Dhairya Pujara, a Philadelphia based social entrepreneur, is campaigning to raise $20,000 by Oct. 6, 2014 for the advancement of Ycenter, a company he founded in 2012. Ycenter offers international immersive learning programs designed to help students create an impact in the world. Pujara presents on a panel discussion called “Innovate Philly: Immigration, Tech and Entrepreneurship,” at the Municipal Innovation Lab at 6 p.m. tonight. It’s a part of an initiative with FWD.us and the Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs as they celebrate the second annual xCultural Passport to PHL Week.
Pujara started Ycenter when he saw the lack of impact that traditional donations and charities had in African communities. Originally born in India, he attended graduate school at Drexel University in Philadelphia where he planned a five-month trip to Africa to study and understand why healthcare was failing abroad.
“I wanted to start shifting the conversation about Africa from donations to creating entrepreneurial ventures and tech start-ups across the continent that could help save lives,” Pujara said. “Now, we are changing the way we change the world, and this latest campaign we’ve launched will no doubt help us make substantial progress on some of our most innovative programs.”
Ycenter does not donate money, or make charitable contributions. Instead, the company focuses on highly actionable technology projects. Money raised by Ycenter in its latest campaign will cover marketing and outreach, indiegogo platform fees, funding for its Malaria project, the run of daily operations at Ycenter, and legal fees for the organization.
To date, Ycenter has created a SMS based application to help fight Malaria and an ultra-portable solar powered phone charger, which has already been sent to a community in Mozambique for testing and use.
Additionally, Ycenter offers international immersive learning programs for college and university students to solve global challenges through innovative projects and community collaboration. Students work hands on with projects in a non-traditional study abroad program that sends them beyond the confines of the classroom.