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Kushal Chakrabarti (2008) Pop!Tech Pop!Cast

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POP!TECH [♪ POP!TECH Theme Music ♪] Brings Together The World's Leading Thinkers To Share Inspiration and Ideas Igniting Change And Unlocking Human Potential This Is Part Of Their Ongoing Conversation POP!TECH POP!CAST Hi. How's everyone doing? This is going to run me over time, and I hope Andrew will forgive my soul. If you had told me a year ago that I would have been here talking in front of you, I would have just laughed. It's such an incredible honor to be here that it's incredible. It's not that I have anything against being here, nor do I have anything against doing a nonprofit, I'm doing one right now. But they're just so far out of the realm of possibility that it just never occurred to me. And as Ben showed us yesterday, it's all about possibility, isn't it. So, Vittana. Before we get to that, though, I have a picture of the earth behind me. What's the single biggest waste on earth? Is it oil? Water? Some of you cheated, maybe you looked at my website. It's people. Think about what one mind can do. Think about what individual people have done. And then you think about all the people out there that can't do anything. It's people. Let's talk about microfinance. Incredibly successful. Billions and billions of dollars worldwide, tens of millions of borrowers, incredible secondary benefits: women's rights, health, stability. If you have security, if you have physical security, assuming you're not getting shot at, microfinance gets you stability. You can take out a loan, you can buy a cow, sell the milk. You can move out of the tin hut, start drinking cleaner water. It doesn't get you that much further. To get from stability, to being a productive, thriving member of society, you need education. If you talk to borrowers, they tell you that the real reason they're doing this is to put their kids through school so they can get a proper education, a proper degree, and ultimately, a proper, respectable job. If you talk to the banks, the microfinance banks, it turns out they're itching to do this. They want to provide educational loans. But no one quite knows how to do this. And that's where we come in. What we do is microfinance for education. Person-to-person microfinance. If you know about Kiva, we're Kiva for students. When we launch, you'll be able to come to our website, meet out students, hear their stories, read about them, see their pictures. And if one of them really connects with you, for whatever reason, if you find this deeper human connection with one of them, you can lend him money to go to school. Whether it's to become a teacher, or a welder, or an electrician. And then when they graduate, they'll go and pay you back. We're trying to build something really big. There's two things that we're trying to do. What we're trying to do, is build something that can operate at scale. 100,000 students in 5 years. We know we can mobilize tens of millions of dollars. But, on the grand scale of things, microfinance, billions of dollars worldwide, ten million dollars, compared to the billions of dollars worldwide, is nothing. And to really make a dent in the problem, you need those billions of dollars. What we're trying to do is prove a feasible model of education microfinance. We think, if we can prove... One of the fundamental parts of our model is that we work with microfinance banks, locally, on the ground. They provide us students, and by working directly with them, we figure out what works, what doesn't and build a set of best practices such that when I approach the next microfinance bank I can tell them that if you do X, Y, and Z, you can be reasonably confident that your student loan will get repaid. And when we do that, that's when those billions of dollars start flowing in. And that's when you really start making a dent in the problem. We're trying to create something bigger than us. That money won't be coming to us. It'll be coming into the sector. And ultimately it will create something that is far, far bigger than us. Education has to come next. The borrowers want it, the microfinance institutions want to do it. Strategically, from a social impact angle, think Maslow's hierarchy of needs, when you have physical security, when you have shelter, when you have health, the next thing that has to come is education. Someone has to solve this in the next 3 to 5 years. We think we can accelerate the process a bit. And that's why we're here. Thank you. This work is licensable under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License For details please visit POP!TECH For more Pop!Casts, information on Pop!Tech or to learn how to participate, visit

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 58 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Pop!Tech
Director: Pop!Tech
Views: 104
Posted by: beth on Nov 20, 2008

Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow Kushal Chakrabarti, talks about Vittana.

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