There is a
new movement sweeping across American college campuses. Many young people are
turning their backs on lucrative careers in business, medicine and law and
instead using their entrepreneurial skills to solve social problems in
innovative ways. For VOA's Yi Suli, Elaine Lu has more on the growing number of
Dr. Aron Rose's state-of-the-art office in New Haven,
Connecticut is a stark contrast to where he was a year ago.
He says, "My wife, our three teenage daughters and
myself went to Ghana last summer and were able to work in Accra, the capitol,
as well as Tamale, a city in the north of Ghana, performing eye screenings as
well as surgery," said Rose. "And while I spent much
of my time in the operating room, my wife and children were able to work in
outreach clinics in small villages to do screening and find patients to refer
for tertiary care."
volunteered with Unite for Sight, a non-profit organization working to improve
eye health and eliminate preventable blindness worldwide. So far, the group's
four thousand volunteers have treated more than 600,000 patients. Unite for Sight started eight years ago when
Yale University freshman Jennifer Staple was interning at an eye doctor's office.
Staple said, "When I first worked at the eye doctor,
I really saw a need. And then I really wanted to be able to create a solution
to this preventable and avoidable eye disease. Eighty percent of all blindness
is preventable which is a startling statistic."
started as a very small idea and a small student organization at Yale for three
years going into these community centers, providing basic vision screenings and
matching people with free health coverage programs. And then, after developing
this model for three years, I thought it would be terrific to begin to expand
it to other universities within the U.S so that this successful model could
begin helping people throughout the country," Staple explained.
"And then within a few months we had about 25 chapters, and then quickly 50
chapters," she added. "And then also began expanding the organization internationally where
there is a huge need for eye care in remote villages and other locations where
people have never been to a doctor and aren't even aware that eye care exists
Klaber is pursuing a duel degree in business and law at Harvard
"After my sophomore year of college, I decided that I wanted to spend some
time in the developing world. I had an internship all set up in India. And
then, two weeks before I was going to leave, Indian and Pakistani soldiers
mobilized along the line of control (in Kashmir). Fourteen days later I found
myself in northern Thailand. I did not know what I would do there. I didn't
speak their language. And I didn't know anyone. But I saw, over time, I was
spending 10 weeks over there, children, young girls walking around the night
bazaar with older westerners, and realized this was sex trade right in front of
experience inspired Klaber to found "Orphans against AIDS" in 2002.
Since then, the non-profit organization has provided education and healthcare
funding for children orphaned or otherwise affected by AIDS in developing
people across the U.S. - like Klaber
and Staple - are taking on the challenge of becoming social entrepreneurs, by
identifying pressing social problems and, using their entrepreneurial skills to
develop innovative solutions to change society for the better.