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Tiny Spark

We investigate philanthropy, nonprofits and for-profit social good initiatives. In-depth interviews and shoe leather reporting from across the globe. Send us your tips. www.tinyspark.org
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Now displaying: 2012
Oct 29, 2012
In this holiday edition of Tiny Spark, we explore what happens when someone refuses to accept the idea of a "lost cause" and instead gets down to the work of transforming a troubled life.
Oct 29, 2012
Jennifer Hemsley and her husband wanted to adopt a girl from Guatemala but they immediately suspected fraud. Jennifer feared the worst: that the infant might have been kidnapped. “We were very concerned that her mother might be looking for her,” Jennifer tells us. What ensued was a years-long quest in which Jennifer sought to uncover the truth about the origins of the girl she wanted to adopt. Tiny Spark looks at a seemingly good idea - international adoption - and its underside: fraud, corruption and child trafficking.
Oct 10, 2012
In our latest episode, Tiny Spark takes a look at the quality of care medical volunteers have provided in crisis zones. We discover that many volunteers who deployed to Haiti after the earthquake had never before worked in international humanitarian emergencies. Many had never practiced medicine in low-income nations. While these volunteers may have been well-intentioned, their lack of specialized training would sometimes have severe repercussions for patients.
Aug 20, 2012
TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, says there are millions of children around the world who are in need of shoes. He's based his entire business model on this premise. His for-profit company has enjoyed handsome gains by getting consumers to buy into his idea. In our story, we question whether Blake's assumption is accurate and if it is, whether giving children free shoes is the best solution. "It starts with a solution that we, or the donor, or the giver, thinks is appropriate," Laura Freschi of New York University tells us. "That is, 'We would like to give people shoes,' which, in my opinion, is backwards because the way it should really start is with the person receiving to say, 'Well, what is your priority? What is it that you need?'" We also look at TOMS' Giving Partners; non-profits the company works with to distribute its shoes to children around the globe. As I started to compile a spreadsheet on TOMS Giving Partners, I was surprised to see the number of Christian Evangelical groups that kept cropping up. This got us looking into Blake Mycoskie's particular brand of Christian faith and how it may be informing the groups his company partners with and how they distribute TOMS shoes.
Aug 15, 2012
When an earthquake struck Haiti, medical volunteers from around the globe flew in to try and help. Many arrived having worked in crisis zones before, others had received training in disaster medicine. But it appears that a number of well-intentioned medical volunteers arrived in Haiti having never worked outside their home countries. They had no training in disaster medicine nor experience working in so-called "low resource" settings. This caused problems. In our next installment of Tiny Spark, we look at the challenges medical volunteers faced in Haiti, the repercussions of poor medical decisions, and what the medical community is doing now to promote disaster training so that volunteers are better prepared the next time crisis strikes.
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