Markets with a social mission
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
By now, doctors and developmental therapists know plenty about how to treat children with cerebral palsy. But all that knowledge doesn’t matter if there’s no one to pass it along, as is often the case in rural hospitals in South Africa. So four years ago, a team of volunteer neurodevelopmental therapists traveled to Malamulele, in northern South Africa, and set up the non-profit organization Malamulele Onward to train the hospital’s rehabilitation staff.
Since that pilot project, Malamulele Onward has sent volunteers to other rural hospitals. But as is the case for many non-profits, there’s too much need and too little money. To expand their reach—and their budget—the volunteers recently listed their project on the South African Social Investment Exchange. SASIX, as it’s called, is a stock market that connects worthy projects like Malamulele Onward with donors. In its first three years, SASIX has brought in $2.2 million for a total of 53 projects. In just two months, Malamulele Onward raised $23,000 to send 20 therapists to southern South Africa. Now its directors hope to tap SASIX to fund expansion into the Eastern Cape.