Sunday, October 08, 2006

Good things

I just caught the tail end of a BBC World report on The World Challenge.

It's a competition to reward (invest in) groups or individuals who are working to make a difference in their own backyard.

In Swaziland a group called Gone Rural have organised themselves into a collective which seeks out foreign markets for the beautiful artefacts of local female heads of households, so that they can support and educate their children. There was a box marked DUBAI, so the next time you see richly coloured woven grass mats and baskets, or handsome glossy riverclay bowls, look for the label.

Then there was Maxitech, a computer recycling company in Haringey, London, founded by a one-time Bosnian refugee, which takes the old IT hardware from big companies, strips it down, and then sells reconditioned PCs to small businesses, provides training for local long-term unemployed people, and gives PCs to the local council so that they can train elderly people to use them. In addition to training, elderly people living alone can also get a reconditioned PC, to help them stay in touch with the outside world.

There are ten other finalists too. Next time the world is getting you down, go and see the good things that are being done by people like you and me. And you can vote.

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