Featured Optimist: Leila Chirayath Janah for Samasource

When I first read about Leila Chirayath Janah and Samasource in Forbes Magazine, I was intrigued. Imagine creating jobs in countries riddled with poverty, and replacing conventional aid with opportunity, skill sets and a virtual foundation. Imagine doing this in order to build the beginnings of a solid infrastructure, and, in turn, a self sustainable community and most importantly, a future for otherwise impoverished countries. Leila Janah imagined this and created this non-profit.

Samasource’s mission is to “bring dignified, computer-based work to women, youth, and refugees living in poverty… [and] connect people living in poverty to work via the Internet.” (Source)

While the dialogue concerning the idea and practicality of outsourcing jobs to other countries has essentially included much frustration from US-based clients, it also has perpetuated some ignorance on our part. With a little patience and information, it seems these efforts can also yield more benefits and results, than the aid and handouts we tend to invest more energy in.

There are several videos on the Samasource website which offer more insight and background to the project and the thought process behind the birth of the organization and projects.

Here is one of them:

(Source: Samasource YouTube Channel)

For more information on the organization and/or how you can get involved, please refer to their website:



Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony: The Maribel Foundation

Do you know Maribel? Well, you surely know her brother. Maribel was the name of Marc Anthony’s sister, who had a brain tumor and passed away when they were children. Jennifer Lopez and her sister, Lynda, founded The Maribel Foundation and named it after her. The foundation is “dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women and children. [Their] organization advocates and invests in policies and programs that make a positive, measurable impact on communities.”

One of the main goals of the foundation is to insure the availability of healthcare to underserved women and children, no matter their location or circumstance. One way they intend to tackle this issue is to use Telemedicine.

“Telemedicine is a remarkable new healthcare delivery system that uses telecommunications technology to conduct medical diagnoses, consultations, treatments, transfers of data, education of physicians, and dissemination of public health alerts and/or emergency updates.

Simply stated, this technology allows patients located all over the world to receive access to care by the physicians at one of America’s top pediatric hospitals, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Patients living in under-served and under-privileged areas, two groups that are especially vulnerable to inadequate healthcare, can greatly benefit from telemedicine.

Some of the potential benefits of telemedicine are as follows:

Access: Telemedicine can allow children with serious childhood diseases in other areas of the world to be examined, diagnosed, and/or treated by the top pediatric oncologists, hematologists, and pediatricians at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Doctors can virtually give patient care to children in different parts of the world.
Quality: Telemedicine permits consultations to take place among the referring physician, the consulting physician, the patient, and the patient’s family through interactive video and medical equipment and instruments, with the added benefit of having critical patient information available on-line. Additionally, the physicians or other personnel at remote or under-served locations can be educated before or during the consultations with specialty physicians and other experts, increasing their ability to treat other similar cases in the future.
Cost: The travel cost of the patients for specialty care, the travel cost of the health care professionals for continuing education or consultation, the personnel / equipment cost for not having to keep specialty care facility in rural or under-served hospitals, and other costs can be either eliminated or reduced. ”

(Source: http://jenniferlopez-foundation.org/goals_telemedicine.aspx)

This PSA gives an idea of what their initiatives and visions are for the organization:

(Source: original video source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f92FI7QOz7o)