12 April 2012
We’ve been in search for a social impact project that would combine all the skills and resources we have accrued since opening our first innovation space in London 2.5 years ago.
In September last year, we attended the Do Lectures, where an amazing woman called Chido Govera shared her story of how learning to farm mushrooms changed her life. That rudimentary skill catalysed an education for her younger brother, a career in eduction for her, and a better life for other orphans in Zimbabwe. What really struck was how much suffering she was able to truncate from her family and other people by finding economic independence. Most if not all of the members in our spaces have successfully generated economic independence through their businesses, so could this be a tangible skill we could pass on to other communities?
As we continued our research, we learned that at the crux of creating lasting impact in communities is empowering the women. Regardless if it’s in a council estate in England or a community in Africa, women are at the centre of the family. They are left with raising the children and responsible for their wellbeing. Therefore giving women tools, education, and entrepreneurial skills can help eliminate, poverty, sexual abuse, and trafficking. It is not a simplification of the problem, but of the solution. Learning from Chido’s story, change can come from the smallest of moments.
We have partnered with a wonderful charity called Circle of Women, which is run by students at Harvard University. They have projects set up in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and now Peru. They started a rapport with Casa Mantay, which houses young women, who have been victims of rape and they are giving them an education plus a way to generate income. Our first step will be to observe the environment; from why rape has become a cultural norm, their diet, habits, cultural view, ethics, how they view themselves, what they need, how they would like to be helped, their neurological state, to infrastructure needs.
Circle of Women would like to create a stronger educational system for the women, so they can continue to create economic independence. We would like to use some of the neurological research and tools we have developed to help these women move away from the trauma of rape and provide a happier life for their children. We would also like to understand how they see the world and give them the tools, which will empower create a world they own.
Through our years of building THECUBE and INPUT LOFTS, we have learned the importance of a healthy community. Healthy communities create healthy brains that have balanced levels of oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, which are the key neurochemicals for innovation. Furthermore they lower anxiety and fear helping people reach their goals in a more effective way. By exposing our spaces to other communities, we believe we can create lasting change. It is not about giving money, its sharing skills, knowledge, time, and kindness. The dream for both spaces is to grow a community that not only generates strong businesses but also helps other communities cultivate their own economy. It is a long journey, but we are excited to be starting our first step. If you would like more information or would like to get involved, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Gutierrez and Araceli Camargo