Now that's something to smile about.
13th November 2017 - Design for Need , Humanitarian Heroes, #HHotW
By Finn Brownbill
A few months ago, after reading headline after headline of doom and gloom we tweeted this:
It is important to direct people's attention to the harsh truths of the world. The statistics certainly do not lie when they sadly state that “an estimated 801,000 children younger than 5 years of age perish from diarrhea each year” or that “Global food loss & waste generate about 8% of humankind's annual greenhouse gas emissions”. Ignoring these monstrous problems will certainly not make them go away. Results are brought about by letting our emotions free and reacting, not turning a blind eye. This can either be either total disgust to the situation or a release of excitement after coming to a realisation of an innovative solution which could save lives. However, sometimes news headlines like these can sometimes have the adverse effect on readers. It may swamp or overwhelm them, making it seem like the task to improve the future is impossible or so unbelievable that they become unrelatable.
That’s why we want to celebrate the incredible work that is being done every day, to help those in need! These stories often get lost in the hectic media storm when publicising international headlines. This can be frustrating for those breaking the status quo and achieving incredible things that deserve attention, but often don’t. Attention is important not only to congratulate them and to instill into them a positive motivation to keep up the good work, but also to inspire others to do the same. Therefore, we created Humanitarian Heroes of the Week (#HHotW) to raise awareness, applaud their work and to inspire others. Now that is something to smile about!
Edith Kagoya is one the leading figures who spearheaded Sightsavers ‘Connecting the Dots’ initiative. This was a project which delivered vocational training for Ugandans with disabilities, placing them in jobs and transforming attitudes towards disability in general. Edith sought out to connect these ‘dots’, who were alone, without hope for the future and created a community fueled by positivity, professionalism and love. Like a proud mother, Edith saw the participants in the most caring way: “I have 324 children: it is so wonderful!”, in which 98% of them were earning an income after graduating. Success!
Mashharawi is a civil engineer who wanted to reconstruct Gaza in the most innovative way. Mashharawi recognised that the shortage of building materials was a massive issue Gaza was suffering from. After much experimenting, ‘Greencake’ was born, an eco-friendly, robust recycled brick which uses the ashes of the pre-existing 60 million tons of debris Gaza produces every year. According to her Indiegogo page where you can support her work, she is adamant that she will “leave this world making an unforgettable change”. With incredible resilience, creativity and bravery, Mashharawi’s belief to bring life back to the dangerous place she was born and raised is inspirational to say the least.
Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya is a leading humanitarian hero who is fighting against an issue which is very close to her heart. When she was younger, Kakenya experienced genital mutilation and lived a life of traditional practices in a community which had countless gender inequality problems. Kakenya, being very ambitious chose to pursue education with the promise of returning to her community to improve the lives of those living there. This is precisely what she did. Kakenya founded her own company, Kakenya’s Dream which fought the cruelty of genital mutilation, promoted education and empowered women. Not only did she fulfil her promise, her company now helps thousands of girls through human-centered, holistic programs.
Natasha is a master of the field of international development, she has worked for over a decade, connecting media and technology for social good. Whilst working with Syrian refugees during the European refugee crisis, she helped provide food, transportation and supplies but realised quickly that there were no sufficient tools to manage supplies and donations. In her latest venture, Natasha founded NeedsList, which is an e-commerce platform that creates a bond between NGOs to donors, ensuring humanitarian aid can reach those who need it most as simply and efficiently as possible. Primarily focused on refugees and those who have been displaced due to war, as well as those affected by recent natural disasters, NeedList has helped 10,000 of needs and are operating in 9 countries.
A co-founder of a sustainable design company without any design experience. Sounds ideal right? Hey ho, that’s not why I’m here. I’m the chief editor of the blog and I do plenty more (non-design related) jobs too.