Shopping for a Cause - How new Consumer Brands support Education

We often forget that standards of what is needed to provide education are very different on our planet. Whereas the developed countries are arguing about whether every child needs an iPad in school to succeed in our competitive society no one of us would consider pen and paper as a minimum requirement anymore. If you take a closer look at the various NGOs that aim to support educational projects in Africa, India or South America you will notice that the access to those things are actually a big issue. How should one learn at home or do their homework without pen and paper?


Taking this a step further, how should one get to school miles away if there is no bus or other means of transportation and if the child does not even have a good pair of shoes? Or what happens if the child has no clear vision and no access to a pair of glasses?

Luckily, there are more and more start-ups which embed social good into the company’s DNA, right from the beginning. The most popular is the “buy one, give one” model best known from TOMS Shoes.

According to TOMS, shoes play a key role in providing opportunities to children in developing countries. If you have to walk barefoot the risk of injuries and therefore infections is very high not to talk of the actual problem of walking miles to the next school or medical center. Shoes can help to protect the health of those children and therefore enhance their chances to succeed in other ways.

A clear vision is another aspect. Similar to getting a pair of shoes, a pair of glasses has an immediate impact on people’s lives. According to TOMS there are over 18 million children on the globe with bad vision and no access to a pair of glasses. But there are of course also bad effects on the family when the father or mother loses the ability to see and therefore to work and earn money.

That’s why Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS came to the conclusion that TOMS should not be a shoe company only but more a “One for One” company and in a first step TOMS Eyewear was launched. There is also Jimmy Fairly in France that offer glasses and shades through the same “buy one give one” model.

Another noticeable start-up in the space is SmartyPants Vitamins which will offer one bottle of SmartPants to a children in need for every bottle purchased. That’s because good nutrition is another key factor in good education, especially at a young age. The brain needs a well balanced diet to work and access to food, especially with the right nutrition is also a huge issue in the developing world.

I believe that start-ups like the three mentioned above can have a true impact on education and I hope that sooner or later big multi-national brands will join the cause.

Picture: TOMS eyewear

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Life is hard: Jordan Peterson and the nature of suffering

The Canadian professor's old-school message is why many started listening to him.

Jordan Peterson addresses students at The Cambridge Union on November 02, 2018 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. (Photo by Chris Williamson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • The simplicity of Peterson's message on suffering echoes Buddha and Rabbi Hillel.
  • By bearing your suffering, you learn how to become a better person.
  • Our suffering is often the result of our own actions, so learn to pinpoint the reasons behind it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less