remains optimistic. Although the Covid-19 pandemic forced Aurat Raaj to scale back meetings last year, the platform has since returned to its regular schedule, and the number of menstrual champions is set to rise to 100 in Sindh. Khalid is also hoping to expand Aurat Raaj’s services into Punjab province, which is home to some 60 per cent of the country’s population, and to send out its messages in local languages such as Punjabi and Pushto.

Riaz Haq said…
Speaking at the inaugural event of the new Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) building in Bengaluru Thursday, founder of Infosys Ltd Narayana Murthy stressed on the need to offer innovative and affordable solutions in science, mathematics and engineering to solve India’s “grand problems”.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-still-a-long-way-from-solving-problems-related-to-education-healthcare-nutrition-narayana-murthy-8029873/

“Our country is making scientific and engineering progress. We have sent rockets and satellites into space, built dams, steel plants and have produced Covid vaccines. However, we are still a long way off from solving our grand problems of education, healthcare, nutrition and shelter for every one of our 1.4 billion Indians,” he said.

He added, “As people interested in science, mathematics and engineering, we must think about how they can solve our grand problems. The need of the day is for us to use the power of the human mind to find quick, innovative and affordable solutions to these and other major problems that our country is facing.” He added, science is a “front-line warrior” against solving the grand problems.

The ISF, which opened its physical space in the city Thursday, aims to facilitate opportunities for science enthusiasts, start-ups, companies, industrialists and students to exchange ideas and congregate to deliver science related speeches, presentations, workshops that addresses a larger social issue.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, the co-founder of Infosys, said, “Not many are utilising the advantage of Bengaluru’s capabilities in terms of tapping into deep technology and using the public spaces to exchange ideas. ISF wants to bring in the collaborative culture to utilise science and technology and work together in a public space. I also feel that we need to invest more money in research, wherein we need to increase spending from 0.7% of GDP to 3% of the GDP.”

ISF is also a foundation that gives the Infosys Prize to Indian scientists and scholars working on path breaking research in categories like engineering, computer science, mathematical sciences, social sciences, life sciences, physical sciences and humanities.

The inaugural event also featured a panel of students at various stages of their education and research careers who spoke about their aspirations and experiences in the greater Indian research landscape. A panel comprising Arundhati Ghosh (Executive Director, India Foundation for the Arts), Jahnavi Phalkey (Founding Director, Science Gallery Bengaluru), and V Ravichandar (Honorary Director, Bangalore International Centre) also discussed the importance of public spaces in enabling arts and sciences.

Riaz Haq said…
(Pakistani-American) Amna Nawaz and Geoff Bennett Named Co-Anchors of PBS NewsHour
Nawaz and Bennett to Succeed Judy Woodruff on Monday, January 2, 2023

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/press-releases/amna-nawaz-and-geoff-bennett-named-co-anchors-of-pbs-newshour

"Today is a day I never could’ve imagined when I began my journalism career years ago, or while growing up as a first-generation, Muslim, Pakistani-American. I’m grateful, humbled, and excited for what’s ahead.”


Sharon Rockefeller, President and CEO of WETA and President of NewsHour Productions, today named PBS NewsHour chief correspondent Amna Nawaz and chief Washington correspondent and PBS News Weekend anchor Geoff Bennett co-anchors of the nightly newscast. The PBS NewsHour, co-anchored by Nawaz and Bennett, will launch on Monday, January 2, 2023. Nawaz and Bennett succeed Judy Woodruff, who has solo-anchored PBS’s nightly news broadcast since 2016, prior to which she co-anchored it alongside the late Gwen Ifill.

Bennett has reported from the White House under three presidents and has covered five presidential elections. He joined NewsHour in 2022 from NBC News, where he was a White House correspondent and substitute anchor for MSNBC. In his prior experience, he worked for NPR — beginning as an editor for Weekend Edition and later as a reporter covering Congress and the White House. An Edward R. Murrow Award recipient, Bennett began his journalism career at ABC News’ World News Tonight.

On being named co-anchor of PBS NewsHour, Geoff Bennett said, “I’m proud to work with such a stellar group of journalists in pursuit of a shared mission — providing reliable reporting, solid storytelling and sharp analysis of the most important issues of the day. It’s why PBS NewsHour is one of television’s most trusted and respected news programs and why I’m honored and excited to partner with Amna in building on its rich legacy.”

Nawaz, who has received Peabody Awards for her reporting at NewsHour on January 6, 2021 and global plastic pollution, has served as NewsHour’s primary substitute anchor since she joined the NewsHour in 2018. She previously was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, anchoring breaking news coverage and leading the network’s livestream coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Before that, she served as foreign correspondent and Islamabad Bureau Chief at NBC News. She is also the founder and former managing editor of NBC’s Asian America platform, and began her journalism career at ABC News Nightline just weeks before the attacks of September 11, 2001.

On being named co-anchor, Amna Nawaz added, “It’s never been more important for people to have access to news and information they trust, and the entire NewsHour team strives relentlessly towards that goal every day. I am honored to be part of this mission, to work with colleagues I admire and adore, and to take on this new role alongside Geoff as we help write the next chapter in NewsHour’s story. Today is a day I never could’ve imagined when I began my journalism career years ago, or while growing up as a first-generation, Muslim, Pakistani-American. I’m grateful, humbled, and excited for what’s ahead.”

In making the announcement, Rockefeller noted, “PBS NewsHour continues to be dedicated to excellence in journalism. Amna and Geoff bring to their new positions three essential qualities for the role – accomplished careers in substantive reporting, dedication to the purpose of journalism to illuminate and inform, and a deep respect for our audiences and the mission of public media.”


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