"My name is Gwendolene Mugodi and I am a writer and the founder of Paivapo Storytellers, a movement that aims to provide better access to local, good quality literature to the children in Zimbabwe--and eventually beyond. Our work would not be complete without the help of local artists like Abel Zvorufura who I met through the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. As two different artists we spent about a month and a half going back and forth on this book until we got to a place we were both happy with. I look forward to sharing that full book in a few months, but for now here's a little bit about Abel and why he does what he does."
Easier Said Than Done
As I walk along the puddle-ridden city streets through ubiquitous monsoon showers to catch a school bus at six in the morning, pessimism spreads through my mind like a cancer. I begin to ask myself questions along the lines of ‘Why am I even here?’ and ‘Is my work today actually going to make any difference?’ I count the days I have left until my flight back to the sound and stable, comfortable America, hoping that the number somehow feels vastly smaller than it did yesterday.
Fast-forward three hours and I am riding in a school van, approaching my house in Surat and my brain is working a mile a minute. I’m brainstorming innovative ways to expand Let’s Be Well Red’s efforts to combat anemia and mulling over the ways in which I can ensure a sustainable model for spreading awareness before I leave. Reminded of my rapidly approaching date of departure, I pull out my i-calendar and try to figure out how to best manage my time and meetings with the little time I have left in India, a country where change seems to be the only constant.
What happened in the minutes between my 6 am bus ride and 9 am van trip? The answer is simple - a training session with a group of local Health Scout volunteers from a school here in Surat (Gujarat, India). The minute I stepped off the school bus, I was greeted with several voices in unison saying “Good morning Shyam Sir!” (Despite my several requests to remove the “Sir”, they haven’t shed the habit). This group of 8 kids is willing to wake up and come to school early in order to learn how to lead, present, and teach with confidence, all while listening to me speak on end about iron and hemoglobin and red blood cells. They are continuously thinking of new ways and places to spread awareness about anemia and improve nutrition throughout India and most importantly, they are genuinely excited to help others.
Throughout my stay in India I have come to realize how incredibly difficult it is to actually make a lasting difference in people’s lives and to create widespread impact. Social entrepreneurship can basically be considered a synonym for the phrase ‘easier said than done’. It is important to keep in mind, however, that with any venture, one knows from the start it will not be easy and, as I learned today from my students, only with a rechargeable eagerness to help others can progress continue to be made.
August 11, 2016
June 13, 2016
Lauren Maunus '19 is starting a bold new venture.
Its goal: To help eliminate food waste and bring healthy, affordable food to "food swamps" in Rhode Island and beyond.
March 15, 2016"If little girls like me were saying Barbie is the pretty one and the brown one is the ugly one, that's a problem."
Yelitsa Jean-Charles studies Illustration at RISD with a a concentration in Gender, Race & Sexuality. She identifies as a visual activist, and believes that artists have a responsibility as society’s image-makers. Her doll company and book series, Healthy Roots, combats internalized racism and colorism by getting to the root of the problem: altering beauty standards and cultviating self-love for young girls through education, diversity, and positive representation.
March 12, 2016An Excerpt
Mina is a Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellow. She traveled to her home in Iran last summer and brought back a cultural souvenir: the book she wrote, Taste of Culture. She explores Iranian families, streets, stores and the stories and spirit embedded in the recipes of Iranian food. She hopes to start a conversation about the benefit of knowing cuisines of different cultures to connect societies.
This year's class of Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellows have just begun their yearlong foray into the world of social entrepenuership. Check out their projects here.
December 16, 2015
Ria is a 2015 Social Innovation Fellow and co-founder of No Country for Women (NCFW), an internationally-recognized gender education initiative that aims to combat systemic gender-based discrimination in India. Ria and her co-founder, Shreena Thakore ’16, who grew up in India, were awarded the Projects for Peace fellowship and used this grant to launch the project in May of 2014. NCFW was set up to educate the people in India on gender, rape culture, and misogyny through a series of workshops and initiate informed discussions about social change.
I was inspired by Ria’s story because she was determined to start a conversation about an issue in a country that fights hard to keep such issues silent and hidden. We reflected on Ria’s experiences, her interactions with young people, most of whom had never thought about this obvious form of discrimination before, and her moments of self-doubt and extreme conviction.
October 2, 2015