We need your help! We are a five-woman team of graduate students from Columbia University and we’re competing in the regional round of the Hult Prize, a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship, to be
held on March 7-8, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. While there we plan to test out our social enterprise concept, which we’ve been working on for the past few months.The Hult Prize is co-sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and this year’s President’s Challenge, selected by former President Clinton, is to address “Non-communicable Disease in the Urban Slum.”Our team “Health For All” is concentrating our program idea on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and prevention. We recognize there is a huge potential to improve the lives of generations to come in slum communities across the world. Our idea brings communities together to enjoy the health benefits of dance while learning strategies for healthy living and tracking their impact. The goal is to reach 25 million slum dwellers by 2019.
We are currently conducting small-scale pilots of the program in New York City and in New Jersey. We are fundraising to conduct a larger pilot of our program in a favela (slum community) in Brazil during the first week of March 2014. Why Brazil? Because that is where we are competing on March 7-8 for a space in the final competition and the area offers a truer representation of the majority of the world’s urban slums that cannot be learned in NYC or New Jersey.
If we win the final competition, we win $1 million in seed money to launch our social enterprise and positively impact the heart health of some 25 million people living in urban slums around the globe!
Based on these multiple pilot tests, and after we make the program more robust and scalable, we plan to officially launch the program in India. Why India? Because that is where the incidence of CVD is greater than in any other country in the world and it’s where most of our potential development partnerships are located. CVD is the #1 cause of chronic disease death globally at 37% and causes 50% of all non-communicable disease related deaths in India. Roughly 5% of Indians carry a gene that predisposes them to heart disease. And, it is estimated that from 2005-2015 India will lose approximately 1% of its annual Gross Domestic product (GDP.) That may seem negligible, but equates to almost USD$237 billion!
Did you know? – The largest slum populations globally are located in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, so developing an understanding of how our idea will work in different urban slums with different and specific needs is critical to our success. By conducting a large pilot test in Sao Paulo, we’ll get first-hand knowledge of how our program can work in an urban slum and understand what it will take to scale our idea.
We’ve already reserved our plane tickets and hotel package! What we are asking you for is help in covering the costs associated with traveling to Brazil and conducting the large-scale pilot in Sao Paulo. This will include expenses such as: hiring a guide that can help us gain trustworthy access to the slum community, hiring a translator fluent in Portuguese, hiring a reliable car and driver to safely transport us to and from the favela, hiring a trained dance instructor to perform the dance lessons, renting or purchasing equipment necessary to conduct the lesson and health checks (such as blood pressure cuff & monitor)…and the list goes on!
Your generous contributions will help us gain key learnings that will inform our ultimate presentation to the regional competition judges and to our overall program plan! YOU can help us make this social enterprise idea even stronger so that we can effectively address the increasing problem of cardiovascular disease among the already at-risk millions of people living in urban slums around the world.
Thank you so much for your support and we will keep you posted with our progress!
All the best,
Dianne, Ame, Krystal, Danielle & Christina.