In 2002, Malaysian native Stevens Chan was diagnosed with glaucoma. He didn’t know he had an eye disease, let alone one with no obvious symptoms, no cure, and which often leads to blindness. His vision loss occurred quickly. In just 5 years, he was blind. Stevens’ experience led him to establish a Malaysian branch of Dialogue in the Dark, a social enterprise that works to increase public awareness around preventable blindness and support individuals with visual impairments.
I recently checked out my first book from the Human Library: Homelessness. I read it in an open courtyard next to the Impact Hub in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was likely the most honest and direct conversation I’ve had with a fellow human who has experienced homelessness.
Confused? So was I, until Turisaina (Turis) Tukiman clued me in.
Turis is the Operations Lead at Human Library in Malaysia. Originally created by a group of young activists in Copenhagen, the Human Library is now a global movement. It’s purpose is to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices.
Malaysia is one of Asia’s great melting pots, with diverse representation from many Asian countries and cultures. From native Malay to Indian, Chinese and more, Malaysia brings amazing food to the dinner table. It is also home to over 150,000 refugees and asylum-seekers.¹
23-year old Swee Lin Lee and her co-founders, Suzanne Lin and Kim Lim, founded the Picha Project to help refugees find employment and contribute their own culture to the Malaysian mixing bowl.
Consider the state of mental health acceptance and treatment in your society. Is mental illness a stigmatized issue? Is it easy to afford treatment? Are individuals with depression, psychosis, bulimia or other illnesses just as likely to find work as people without mental illness? In many communities, both wealthy and poor, the answer to these questions is often “no.” There are many people throughout the world with mental illness or other disabilities that cannot afford full-time, in-patient treatment, but they need more support than basic outpatient treatment in order to recover and live healthy lives. Daniela (Dani) and Gabriela (Gaby), the co-founders of Rubicon Social, are working to find a creative solution that meets the needs of people with mental illness, even in impoverished neighborhoods.
“You go to some cities in Latin America and the people there say the best restaurants are Italian, Spanish or French. Why is that? It’s evidence of a lack of confidence, but now 100% Bolivian products are trendy. That generates something that money cannot buy. It is an intangible asset—pride.”
Located in La Paz, Bolivia, Gustu (Quechua for “flavor”) is a fine dining restaurant with a twist. The restaurant was started by Melting Pot Bolivia, a nonprofit organization established to promote Bolivia’s biological diversity and cultural heritage. Its aim is to leverage gastronomy to grow national development and pride for Bolivian people. The CEO of Gustu, Michelangelo Cestari, is committed to this mission and has grown Gustu to include a variety of programs that impact the entire gastronomic sector in Bolivia, from development of the workforce to supply chain strengthening.
“Philosopher Jeremy Bentham believed 18th century institutions are founded upon three pillars: the court system, the postal service and uncensored newspapers. The postal service and delivery of news have already been dramatically changed by the internet and other technology. Crowdjury is a step towards revolutionizing the court system.”
Federico Ast is a social entrepreneur and the founder of Crowdjury, an online platform that crowdsources judicial proceedings, including the filing of complaints, evaluation of evidence, trial and jury verdict. It is designed to reach a true verdict for each case quickly and at minimal cost, with the aim of making justice affordable and accessible for all.
Maite Sánchez Mancebo and Federica Flores Cadenas are the founders of Tashnika, an agency of designers in Uruguay seeking to solve tough problems through design. By working together as a small team and contracting required skills through their large professional network, Tashnika provides its clients with a full suite of design services, from product design to industrial and visual design. In all of its products, Tashnika aims to solve social and environmental problems through innovation and creativity.