As a part of the Acumen Fund Fellowship training, we performed an exercise in empathy. The purpose of the experience was to understand the challenges that homeless and jobless people endure. Though the ‘poor’ at the BoP (Base of the economic pyramid) face dramatically different struggles than those in NYC, the experience of putting myself in another’s shoes opened my eyes to broader challenges faced by those who are financially poor. I recapped my day through the following poem:
No One Notices Me
The brisk fall air chills me to the core.
My fingers are starting to feel numb.
I’m not hungry yet, but I know I will be.
I start walking.
Who knows where I’m going?
The walking warms me up a bit.
Maybe I’ll go to the library.
Where is it anyway?
No one notices that I’m poor; I could be anyone.
Read more »
Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Acumen Fund Fellows graduation for the Class of 2010. The fellows have just returned from nine month stints with various Acumen investees ranging from 1298, an ambulance service in India, to Western Seed, a company focused on improving crop yields in Kenya. Their experiences were as diverse as the countries they went to, but one thing was certainly universal: each fellow faced hurdles that forced them to make tough decisions and, in some cases, stand up for what they believe in. I firmly believe that challenge is where leadership is born. At the graduation, Jacqueline Novogratz said to the fellows, “You look different than you did when you joined us a year ago; you stand taller and you look more confident.” She was right; the newest alumni of the fellowship program looked like leaders, plain and simple. Read more »
Last week in our anniversary post, we announced that I am joining the Acumen Fund as a fellow for the coming year. While I’m abroad I will be sharing updates here on Rising Pyramid about my experience as well as what I’ve learned. To kick off this series of posts I wanted to take a moment to describe in more detail what the fellowship will include. First and foremost, I’m thrilled to have this opportunity (it’s been my dream job ever since I found out about it) and I’m looking forward to the learning that is to come.
Read more »