A project in rural India shows the life-saving power of something we use every day.
True
CARE & Windows 10

There's nothing like the simple joy of a cellphone upgrade.

That exciting moment when you trade in your old model and realize what a brick it is compared to the latest mobile technology.


How did we survive before these? Photo by Rico Shen/Wikimedia Commons.

In some parts of the world, cellphone upgrades are about so much more than coolness or mere convenience.

Take places like Bihar — one of India's poorest states, with almost 70% of its residents living in poverty — where they're solving matters of life and death.

Bihar has some of India's highest mortality rates for mothers and babies, and outmoded practices have made that hard to overcome.

Health care workers making home visits in Bihar carry unruly stacks of ledgers to record and track medical information for hundreds of thousands of households.

Image via CARE/YouTube.

Having to lug all that extra weight from home to home wasn't the only problem; the system was also incredibly time-consuming and fraught with inaccuracies.

Cellphones are proving to be an effective tool for improving health outcomes for women and children.

Despite Bihar's poverty and extreme inequality, cellphones have become common among even the poorest workers. Many low-income Biharis, who are more likely to migrate in search of jobs, rely on them to stay connected to their families.

"Technology, tools, and training lead to transformation."

Now, humanitarians have found another vital use for cellphones in Bihar. International aid group CARE has made it possible for hundreds of Bihari health workers to trade armfuls of paper for cellphones. Through a partnership with Windows as part of its Upgrade Your World initiative, CARE will continue to support these health workers and women like them all over the world.


GIF from "The Big Bang Theory."

The phones have apps that allow health care workers to quickly set up appointments and gather information.


Image via CARE/YouTube.

The results have been astounding. In just three years, the mobile-equipped workers made over 600,000 home visits. 20% more pregnant women are getting home visits, and 13% more mothers and newborns are getting a follow-up visit within the first week after birth. This means more women and their babies are getting professional care when it’s most critical.

Improved health care access is just the start of what cellphones are making possible.

All of that data is being stashed in the cloud, where it can be analyzed for trends so the government can design and deploy bigger picture health strategies.

That means happier and healthier mothers and children...

Image via CARE/YouTube.

...and health care workers who are confident in their ability to make a difference.

Image via CARE/YouTube.

This initiative offers a hopeful lesson for humanitarians everywhere: The challenges may be great, but we may already have what we need to address them.

It's just a matter of connecting those resources with the right people because, says CARE's Ram Krishna, "technology, tools, and training lead to transformation."

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Racist jokes are one of the more frustrating manifestations of racism. Jokes in general are meant to be a shared experience, a connection over a mutual sense of humor, a rush of feel-good chemicals that bond us to those around us through laughter.

So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

Keep Reading Show less
True

*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

Keep Reading Show less