Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In India, Poverty Inspires People to Action

“In Redmond, you don’t see 7-year-olds begging on the street,” said Sean Blagsvedt (former Microsoft engineer).

This statement refers to the difference between the streets of India and the streets around Microsoft's headquarters in the US. A growing trend in India is that wealthy workers are seeing the poverty around them and are being moved to do something with technology to help these people.

Mr. Blagsvedt idea was to build a social networking site for poor street workers looking for employment. It seems that the rich complain about not having enough people to hire, and the poor complain about not having enough jobs. the problem was that there was no connection between the two. Mr. Blagsvedt answer? Technology!

The biggest problem was the fact that the poor don't have access to computers, and the rich don't want to trust just anyone they find online. So, the design of Babajob.com was to pay the people with computer access to set up profiles for good workers that they have found. Fairly ingenious. You can see the whole article here.

If you have ever read the Bible, especially the New Testament, you might have been struck by the idea that we are supposed to do something about poverty. I've always wondered why so few of us do that. Heck - I've wondered why I have a hard time doing anything. I think some of it has to do with the attitudes of the most visible poor: the corner beggars. I've gone and talked to a few of them, even offered to help them apply for jobs. They aren't interested in doing that. Now, I know that those people represent less than 5% of the actual poor out there. But they are the 5% that most of us ever get to deal with, so I am assuming that they are (unfortunately) influencing our national attitudes toward the poor. Why would we want to help those that just want a free hand out?

There has got to be a way to get something like this started here in the US. Some kind of site that links us needs with those willing to give. I am thinking mostly time here, and not money. I would love to go do something about poverty, if I could just find where to go on my free Saturday afternoons.

No comments: