Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
A worker with The Empowerment Plan creates a coat that will later be donated to a homeless person. The organization works inside Ponyride, a 30,000-square-foot warehouse near downtown Detroit. The warehouse hosts other local businesses, too.
Young entrepreneurs are revitalizing parts of the city, starting up businesses in what were once empty warehouses. They're creating buzz and enthusiasm. But in a city where the population is declining and the tax base is crumbling, there are doubts about how much impact their efforts will have.
January 6, 2013 Humaira Bachal's father thought it was a waste of time for her to go to middle school. For years, she had to sneak out of the house to attend. When he found out, he was furious. Now, at 25, she runs a school serving more than 1,000 kids in a Karachi slum.
October 4, 2012 Fortified peanut paste saves lives in Haiti and other places where malnutrition is a problem, but producing it locally costs more than importing it from faraway factories in Europe because of labor and other costs. Still, feeding programs are willing to pay a little more, for now.
July 13, 2012 An Oakland, Calif., nonprofit group encourages low-income families to figure out for themselves what they need to get ahead, and then helps them achieve their goals. Its pilot program for low-income families is proving to be a promising new approach to an old problem.
July 12, 2012 A nonprofit that helps low-income families in Eugene, Ore., recycles mattresses to help bring in money. Its funding model is inspiring other nonprofits to start salvaging junk to support services for the poor.
May 2, 2012 NHPRNearly 3 million Americans are caught in the vise grip that is mobile home living — they own their home but rent the land it sits on, making it nearly impossible to build equity. But a nonprofit is organizing co-ops that help transform tenants into homeowners, giving many a sense of stability they'd never experienced before.
April 7, 2012 Gideon Shoes makes handcrafted hip-hop sneakers inspired, designed and marketed by young people at a youth center in a tough suburb of Sydney. But the company is struggling to balance its values with the brutal realities of production and competition.
November 29, 2011 Founded in the 1970s in India to eliminate needless blindness, Aravind Eye Care has grown to 4,000 beds in seven hospitals — and its surgeons are among the most efficient in the world. The hospital system conducts 300,000 surgeries a year, and about half are free.
November 22, 2011 Healthpoint Services says it has a business model that will not only help the world's low-income populations — but also make a profit. Based in India, the company offers patients videoconferences with doctors, cheap diagnostic tests and clean water. And it hopes to spawn imitators as it proves it can be profitable.