FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
There were two.
The first. I was chatting on an online parents board when someone asked me mockingly "What are you doing in this world that is so great." I exaggerated to say I teach social media and photography to children in at risk communities in order to keep them in school and teach marketable job skills.
But it's a fantastic idea! I mentioned it to my husband Noah, who agreed, and we soon found a school where we taught our first English Through Social Media class
The second: The first time we visited a Wichi community, we stood in the rain distributing clothing, then made lunch for a community of 200. Our 7 year old daughter Lila was with us. We then handed out cameras and saw how easily the kids took to the technology and how much they loved it.
The visit made me not only realize how lucky I am in my life, but showed me how easy it is to be content with little. Yet those of us who have a lot seem to lose that ability because our constant connection with the rest of the world shows us how much more there is to have and do.
I saw how the Wichi, while they do not have a lot of stuff, they live a peaceful and content way of life that is admirable.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
Javier, 7 years old, has learned to use a digital camera. He loves it. His photos have been seen by thousands of people during exhibition. A woman buys his photo, hangs it in her office her clients see it and buy more. Soon, he will learn to edit and upload for himself.
Javier's creativity and experimentation leads to sales that set up a garden for his community of 200.
The camera Javier would have otherwise been thrown away.
We also teach project based computer skills, photography, design and social media skills to three groups in Salta, 100 students in total, ages 12-17. Each group functions as it's own design team to actualze specific projects such as designing a t-shirt for a festival, creating company logos or organizing an exhibition of their own photography.
All gain skills that will allow them to find better paying work. It is also designed to keep them interested enough in school that they will not drop out -- Salta has an 87% high school drop out rate -- and thus be less likely to become pregnant, begin using drugs or turn to crime.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
Within five years, we will branch out to another 5-10 Wichi communities to create sustainable means of selling their photography and continue to teach marketable skills. We will create computer labs of donated equipment with online access so they can begin to run production independently.
Sales will grow beyond photography to create merchandise via partnerships with other companies.
The students in our current classes will take leadership roles in their communities by teaching others.
This project is intended to expand internationally once our systems for identifying the needs of at risk communities and matching them with available resources have been streamlined and tested.
They key is giving people something they truly want in exchange for something they are happy to give.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Set systems in place to automate our current projects and extend the scope of each.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Begin expansion to the international community via publication, exhibition and physical exchange programs.