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Do We Matter Online: Empowering Marginalized People on the Internet

During the decade I recently spent in East Africa, I spent the majority of my time experimenting with disadvantaged communities to explore ways that participating in the Internet could influence their lives in positive ways. What I learned is that empowering the poor through the Internet is much more complex than teaching people where to click to find information. There are fundamental perception issues at play that serve to keep Africa’s engagement in the online world lower than it should be.

One widespread misperception is that enabling Africa to access information from the rest of the world is going to empower African people - as if Africa’s problems would be solved if the average semi-literate African woman could simply find, read and digest what the rest of the world has to teach her.

Fundamentally, however, empowering people means helping them believe that they matter, and that what they have to offer has value. Unfortunately, foreign information and culture pushed at Africa ofte…
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What's Next for Literacy 'n' Poverty Project?

Dear Friends,

In December 2006, I started Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project, aptly known as LnP, from my dorm room at Babson College.  I was a senior who just completed an activist project for an Interdisciplinary Approach to Human Rights course with Professor Elizabeth Goldberg. This was an experience that changed my life!

You have been a supporter of LnP and for that I thank you and am grateful for your company on this journey. It has been almost two years since you’ve received an update from me, and today I’m going to share some intimate remarks about myself, LnP, and where we go from here. Please read on.

Since graduating from Babson in 2007, I have learned so much from my former professors, friends, colleagues, mentors and advisors, and the world. I have observed the habits, actions, and inactions of all types of entrepreneurs in many areas throughout the world. This observation took place mostly online using tools like LinkedIn, SocialEdge, Social Earth, Facebook, Twitter, Ning and …

We Stopped Blogging and Got Serious About Our Future

It's been over four months since we last posted to this blog! While it breaks our heart to have been out of touch for so long, we had good reason.

You see, our blog is run by volunteers of the Literacy 'n' Poverty Project. LnP is a social initiative I started that addresses multiple aspects of literacy - health, reading, writing and financial - to empower the poor and low-income adults to lift themselves up out of poverty.

But, if you've been keeping up with our blog which we know you all have :), you can see that adult education has not been the focus. And rightfully so.

How We Got Started
Make Social Change A Reality was created as a venue to discuss various issues concerning the broader concept of social change from the environment to women's issues to healthcare to youth development. As a startup with goals of becoming an international social enterprise, we felt that y'all deserved a place of your own to learn, engage and share information and resources to help…

Ready to Make Social Change a Reality? Start Volunteering!

We talk about working to make social change a reality, but where does one start?First, there is the light-bulb moment.The time when one realizes today is the day, now is the time to make a difference.The next step is often harder – getting started.Where does one begin?How do you decide which organization to work with?I’ve developed a short list of organizations that should kick start your research into volunteer work.And if you have any other ideas, or suggestions, please add them in the comments!HandsOn NetworkIf you live in New York City, you know them as New York Cares.But did you know that there are actually 250+ affiliates of the HandsOn Network across the U.S. and 11 international locations?Their structure is based on an online model.You must first attend an orientation session in person.Then, you are eligible to volunteer during the day, evenings, or on weekends for organizations serving children, animals, the environment or adult job readiness, just to name a few.United WayT…

How Big is Your (Carbon) Footprint?

*This post was written in collaboration with over 7,500 other blogs from 140 countries for Blog Action Day 2009.

The Pew Center for Global Climate Change is an invaluable resource for information on how society has effected the environment and how changes in the environment are affecting society. Their purpose is to

“… bring [sic] together business leaders, policy makers, scientists, and other experts to bring a new approach to a complex and often controversial issue. Our approach is based on sound science, straight talk, and a belief that we can work together to protect the climate while sustaining economic growth.”
The website is organized to educate and empower both professionals and private citizens. My favorite feature is Tips on Curbing Your Personal Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions.

Here are some ways you can shrink your carbon footprint, and do your part to protect the environment, without increasing your expenses …

At Home:
• Lower your thermostat 2° in winter and raise it 2° in su…

Potential Bright Spots for the Long-term Unemployed

The Center for America Progress released their findings for September 2009 on Tuesday. Part of a list of signs that America’s economy is still struggling was this highlight…“The average length of unemployment in September 2009 was 26.2 weeks, the median length of unemployment was 17.3 weeks, and 35.6 % of the unemployed were out of a job for 27 weeks or more. All of these indicators are at their highest level since 1948.”Media outlets are reporting with more and more frequency the difficulties the long-term laid off are having in securing employment. The Wall Street Journal’s online career section regularly featured an article back in June titled, “Only the Employed Need Apply”. It seems, not only are there fewer jobs available, but the unemployed are being passed over for theoretically more desirable candidates - those who are employed.
The question becomes … with so many obstacles before them … Is there any good news for the long-term unemployed? Yes, there is.
#1 Unemployment Ben…