I recently found out about Watsi, a nonprofit startup which seeks to connect those in need of basic medical care (in developing countries) with donors.
The idea came to a Peace Corps volunteer who was approached by what he thought was a salesperson on a local bus in Watsi, an indigenous village in Costa Rica. Except, in this case, the people on the bus seemed to be especially generous…
The instant she opened the folder everything came together. There was a full-sized photograph paper clipped to the inside left cover and a document stapled to the right. The photograph showed a young boy with an incision across the width of his iodine-stained chest. The document to the right outlined the patient’s medical condition. The young boy was her son.
In that moment I had what can only be described as an epiphany. If I could somehow connect this woman with my friends and family back home, she would have her son’s medical treatment funded within the day.
With this idea the volunteer founded a non-profit which does just that. At watsi.org you can read several profiles of people in need of care, and immediately make a paypal donation which will benefit that person.
They are apparently doing this on a volunteer basis, allowing almost 100% of the donations to go to the person in need (minus PayPal fees).
It’s an inspiring idea, and makes me wonder what other ‘disruptive’ concepts can be borrowed from the .com startup space and be put to work for social good. Incubator for .org startups, anyone?