I arrived in Delhi 12 days ago, and this has been the first time I've had time to write about what EXACTLY I've been doing for 12 days.
They weren't lost in a haze of jet lag; on the contrary, they've been exciting, challenging and non-stop days that have run into each other and played out like a symphony.
To give a bit of background, I learned about Samasource about seven months ago. If you don't know it, it's a fascinating nonprofit with a very practical premise, to level the employment playing field in economically-challenged areas through digital work.
Here in Dharamsala, work is hard to find. Yes, there are call centers in Delhi and other areas, but for many Tibetans who only have an intermediate knowledge of English, and are still attending classes, that's not an option.
Part of Built on Respect's philosophy has always been to enable people to do for themselves. I also have a firm belief in DIY, and working with what you have.
So, when I first heard about Samasource, I began to brainstorm: how could it work in Dharamsala? I have so many brilliant friends and students here who want to work, but just can not find jobs. I began to think of all the Internet cafes here that have computers and Internet, and that sit dormant in the evening. I knew that there could be a more effective use of that space.
After a lot of cold calls and meetings with different NGOs and community leaders, I found a location, and auspiciously, at the start of the Tibetan New Year, Samasource's founder, Leila Janah arrived to meet me in Dharamsala.
Leila's passion for her company is like mine, and she seized the opportunity here to have the sanskrit word SAMA (meaning same, or equal) tattooed on her wrist by my friend Tamding.
As I've noted in earlier posts, I love finding young people who are doing amazing things to change the status quo. Leila is one of those people.
I think I will just get to the point, I invite you to check out this video -- where Leila gets her first tattoo and shares her passion for helping others.
You can also read a great article in The Tibet Post.
If you would like to give work or learn more about Samasource's Built on Respect group, please click here!