Friday, September 24, 2010

TEDx Talk

I'm a fan of TED, you know, that "Ideas worth spreading" website with sometimes brilliant speeches by really interesting people. Don't know it? Check it out here: I guarantee you will find an interesting topic/speech. I like this one.

Anyway, there is an extension to TED, called "TEDx", "a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience." There is a TEDx Singapore.

I was asked to speak at one of the events, which is happening tomorrow. It's a shame I cannot make the trip home to Singapore at this time. I can't go because as you know, I have just opened a guesthouse and am currently hosting four guests. In addition, the Bloom shop in Siem Reap is moving end of the month as our lease runs out. We are moving not far from the Old Market, but moving is a Big Deal, because there are contract details to be sorted and renovations to be made.

Anyway, this is the talk happening tomorrow. It is a global event.

"The Future We Will Make"- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and us TEDx organisers have teamed up for a very special 'live' global event hosted by TED curator Chris Anderson. Featuring talks by some of the world's most inspired thinkers and doers, we will look at what changes have taken place in the last decade, and what more needs to be done to ensure the health and well-being of future generations. On Saturday 25 September, we will bring you the stream of this entire event + live speakers to bring this theme to local relevance."

The organisers were looking for ideas, experiences and endeavours related to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). And if you know Bloom, you'd know we are pursuing the same MDGs. I have to say it is just a coincidence, though -- I never started out wanting to fulfil some United Nations goal (in my ignorance, I only learnt about the goals this year, when a Dutch filmmaker who filmed Bloom told me how he got funding from his government just by quoting the MDGs). Very simply, my goals for Bloom are based on justice and fairness and equality, which I supposed are the same principles as those supporting the MDGs.

This is how my project Bloom shares many, if not all, of the MDGs:

- We alleviate poverty by giving very poor Cambodians good, fair paying, jobs with 28 days paid holidays a year (Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger).

- We aim to help single mothers and women in general (Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women)

- Their kids can go to school (Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education)

- We have 3 months maternity leave, health insurance and a great working environment (where essentially the team manages itself without me), which I guess contributes to achieving Goal 4: Reduce child mortality rate; Goal 5: Improve maternal health and Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.

- And of course, we make use of recycled and/or organic materials in our products - please see for our products (Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability)

- And Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development. Bloom is a Singaporean founded/funded, Cambodian managed and operated, social enterprise. We have found customers and supporters all over the world, including Amnesty International, Care International, and many private organisations, big and small. In fact, we just completed an order for 1800 bags to an Australian furniture shop who are using our recycled bags as in-store carriers.

Bloom's motto is "Help the poor, help the planet", which I guess covers it.

If you are interested in this event, you can "attend" it 'live' online, tomorrow on Don't you just love the Internet?

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