Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.



By on November 8, 2011

                                                  Work not aid, will end poverty

I was so deeply moved by the work that Leila Chirayath Jahah is doing with Samasource, that I had to fire up my blog to let more people know about it. It all goes back to what the quote above says. For decades, the part of the world known as the Third World because it is home to some of the most resource-constrained countries on the planet, has been more or less given hand-outs by the more resource-abundant countries as a a way to inch them away from poverty and more to some sort of state of abundance. The formula has not always worked because, frankly speaking, most parts of the world are still poor, in spite of millions of dollars of aid, but then again, that is another story on poor governance and corruption which we will save for another time. The fact is though, that some of this aid might not have been needed, if only we had stopped to think outside of the box. My new favorite saying : The instructions for getting out of the box are on the outside of the box, if only we would come out of the box to read them!

Well, we are increasingly seeing a number of people thinking outside of the box. Fact is there are able-bodied and intelligent people in these parts of the world who do not lack willpower to get things done, given the opportunity. And so, many social entrepreneurs are channeling into something which should have been glaringly obvious in the first place: every self-respecting man or woman, just wants to use the talents that they have been endowed with to make a living and not have to rely on hand-outs from someone else. I was excited about this when I wrote Text The Job Done! about this time last year, and now I hear about Samasource, I am beside myself with joy!

Samasource, which is the brain child of Leila Chirayath Jahah, gets its name from the Sanskrit word for equal. The company provides ‘microwork’ in the form of transcription or data entry projects to people in the developing world. It aims to provide a living wage to the forgotten ones: living in the slum areas and rural backwaters, so that they can lift themselves out of their state of poverty. It is making a difference – with contracts with some of the global powerhouses – Google, Intuit and LinkedIn, Samasource has employed 1,500 people from Zambia to Haiti. Need I say more?