Read Our COVID-19 Update

Contributed by
MIKE REMEZO
2019 Bezos Scholar
Categories
Student Stories

Scholar Spotlight: 2019 Scholar Mike Remezo

What are you up to right now? What projects and new ideas are exciting you personally / academically / career-wise?
During the past two weeks, I made my mind and decided to go to Davidson College. I am really excited to join their community and learn particularly from a Computer Science Professor who is working on sort of data structures that are used in large machines to speed up different kinds of scientific applications- weather prediction, protein folding, etc… This will sharpen my skills in Blockchain technology that I have been interested in for the last two years.

You just helped host the ALA South African Ideas Festival – tell us a little bit about it, and how it went….
It was just incredible. The biggest reward that I had was talking to the participants, getting a sense of who they are, and just seeing how radiant they were (actually a participant drew a nice rough portrait of me). Other than that, working with my whole team was like a masterclass. It was my first time organizing an event of such caliber which presented its own challenges. I have to honor the team and myself. Fortunately, my team was there encouraging me to keep pushing further and, I learned every single time that I could.

Which influential books, albums, podcasts, or films would you personally recommend to the BSP community of curious minds - especially while we’re all staying in!?
I would strongly recommend a book that I just read for the third time Let Love Have the Last Word: A Memoir by Common (I met him last June at the Aspen Ideas Festival). It’s a self- help book on love-interpersonal and intrapersonal love. He mixes some holistic and “new age” type ideas with Christianity, which results in relatable content that just makes sense.

Who or what are you finding inspiration in right now?
Crises can cause societies to do things that once seemed inconceivable.

In Asia, at the end of the 1990s, a recession led to the establishment of a universal health system in Thailand. If we go back in time, the Great Depression in the United States gave birth to the social security act of 1935. The Second World War gave a boost to the British National Health Service, now is one of the best in the world. The 2008 financial crisis led to an increase in social security in Brazil such as the Bolsa Familia (family allowance). Seeing these few examples inspires me to keep doing what I am doing, hoping that, something good can come out of this crisis.

Anything else you want to share with the BSP community?
More than 80% of Burundian women and girls cannot afford to buy menstrual pads every month. As a consequence, girls stay at home instead of going to school when they have their periods, and miss an average of five days of school each month (50 days a school year). They find themselves further and further apart behind in classes which leads to 40% of girls dropping out of school. 

That is why I am in a process of starting a social enterprise that will aim to provide washable and reusable sanitary pads made by women in the informal tailoring industry so that they can empower themselves and girls in their local communities.

If you have worked in woman empowerment projects before or you want to help in any way, your help and input will be invaluable. If this is of interest, please get in touch with valerie@bezosfamilyfoundation.org and she will help connect us.

Contributed by
MIKE REMEZO
2019 Bezos Scholar
Categories
Student Stories

Related News