During my first year as a cognitive science student at McGill University, I worked very closely with Joanna Klimczak on Hand in Hand, a non-profit organization which has been able to raise over $45,000 for two villages in Sierra Leone. Together, we began to understand that to make social change, we could not keep relying on hundreds of fundraising activities to provide basic necessities to villages. We needed to empower the residents of these areas themselves because poverty does not represent a lack of potential, but rather a crack in our system.
Thus, myVision, a global network of youth working to create a world free of extreme poverty through social business activities was born. Under the mentorship of Dr. Yunus and Mr. Reitz and as part of the Grameen Creative Lab, myVision is mobilizing teams around the world and providing them the tools to create and contribute to social business activities.
Overall, this evolution has allowed me to undergo a significant change in mind set. Today, I understand that the people to whom I once provided charity to, I can provide skills and resources to. All they need is the opportunity to develop concrete skills and an outlet to profit off their efforts and I have dedicated my undergraduate career and beyond to doing just that.
We are living in a capitalistic world governed by a quick-fix philosophy. Poverty is a result of this broken economic structure. Despite the number of charitable organizations globally that do incredible work both locally and overseas, there is a pressing need for a more sustainable form of social change that allows a change in the state of mind. Those who are extremely poor are not to be pitied; but rather empathized with.
Social business is the formation of a venture based primarily on addressing a social cause. It provides employment and profit opportunities for those within the community of investment while having no loss for investors. We know that if we marry this powerful mechanism for positive social change with the incredible power and innovation that the young people of today have to offer, we can create a world free of extreme poverty. Young people are not only incredible thinkers; they are incredible doers and this is exactly why myVision has the potential to change the world.