Pas­sion­ate about solv­ing poverty

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By TARANNUM SHAIKH

It is not of­ten a 20-yearold gets the chance to be­come the chief ex­ec­u­tive of a global char­ity.

Univer­sity of Auck­land stu­dent Ajay Ravin­dran has man­aged to do ex­actly that.

Mr Ravin­dran won an iPad Mini and will swap lives with World Vi­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Clarke this Sun­day in a com­pe­ti­tion run by the Auck­land Mi­cro­fi­nance Ini­tia­tive.

The com­pe­ti­tion in­volved stu­dents giv­ing a two minute pitch to an imag­ined Bill Gates about why the con­cept of mi­cro­fi­nance would be so ben­e­fi­cial for third world coun­try peo­ple.

Judges not only found Mr Ravin­dran highly per­sua­sive but were en­deared by his cre­ative pitch.

He gave a rap high­light­ing the ben­e­fits of mi­cro­fi­nance and why peo­ple should get on board.

Mr Clarke was MC at the event and was im­pressed by Mr Ravin­dran’s per­for­mance.

‘‘We were look­ing first and fore­most for pas­sion. So we were look­ing for some­one who was pas­sion­ate, who un­der­stood mi­cro­fi­nance and un­der­stood how mi­cro­fi­nance con­nected to other ini­tia­tives.

‘‘Ajay won it with an amaz­ing pre­sen­ta­tion. I just thought it was so clever,’’ he says.

The con­cept of mi­cro­fi­nance, that World Vi­sion has adopted, is where co-or­di­na­tors al­ready work­ing in third world coun­tries seek out peo­ple in­ter­ested be­ing en­trepreneurs.

Th­ese peo­ple are spo­ken to about their plans, how much help they need, how much they will be able to af­ford, then given a loan to start up their busi­ness.

Once that loan has been re­paid, with in­ter­est, it is then lent to another aspir­ing busi­ness­man in the com­mu­nity and the process is re­peated.

‘‘It’s im­pact­ful. We know with very small loans you can have a pro­found im­pact on a fam­ily liv­ing in poverty,’’ Mr Clarke says.

‘‘It’s to give peo­ple a

in hand up as op­posed to a hand out.’’

Mr Ravin­dran is pas­sion­ate about break­ing the poverty cy­cle and has been in­volved with the P3 Foun­da­tion and the Live Be­low the Line or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Mr Ravin­dran says that it is not just the poverty that is the cen­tral is­sue.

‘‘I find that peo­ple are aware of the broad is­sue that poverty ex­ists but of­ten aren’t aware of what ex­actly it means for peo­ple liv­ing in ex­treme poverty.{’’

New role: Ajay Ravin­dran, 20, will be tak­ing up the po­si­tion of World Vi­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive for a day this Sun­day.

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