Can anyone be a changemaker? Website attempts to connect social problem solvers

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ImageAbout a month ago, I came across (via’s Social Entrepreneurship blog), a neat website for people to connect and collaborate with others working – on all levels – to solve social problems. The website is an initiative of Ashoka, a nonprofit organization that works to support social entrepreneurship. Changemakers seems to act as a social network of sorts – through competitions, discussion forums and storytelling – for people who want to make a difference. Two aspects of the site quickly appealed to me.

First, with a tagline of “Everyone a Changemaker,” the site attempts to be accessible to anyone. From their FAQ page: “Changemakers is yours to explore. You decide how it can help you take action, no matter how new or seasoned you are in the world of social change.” If you create a free profile, you can create a new group forum or join a current discussion.

Being a consumer and teller of stories, I also was instantly drawn to the Stories section of the site. Organized by issue or place, dozens of stories share inspiring tales of people around the world making a difference.

Unfortunately, there is only one story from the East Asia region – hopefully something that will change as more people discover and join the site. Still, it’s a good story about a man in Bangkok, Thailand, who started a foundation that protects children from abuse. Author Kris Herbst writes:

“Every child deserves a safe and secure childhood, and in Thailand there's an organization working to make this a possibility for hundreds of kids. Founded in 1993 by children's rights pioneer, Montri Sintawichai, the Child Protection Foundation is Thailand's first community-based organization that shelters abused children and helps their families – including abusive parents – address the root causes of abuse.”

One question comes to mind: can joining an online discussion be equated with actually being a changemaker? Why?

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