July 5th, 2012
04:09 PM ET

African foundation meets new partners on tour of America

By Dan Ogola, Special to CNN

Editor's NoteDan Ogola is the founder and director of the Matibabu Foundation, a organization in Eastern Africa creating jobs and opportunity through healthcare. Founded in 2006, Matibabu has offered health services to over 60,000 Kenyans. It recently opened the community’s first hospital, a state-of-the art facility drawing new businesses to one of the country’s poorest regions. 

As a result of a CNN profile on "The Next List," Matibabu Foundation got invited to the recent Global Health and Innovation Conference at Yale University by the event organizers, Unite for Sight. As Social entrepreneurs, myself and Dr. Fred Okango expanded the scope of the trip to include contact with potential partners. Our goal was to espouse our vision of a healthy, productive, and prosperous society in Western Kenya through the efforts of an empowered community and strengthened systems.

We travelled the length and breadth of the United States from New York, to Yale University in Connecticut, to Boston and Washington D.C., to Atlanta and South Carolina, and finally to the west coast, visiting both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Q&A: Innovation through the eyes of a former intern
Persaud teaching children littleBits at Maker Faire Bay Area in May 2012
July 5th, 2012
04:07 PM ET

Q&A: Innovation through the eyes of a former intern

By Heather M. Higgins, CNN

New York (CNN) – Daylight pours in a large northern exposed window and bounces off the grape-colored walls of a 13’ x 10’ office that is part of the 5500 square foot arts and science co-operative called Collab.

The six employees who work shoulder-to-shoulder at this lower Manhattan startup are designing tiny, brightly colored electronic squares. However, these Lego-like modules are much more than the next hot toy on the market – they’re encouraging young boys and girls to learn about science, engineering and basic circuits.

“The idea is that we want to make every single electronic interaction in the world into a ready to use brick,” says Ayah Bdeir, 29, founder and CEO of littleBits, a company that has been selling their product for less than a year.

One of the people collaborating to advance this mission is Krystal Persaud, 23, a 2010 graduate of Georgia Tech who interned for three months before being hired as a full-time junior industrial designer on June 1st. Persaud, who has always been into art and painting, pushed herself to pursue a degree in industrial design.

Her skills were tested at a recent workshop she titled ‘Techno Jungle’ – a littleBits Saturday class to inspire children to build animals whose tails spin and eyes light up.

“Krystal impressed me when I met her on Skype by her project ‘The Closed Loop,’ Bdeir said. “She grew weary of superficial sustainability solutions and embarked on a self-imposed project over several months where she was not going to produce any waste, and instead was going to live with her trash. I hired Krystal because, like us, she wants to change the world, she is starting from within, and most importantly, she knows how to have fun doing it.”
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