Social Enterprise as an answer

“Social enterprises are businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.” – Social Traders

72.7% of India’s population live in villages and yet, many Indian villagers aspire to working in cities as that is where the ‘real opportunities’ exist. Instead of continuing to promote cities as a place of economic wealth and opportunity, we need to start fostering opportunities that are present where people already live.

“Could social enterprises be the ABCD answer to many of India’s – and the world’s – social problems?”

This question kept popping up in my mind during the ABCD Festival as, again and again, we heard from individuals who had indentified either an opportunity or a weakness in their community that they wanted to act upon. And again and again, we heard that these individuals were coming up against barriers presented by their local government and authorities. But always, their solution was to just start something by using the social enterprise model, as trying was a far better option than just sitting and waiting for someone else to take notice.

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#IFeelUseful

DAY ONE:

We heard from some phenomenal speakers during today’s sessions at the ABCD Festival and were exposed to so many wonderful and challenging ideas. One of my favourite presentations was by Richard Holmes of Barnwood Trust. He introduced us to one of their recent campaigns; #IFeelUseful. Watch the video above to get a small sense of what that campaign is about.

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CERES Global: Rethinking Approaches to Community Development in India

In January 2017, I will be visiting India with CERES Global to attend the ABCD Festival in Goa, and then to observe several of CERES’ partner organisations’ projects in Mumbai and Udaipur who are applying the Asset Based Development Approach (ABCD*). These are Reality Tours in Mumbai and Shinkshantar School in Udaipur.

The purpose of this trip is for me to observe how CERES Global executes and runs their study tour style experiences with the eventual aim of me designing and running a program for them in 2018. The work for this program will take place throughout 2017 as an internship which will be credited towards my current studies at Deakin University (Master of International and Community Development).

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‘Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro’ (Freedom cannot be sold for all the treasures of the world)

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This quote, which I nabbed from the Fort of St Lawrence in Dubrovnik, pretty much sums up my enduring feeling of Croatia: a country that would never sell its freedom. And what a beautiful country it was!!

We have enjoyed an incredibly relaxing eight days of paradise while scooting around the islands and hot spots of the Dalmatian coast. If Latvia and Lithuania helped us to extend our history knowledge, and Poland enlightened us about how to live in a new way, Croatia has been our chance to really unwind.

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Reliving Poland through the eyes of my brother

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My brother volunteered in Poland in 2004, last week we returned to his ‘hometown’ of Zyweic and got to experience the life he lived during the year that changed him dramatically.

First we had a short stay in Krakow (too short in my opinion!), where we got to soak in the city life and see some moving sights like Oskar Schindler’s factory. Sean decreed that there were to be no walking tours in his week so we were our own guides in Krakow.

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Lietuvos (Lithuania)

Over the past 6 days we have been to so many incredible places! We finished dad’s week in Lithuania where we spent time in Kaunus (the capital of Lithuania pre WW1) and then Vilnius (the modern capital).

I really loved Lithuania. It was so different than anywhere I had visited before and, unlike Riga in Latvia, these towns felt like they were living, not just a tourist spot. The stories I heard where also a key reason behind my love for this country.

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Getting here and first impressions

We did it! We finally made it here after a mammoth 30 hours of travelling, spanning thousands of kilometers and many many countries!

The trip here was brutal. We left home on Saturday at 12pm and arrived in Riga, Latvia at about 1am Monday (Australian time). We detoured via Singapore, Dubai and Copenhagen to get here, which meant many fleeting and muddled stop overs.

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Note the blurried/puffy eyes…

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