Friday, April 29, 2011

Creating a deliciously healthy business...

This brilliant business idea shows you just how you can create a sustainable business which not only is profitable, it also helps people eat healthy while providing opportunities for disadvantaged people with job opportunities... Wouldn't it be great to have this here in Australia?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spotlight on an amazing human being: Aimee Mullins

I first came across TED at the Design in Daba 2005 conference in Cape Town when it's creator spoke about his website The great thing about this site is that it is filled with amazing people who are creating, questioning and pushing the boundaries.

A recently published talk by a Aimee Mullins is one I really wanted to share with you. She shows how she has embraced design to not only be a functional part of her life but also an outlet to create conversation to express her very unique self. Amy not only is a record breaking athlete, a model and activist, she's also one of the most joyous and inspiring people I've heard speak.

listen to her talk at

Photography by Nick Knight sourced from

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Helping Japan

A few great examples of putting creative skills to good use... these artists and designers have put their hearts into raising money for Japan after the devastating earthquakes of recent times...

Artwork by Pomme Chan

Artwork by Rob Dobi

Friday, April 15, 2011

A pretty cool use of mobile phone technology

Have you ever considered how it would feel to be unable to smile? To not be able to express joy with the simplest facial expression? To essentially become an outcast in your community because of the way you look?

Back when I was in Grade 3 my best friend had a cleft lip which she had been lucky enough to have operated on when she was little. Her scars were her main concern, but to me she was just a pretty girl wanting to fit in with all of the other 'normal' kids.

Memories of my friend immediately came to me when I saw pictures of similarly effected Tanzanians while flying back from Africa to Australia last month. The big difference for people with this condition in Africa is that much of the time they are bullied, sometimes rejected by their parents or worse can die of malnutrition because they can't eat properly.

The inspiring thing to me was that these people, many of whom are young children, are being given a second chance at being part of the community through mobile phone technology. As you may or may not know, Africa has been using mobile technology to provide access to money in lieu of bank accounts since 2008. Essentially a text through money transfer technology can be shown to a wakala (street stall agent) to receive the cash. Perfect for a country like Tanzania that lacks accessible banking infrastructure for the majority of people (who typically earn less than a dollar a day).

And to see now how the design of such a simple system which utilises cheap, accessible mobiles to help patients with fistula (a devastating and isolating childbirth injury) and cleft lips and palates is nothing short of inspiring. An organisation called CCBRT is now using the Vodafone M-PESA technology to quickly transfer money to ambassadors who have identified a patient. This helps get the patient to Dar es Salaam to have an operation and their new life can begin.

Have a look at the CCBRT website to see what else they are up to...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kids with a bright future...

During my time in Tanzania, I was privileged enough to spend a few days at the School of St Jude, Arusha. This is a school which has been created literally from the ground up by a very inspiring Australian woman called Gemma Sisia. Her mantra - Fighting poverty through education.

Prior to our time at St Judes we saw many of the public schools in our travels through Moshi and smaller villages in the Kilimanjaro region. In these schools most classrooms have up to 100 kids trying to learn from a single teacher (if their teacher has actually decided to turn up that day). These government-run schools are poorly resourced and really quite depressing, evident in the fact that you often would see kids walking in the middle of day and out of school. Later I found out this is because they would have walked for possibly several hours to get there, not had anything to eat all day and so they would be on their long journey home perhaps to fetch some water for their family. Incomprehensible!

The contrast was immediate on our first steps inside the first campus of St Judes. The first thing that hits you are the immaculate grounds and facilities provided for the students (the school would easily compete with many of the top private colleges and schools in Australia). And then our first glimpse of the kids. I have never seen so many beautiful, happy faces. These kids absolutely love being here! And no wonder - it  is such an amazing school!

In a matter of only ten years, Gemma together with her many supporters, has built a school which has grown from three students, a single teacher and one building, to an impressive three campuses. These cater for lower primary, upper primary and high school with 1500 students, of which 1000 are boarders.

The kids we got to speak to, work with and play with, all have one thing in common - they come from the poorest families in Arusha and competed against more than 20,000 other children to be accepted into the school. Every single one of them is incredibly driven, intelligent and has a sparkle in their eye. These kids will be the leaders of Tanzania in years to come I'm sure.

The story of the school is incredibly inspiring... have a look at their website here to be truly blown away...

And the final highlight was getting to meet the little girl a small group of us sponsor. Irene wants to be a scientist, loves Giraffes and is very shy!

To see more photos of our St Jude's visit my travel blog...,_tanzania.html