The founders of The Open Medicine Project South Africa (TOMPSA) received much needed exposure after being amongst 100 finalists given the opportunity to participate in the Echoing Green Global Fellowship contest, in New York City last week. Winners of the Global Fellowship are awarded special financial allowances from Echoing Green, which are used to aid project leaders in funding and growing their respective initiatives. Finalists are also given the opportunity to rub shoulders with likeminded ‘social entrepreneurs’.
TOMPSA was co-founded by Cape Town based practitioners, Dr Mohammed Dalwai and Dr Yaseen Khan, and seeks to better patient care and healthcare facilities in the more under resourced parts of the country. Their project was selected out of 3000 different applicants.
Speaking upon his return from the US, Khan said that whilst the final results of the contest were yet to be revealed, the trip itself was a win in its own right. He was particularly grateful for the opportunity to interact with other social entrepreneurs on a global platform.
“These are young people from all sectors starting businesses and organisations to drive social change in a number of areas. Education, healthcare and climate change (are but a few), and the opportunity to meet all these people and to go to New York and meet the Echoing Green Organisation was really a win,” he said.
He described the event itself as one of inspiration, noting the sheer magnitude of ‘good work’ being conducted across the world by young people working on the frontlines for various causes.
“We met people in India using the side produce made when making rice for generating electricity. They are starting businesses and organisations using that kind of fuel to provide power to villages in India. We were also grateful to meet some Palestinians living in Israel whose cause goes around educating Palestinians. This is with the idea that if they are really educating the Palestinian minority within Israel, that can go a long way towards the liberation of Palestinians in the long run,” he explained.
With regards to the project itself, Khan said the global exposure the project was likely to receive could only but benefit their cause.
“It is a win; it just allows your organisation to go that much further, and advance your cause through funding and further networking opportunities,” he said.
Global Fellowship winners are likely to be announced within the next two to three weeks. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)