Leila Janah is eradicating poverty by bringing developing countries into the tech world. She is the founder and CEO of Silicon Valley’s hottest tech-minded nonprofit, Samagroup, which connects companies like Google and Microsoft to people who need jobs in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Companies come to Samagroup with a project, and Leila’s company works to provide the appropriate training and income for unemployed workers, typically low-income women and young people, around the world.
The workers help major tech companies with online work from small computer centers thousands of miles away. Somewhere in Uganda, a farmer is waking up in her rural village, walking to a computer center with high-speed Internet, and identifying pictures with people and without people so self-driving cars can avoid hitting pedestrians on the road. The digital skills (like data analysis, search engine optimization, and more) these workers learn equip them with the competitive edge they need to find a job despite their own minimal education and resources.
She’s a Harvard University grad and a Stanford University visiting scholar tackling the global unemployment problem head-on. In the spirit of giving, we asked Leila to pick some gorgeous gifts that make the world a better place, either by donating proceeds or employing ethical sourcing and manufacturing practices. This holiday season, you might want to pick presents that give back in a big way. So check out Leila’s wish list below.
If you’re interested in Samasource’s work, watch this video. It’s the best three minutes you’ll spend today.
“If you want to save yourself a trip to the mall or risk holiday shipping, send a Samasource Hope Card ($5)! Hope Cards are supersimple holiday greetings that, for as little as a $5 donation, also save lives, as 100 percent of the proceeds go to our heroic doctors performing life-saving treatments for people in need around the world. It’s better than fruitcake and the easiest way to spread some holiday cheer!”
“For the adventurer on your list, a passport case is the perfect gift. I’ve given these to nearly all of my friends and love that Cuyana ($55) partners with Nest to empower artisans to transform their crafts into a means of creating a dignified life.”
“Not only is this gift unique, but it really does make a huge difference for families in underdeveloped regions around the world. Many of our Samasource workers have benefited from a Heifer goat ($120), so I like to spread the word. Give a goat!”
“At Sama Group, we’re all about empowering women through giving work. These Empower bracelets ($60) are made by women in Kenya and allow them to earn a living wage to break the cycle of poverty. Not only do they represent a great cause, but they are superfun to stack and wear all together.”
“I’m obsessed with most of Zady’s designs and love their commitment to ethical sourcing and low-impact manufacturing. This Billy Reid sweatshirt ($195) is one of my favorites because of the leather patchwork; comfortable, chic, and easy on the environment.”