Whilst I certainly don’t consider myself a Kerouac, Twain, Joyce, or Hemingway however, I’ll keep at the prose. Or as Gandhi said a while back ‘An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching’.
Once back down in town we did what most visitors do, saw the city, visited Kowloon Park and several other sites. The next day we took the ferry over to the vibrant markets, shopping stalls and restaurants of TsimShaTsui.
The Resto’s must cook the best crisp-bottomed pan-fried pork dumplings this side of the Bridge in Sydney’s Chinatown. Lantau’s Disneyland is on the cards. I’ll be taking my Chinese-Filipino friends there when they are a little older. It wasn’t open the last visit so my only memories are of Anaheim’s Matterhorn, which I rode initially with fear, then joy and then great bonhomie. Terrific memories.
So I headed back to Australia to finish my education. Some years later I said to myself how much I was fascinated by the people and culture in this part of the world, vowing to return.
In the 90’s I began arguably perhaps Australia leading site for international students and aStudent Recruitment firm. This was after I’d been writing and working for an old-school print publication who wasn’t so hip to the digital era that burst upon us like one of those awesome “multi-shot aerial repeaters” that annually emblazon the sky at Melbourne’s Marvellous Moomba Parade.
Some years later working in Sydney a colleague invited me on a field trip to see some of their microfinance projects in the Philippines. I saw the situation there, particularly in places like Tondo’s waterfront community aptly named ‘Smokey Mountain’ where you’ll see many youth scavenging for charcoal simply to make ends meet.
As I was passing a funeral there on the docks I said to myself I can’t solve this wickedly glaring issue of poverty but I can certainly do something within the minimum of means at my disposal. No matter how small to alleviate some of these problems, I certainly won’t solve all of them but I’ll do whatever I can to make a small dent. As I believe we all should.
If you’ve got a smartphone and the plan is near finished or ended and you’re thinking of throwing it away. Why not give your old phone a new home as hundreds of thousands of youth will be thrilled to receive it. It will be as simple as visiting one of our launch sites whether it be SolvePoverty.com or another sister site and a trustworthy delivery person from a well-known global delivery firm will drop off an airfreight satchel which you can put your no longer needed smartphone in, and it will be taken away and put to good use. At no cost to the donor.
Having been involved in marketing and IT this would be like the old saying although there’s no killing anything here but the same principle i.e. ‘Killing two birds with one Stone’ Environmental waste and helping Solve Poverty.
Keeping it brief, as life all too often is, we went on to build the Philippines very first computer telecentre in the country. I was in a hurry to solve this problem, with haste.
Whilst still in hospital recuperating I kept up my avid and voracious reading habit. It was during my twilight reading travels picking up facts here and there that I came up with my NBI ‘Next Big Idea’ using the same tactics so many other successful digital disruptors seem to have used AKA UBER, AirBnB, Alibaba, Society One, Satoshi Nakamoto and others. If you’ve got the idea and can crystallize it into a solution that will solve the problem you want to address then your on your way.
I’m not disparaging any future potential global blue chips here but with something like well over a billion smartphones, yes that’s right a billion with a ‘B’ now in circulation, with many having the capability to guide and maneuver satellites. As well as guys like Sal Khan who founded the hugely successful Khan Academy, I thought with millions upon millions of underprivileged youth desperately wanting to learn and get a job, how can we bind the two together. It’s not quite like a game of Chess or Monopoly, maybe more Jenga-like.
So how DO we encourage people NOT to throw away their used smartphones, rather see what happens when we launch the campaign on SolvePoverty.com next year when we hope to be able to partner with fellows like Sal Khan, several large airfreight and shipping companies to fill and fly their cargo space with used smartphones to critically needed regions. With a full understanding of the logistics involved, as that’s no excuses not to have a crack at it.
The “Give Your Smartphone a Second Home” campaign is scheduled to launch sometime in 2017.
Then millions of youth will awaken each day keen to learn on their gifted smartphone because someone decided to give their phone a second home and they’ll decide to take a class from MOOCs, edX or the Khan Academy. With the growth of ground-breaking platforms and software like VR & AR and other virtual technologies becoming more widely available now millions of youth globally will be able to learn, work and make the world a more sustainable and safer place.
If the current tech news is correct you’ll be able to take classes from Thomas Edison, Gandhi, Bruce Lee, Marco Polo, Usher, Pavarotti and a host of other premier world-class teachers and performers if the stories about Oculus Rift are true.
The goal is to have millions of youth having that inner voice saying you’ve been given a smartphone, now I’m empowered, I’m not going to continue scavenging rubbish at places like Smokey Mountain or a chasing manok-manok in a favela in Brazil. I’m going to be a web designer, an engineer, nurse, mechanic, farmer or artist so I can help my dear old Lolo as she or he ages and the planet will be all the better for it.
The Khan Academy’s engaging tagline is “You only have to know one thing: You can learn anything. For free. For everyone. Forever.”
It’s not that youth are disengaged they simply want the opportunities that so many of them see on the vast social media space. They want to be engaged and just need the opportunities so many people have these days with the ever-rising reach of ICTs.
So the challenge, not insurmountable, is how to get people millions of people from discarding their used smartphones, that are ultimately destroying the environment, it would be infinitely better for the planet, world economies and humanity to start a grassroots campaign where people donate their used smartphones have them equally distributed to emerging markets, with the assistance of several airfreight companies willing to take planeloads of smartphones to EMs.
We can all make a difference even with our used things, so think of what you can do and how you can help, it’s not always about money as a student we don’t often have a lot, but it doesn’t mean we can make a difference.
Story by Need To Learn freelance Journalist Mr Simon Healy