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[Tuning in] Founder of Genashtim on working with people with disabilities, refugees, and other marginalized groups

Written by Julianna Wu Published on 

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Genashtim leverages technology and the internet to connect marginalized communities to the global economy.

Thomas Ng, Founder of Genashtim

Founded in 2014, Genashtim is a for-profit social enterprise whose mission is to leverage technology and the internet to connect marginalized communities to the global economy. The Genashtim team operates 100% remotely, providing online learning and support services globally with 60% of the staff – comprising refugees, LGBTQs, seniors, and people with disabilities.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

Community members can ask Thomas questions here.

KrASIA (Kr): What is the story behind founding a social enterprise for marginalized communities?

Thomas Ng (TN): I spent the first 25 years of my career working in operations internationally. I have been posted to many different countries as an expatriate and have seen much of the world as well. At the age of 47, I decided that I would quit corporate life because it just wasn’t what I wanted.

At that point, the company I was working for had a gardening leave clause — I had to stay on for one year “on-call” and could not work for competing firms. With no specific plan in mind, I decided to accept the many invitations that I had received to join the Board of Trustees of NGOs. So I picked a computer school for the blind since I was quite intrigued by the idea of blind people using the computer.

I was really so amazed by how blind people can use the computer and access the internet very effectively. I had a competition with one of the blind boys, doing a search on the internet, and he obtained the result faster than me. Hence I decided that my job on the board was to put them into employment because most of them were trained but jobless.

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