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

Written by Julianna Wu Published on 

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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