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Johnson & Johnson Caring Crowd

Over 247 million children in Sub-Saharan African countries have no school supplies. Not even a backpack.

[rebelmouse-image 19397746 dam="1" original_size="3456x2304" caption="Photo courtesy of CodeToHope." expand=1]Photo courtesy of CodeToHope.

Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the highest poverty rates in the world. And with all money going toward food, shelter, and tuition fees (many schools aren't free), parents are often unable to afford the supplies their children need to succeed. That's why it's not uncommon for kids to show up to school empty-handed.


But that's just one of the factors that puts Sub-Saharan Africa at the top of the list for education exclusion. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO), more than one-fifth of children between the ages of 6 and 11 aren't in school. That number increases to one-third among children between the ages of 12 and 14. And by the time they're 15, over 60 percent of children are no longer attending school.

Thankfully, there is an organization working to bridge the education gap. It's called CodeToHope.

[rebelmouse-image 19397747 dam="1" original_size="735x750" caption="Philemon Padonou distributing laptops to a teacher. Photo courtesy of CodeToHope." expand=1]Philemon Padonou distributing laptops to a teacher. Photo courtesy of CodeToHope.

CodeToHope is a non-profit dedicated to bringing technological skills training to youth who may have never experienced it otherwise due to lack of access. The organization was founded by Philemon Padonou, an engineer who grew up in the Benin Republic of West Africa and then moved to The United States to work and learn English.

When he enrolled in computer science classes in the US, though, Padonou made an important discovery: His lack of early computer literacy was holding him back.

"One of the biggest setbacks for him was that he couldn't type as fast as his peers," says Jacqueline Gaston, a Technology Services Analyst with the organization.

"His assignments were taking so much longer, even though he understood the material in the same way his peers did. These basic computer literacy skills, which he had to pick up on the spot, would have given him more opportunities."

So Padonou decided that he had to find a way to give those skills to the kids in his community. He was going to offer them an education in digital literacy so they could have opportunities that he didn't.

CodeToHope's goal is to fight poverty by giving future leaders the tools they need to empower their communities. That meant starting with the bare necessities.

[rebelmouse-image 19397748 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="Photo courtesy of CodeToHope." expand=1]Photo courtesy of CodeToHope.

Since its launch in 2016, CodeToHope has provided over 1000 children with backpacks full of supplies.

"The backpacks have notebooks, pens, pencils and a ruler," says Gaston. "Things that we would consider as being basic necessities. For some students, even buying this is unattainable." The kits also contain mosquito nets to help students prevent the spread of malaria. 90% of all malaria cases occur in Sub Saharan Africa, and two-thirds of those who succumb to the disease are children under the age of five. Even giving kids this seemingly meager protection can help keep them in school, and may even save their lives.

And these supplies are only one part of CodeToHope's campaign against poverty. The second part is all about technology.

[rebelmouse-image 19397749 dam="1" original_size="750x750" caption="Photo courtesy of CodetoHope." expand=1]Photo courtesy of CodetoHope.

The organization's main thrust is to provide children living in Sub Saharan Africa with access to computers and the education they need to become experts in the field of technology. Such access, the people at CodeToHope believe, will not only provide more opportunities, but allow communities to create better links to healthcare, knowledge and economic growth.

To date, CodeToHope has donated more than 400 computers to schools in Benin, which has, in turn, allowed the non-profit to serve nearly 3,000 students in the short time they've been an active organization. CodeToHope also arranges for expert mentors to teach children how to use the new devices — something that's incredibly important in a place where there's no oversight on digital education.

And this is just the beginning of CodeToHope's initiatives.

In 2019, CodeToHope plans to harness solar power to help the remote villages of Ganvie and So-Ava gain access to reliable electricity for the first time. The hope is that electricity allows for major improvements to occur, which may help bring the community together.

"Our model isn't to go in and provide help and leave. We're trying to create a sustainable model where we can help communities and make sure that we're having a positive impact."

The idea is that the education provided by this project will help prepare these children for the ever-changing world around them, which will, in turn, go miles to improve the overall health of their village, as there is a known correlation between education and health conditions of an area.

"We're not trying to fix their problems. We're trying to enable them to fix their own problems."

CodeToHope is only growing, and that's largely thanks to Johnson & Johnson's initiative, CaringCrowd®.

[rebelmouse-image 19397750 dam="1" original_size="750x503" caption="Photo courtesy of CodeToHope." expand=1]Photo courtesy of CodeToHope.

Philemon Panodou works at Johnson & Johnson. The company's credo  — to put the needs and well-being of those the company serves first — is actually what inspired him to create CodeToHope. It's also where he was first introduced to the logistics of creating a non-profit and where he secured initial funding. When Panodou began looking for gently used computers to bring to Benin, his J&J colleagues donated some along with funds.

Today, two of CodeToHope's major projects have been funded via CaringCrowd — a new type of fundraising platform that utilizes the power of social sharing to do good and improve wellbeing on a global scale.

CaringCrowd allows people like you to make the goals of non-profits around the globe a reality. Each project is independently reviewed by a team of outside experts so you know the money you pledge is going to a reputable place.

Best of all, Johnson & Johnson will match up to $250 per person per project as long as funds last. So the more we share the projects we're passionate about, the more monetary momentum they gain.

That means more backpacks, more computers, and more education for children in Benin and beyond.

The fight against poverty is long and arduous. But every notebook, pencil, mosquito netand computer brings CodeToHope one step closer to transforming the lives of the children who need it most — widening their futures to a dazzling array of opportunities they may have never had otherwise.

With organizations like this and people like Panodou constantly fighting for a better world, those brighter futures are entirely possible.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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