The thinking behind coffee table book with a difference, The Other Hundred Educators, about grass-roots teachers worldwide

Hong Kong-based think tank chief Chandran Nair set out to challenge the idea that education is about going to an Ivy League school or getting an MBA by focusing on little-known teachers helping communities everywhere

 
 

By Kate Whitehead

South China Morning Post 

Glossy “top 100” coffee table books will feature the world’s most beautiful people or the most fashionable, perhaps the best golf courses. And then there’s the Forbes rich list. But what about those at the other end of the scale, the 100 poorest?

Chandran Nair was curious, and the founder and CEO of the Global Institute for Tomorrow, an independent Hong Kong-based think-tank, created a photo book project, The Other Hundred.

The first book, published in 2013, contrasted the lives and achievements of 100 ordinary people from around the world with celebrities on the rich and famous lists. Nair and his team contacted photojournalists with the question – who are the poorest hundred? – and asked for stories.

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“We wanted to create a book of photography that went beyond exotic images – we’ve all seen the shot of the beautiful Afghan woman with piercing eyes in the shadow of a destroyed building. We thought someone local might see things differently,” says Nair.

The team received thousands of photos from 130 countries. Many of the well-known photographers didn’t understand the aim – this wasn’t about a photo of a poor child with a running nose eating from a plate on the floor.

“It’s shallow to think of the poor as victims. People do lead very profound lives with a lot less,” says Nair.

Chandran Nair’s The Other Hundred Educators a book on pioneers who are making a difference

And between the photo stories were eight essays from writers around the world. The book was a success, and the second was released in 2015, The Other Hundred Entrepreneurs. Again, the aim was to challenge ideas, in this case that an entrepreneur is a tech guru who had made his first million dollars by the age of 28 and wants to save the world.

“The images we got back confirmed the reality that most entrepreneurs are small to medium-sized enterprises, they’ve never met an investment banker, don’t do IPOs and are just interested in making a living and doing a good day’s work,” says Nair.

The third in the series, due for release this month,is The Other Hundred Educators, which tells the stories of 100 little-known educators through images accompanied by short narratives.

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“The trigger for this book was to challenge the idea that education is about going to an Ivy League school or getting an MBA from one of the top-ranked schools. Education is more profound than that,” says Nair.

He shares in the book’s foreword that, although his classroom education was important, what counted more was the diversity he was exposed to growing up in a south Indian family in multicultural Malaysia.

Nair hopes the book will question who is an educator and what it means to be educated. The stories are all different. Take Yaghoubi Liaghat, who teaches the children of nomads in southern Iran’s Fars province. He teaches his 12 students Farsi, maths, history, literature and science in a tent, and takes them to and from classes in his own car.

Chandran Nair - a real thinker living in our midst

From India, there is 61-year-old Mohd Alamgir, sitting on railways tracks in Calcutta holding an informal class with young children. We learn that, thanks in part to his 35 years working in the slum district, that 90 per cent of people here are literate and 8 per cent of its school students, mostly girls, go on to graduate from university.

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It is significant that educators in the photos are named. This isn’t about photographers breezing into a far-flung village, snapping a shot and moving on. The photographers are mostly local and are briefed to capture people they know or have seen, keeping things personal.

“We insist that the image cannot be one of a voyeur. A lot of top photographers are voyeurs. They are technically brilliant, but they don’t know the person. They must know the story of an individual. So we are also challenging the prima donna photographer,” says Nair.

From Uganda, there is a photo of a prisoner at the maximum security Kirinya prison in Jinja teaching primary school biology. The blackboards propped up against the filthy prison walls show a detailed illustration of the digestive system.

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The submission from Hong Kong is of an organic farm on a Sheung Wan rooftop. The urban farming project is led by Rooftop Republic, which in addition to setting up and maintaining the urban farms also gives workshops on how to grow food at home. As with most of the submissions, there are interesting facts – this one shows a chart of the world’s top food importers, with Hong Kong coming in just two ranks below Canada.

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From Armenia and Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, Nair hopes to show that education is not only a constant journey of learning, but also that although many people can’t get the education the rest of us take for granted, they are not necessarily deprived.

Hong Kong-based chief executive has tomorrow on his mind

“One of the themes running through the book is to stop feeling sorry for people. Do things for people, but don’t forget that although people are poor they are still getting on with their lives,” he says.

The book will be available from local bookshops and at Amazon.com, and will be given as corporate gifts at conferences. Nair hopes it will serve as a conversation starter.

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From Armenia and Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, Nair hopes to show that education is not only a constant journey of learning, but also that although many people can’t get the education the rest of us take for granted, they are not necessarily deprived.

Hong Kong-based chief executive has tomorrow on his mind

“One of the themes running through the book is to stop feeling sorry for people. Do things for people, but don’t forget that although people are poor they are still getting on with their lives,” he says.

The book will be available from local bookshops and at Amazon.com, and will be given as corporate gifts at conferences. Nair hopes it will serve as a conversation starter.

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The photojournalists are paid about US$350 (HK$2,700) but getting the money to some can be difficult. Nair needed help from a niece in Melbourne to get payment to a teacher in Australia’s remote Northern Territory who wrote an essay on Aboriginal education. It was money well spent, and Yalmay Yunupingu’s voice adds to the broad picture of what education looks like around the world, way beyond Oxford, Cambridge and US Ivy League universities.

“When governments tell us we can’t teach our children how to read and write in their own language, we feel as if a knife has gone into our body, then kept going deeper and deeper,” Yunupingu writes.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: How the other half gives

Source: http://www.scmp.com/culture/books/article/2078659/thinking-behind-coffee-table-book-difference-other-hundred-educators

 

Chandran Nair’s The Other Hundred Educators a book on pioneers who are making a difference

 
 

By Kylie Knott

Post Magazine

Chandran Nair’s latest book celebrates the educators and their schools that may not top education rankings but are no less significant

 Prabha Jayesh's photograph of a school in Kutch, India is FEATURED IN tHE Other hUNDRED eDUCATORS. 

Prabha Jayesh's photograph of a school in Kutch, India is FEATURED IN tHE Other hUNDRED eDUCATORS. 

Good work often goes unheralded. A new photography book, The Other Hundred Educators – 100 stories selected from more than 1,000 submissions spanning 130 countries – shares some of these untold tales.

“Instead of simply moulding the minds of the next generation, these teachers support their communities, from children and adults to people with special needs,” says Chandran Nair, founder of the Global Institute for Tomorrow, the independent Hong Kong-based think-tank behind The Other Hundred, a non-profit project that honours everyday heroes

Hong Kong-based chief executive has tomorrow on his mind

The Other Hundred Educators, available next month, is the third in a series. The inaugural edition – The Other Hundred: 100 Faces, Places, Stories – was released in 2013 in response to the growing list of lists celebrating achievement, such as the Fortune 500 and Forbes 30 Under 30. The second edition, The Other Hundred Entrepreneurs (2015), told stories of those whose businesses were begun with minimal resources.

 Xaume olleros' image of hong kong's rooftop republic.

Xaume olleros' image of hong kong's rooftop republic.

The latest edition includes Spanish-born photographer Xaume Olleros’ images capturing the work of Rooftop Republic, an urban farming social enterprise that is greening the rooftops of Hong Kong. In Little Rann of Kutch, one of the poorest areas in India, photographer Prabha Jayesh turns the lens on teachers volunteering in the Gujarati district’s 17 schools, some of which are without electricity or running water.

Photography project tells stories of poor around the world

“These educators will never feature atop education ranks and lists, but The Other Hundred shows that the world of education is more diverse and interesting than that portrayed on the covers of business magazines,” says Nair.

The Other Hundred Educators, published by Oneworld Publications, is available at Bookazine and Kelly & Walsh stores and from Amazon. For details, visit www.theotherhundred.com.

 
 

The Other Entrepreneurs: Turning Trash Into Art in the Solomon Islands

 
 

By Chandran Nair

The World Post 

Wally Faleka, 46, has run Village Level Art and Graphics since 1989 in his home village of Fo’ondo on Malaita, one of the Solomon Islands. An artist, screen printer, sign writer, teacher and occasional taxi driver, he lives and works in a small house with his wife and seven children, four of them adopted from other relatives.

Despite the island’s lack of running water and electricity, Wally has developed his own screen printing technique, recycling x-ray plastics and surgical knives from a nearby hospital for making and cutting his stencils. Whenever he can get his hands on some emulsion, he uses sunlight and water from his water tank to expose his designs onto cloth screens.

Through the year, he designs and paints banners and T-shirts for events and meetings held on the island. Every Christmas, he creates his own collection of special T-shirts that he sells in Auki, the provincial capital.

Since he bought an old car several years ago, he has also travelled around the island giving free workshops in which he shows women how to dye and screen-print beach wraps known as “lava-lavas.” Afterwards, many of these women carry on creating their designs and products that they then sell. When orders dry up, Wally works as a taxi driver, earning enough to pay a mechanic to keep his car maintained.

Malaita, The Solomon Islands | Photographer: Jouk Inthesky

 
 
 
 

“The Other Hundred” is a series of unique photo book projects aimed as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists by telling the stories of people around the world who are not rich but whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated.

The second edition of “The Other Hundred” focuses on the world’s everyday entrepreneurs. The book offers an alternative to the view that most successful entrepreneurs were trained at elite business schools. Here are people who have never written a formal business plan, hired an investment bank, planned an exit strategy or dreamt of a stock market floatation. Find out more about the upcoming third edition, “The Other Hundred Educators,” here.

 
 

The Other Entrepreneurs: A Disappearing Peru Folk Art

 
 

By Chandran Nair

The World Post

Mabilón Jiménez Quispe survives in one of Lima’s poorest areas thanks to his handicraft — making retablos — a folk art derived from traditional Catholic church art.

The floor of his workshop, on the roof of his family’s house in the San Juan de Lurigancho neighborhood of the Peruvian capital, is cluttered with small wooden retablo boxes, some unpainted, others decorated with colorful flowers. The interiors of most of the boxes are filled with biblical scenes in which Jesus, Mary and Joseph are portrayed as indigenous people, and llamas replace camels.

Mabilón was born in Ayacucho, an Andean city known for its handicrafts, into a family with a long tradition of making retablos. He fled to Lima after a Maoist guerrilla group, Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, launched a brutal insurgency leading to tens of thousands of deaths in the highland region around the city in the early 1980s.

Mabilón sells his work in Peru and overseas. But the earnings from this time-consuming craft are meager, and many other retablo-makers have abandoned the craft to take up other work. Today, only around 50 families in Lima make retablos, just half of them working by hand as Mabilón does.

Lima, Peru | Photographer: Jesper Klemedsson

 
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“The Other Hundred” is a series of unique photo book projects aimed as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists by telling the stories of people around the world who are not rich but whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated.

The second edition of “The Other Hundred” focuses on the world’s everyday entrepreneurs. The book offers an alternative to the view that most successful entrepreneurs were trained at elite business schools. Here are people who have never written a formal business plan, hired an investment bank, planned an exit strategy or dreamt of a stock market floatation. Find out more about the upcoming third edition, “The Other Hundred Educators,” here.

 
 

The Other Entrepreneurs: Giving Ailing Newborns a Fighting Chance From Vietnam

 
 

By Chandran Nair

The World Post

Every year, more than three million babies die in their first month of life. Most of these deaths could be prevented if appropriate technologies were available in the hospitals of the world’s poorest countries.

Nga Tuyet Trang, the founder of Medical Technology Transfer and Services, or MTTS, is trying to make this happen.

After spending a year studying in Denmark in 2003, Nga returned home to Vietnam imagining a world where every infant, no matter where they were born, had an equal chance for a healthy life. Assembling an international team of specialists in biomedicine, mechanics, electronics and industrial design, she tasked them with adapting developed world medical equipment and practices to meet the needs of treating the most common problems affecting newborn babies at hospitals and clinics in developing countries.

Twelve years later, the outcome is MTTS’ range of low-cost, high-quality neonatal intensive care equipment. All made in Hanoi using readily available materials and parts, the machines are durable, easy to use and do not require expensive materials. Installed in more than 250 hospitals, MTTS equipment has so far been used to treat more than three-quarters of a million babies suffering from infant respiratory distress system, jaundice or hypothermia.

Hanoi, Vietnam | Photographer: Gregory Dajer

“The Other Hundred” is a series of unique photo book projects aimed as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists by telling the stories of people around the world who are not rich but whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated.

The second edition of “The Other Hundred” focuses on the world’s everyday entrepreneurs. The book offers an alternative to the view that most successful entrepreneurs were trained at elite business schools. Here are people who have never written a formal business plan, hired an investment bank, planned an exit strategy or dreamt of a stock market floatation. Find out more about the upcoming third edition, “The Other Hundred Educators,” here.

 
 

The Other Entrepreneurs: Perfecting Coffee and Chocolate in São Tomé and Príncipe

 
 

By Chandran Nair

The World Post 

Claudio Corallo, 64, has 40 years of experience producing coffee and chocolate in Africa, working first in Zaire (today the Democratic Republic of Congo) and since the 1990s in São Tomé and Príncipe, a tiny archipelago off the coast of Guinea in West Africa.

Born in Florence, Italy, Claudio moved to Zaire in 1974 when he was 23. After several years working in the coffee trade, he bought a run-down plantation in the center of the country, reviving it to produce high-quality coffee that he exported to the world.

Forced to leave in the mid-1990s after rebel forces launched a civil war that would end in the toppling of Mobutu Sese Seko’s government, he moved to São Tomé and Príncipe to continue his plantation career, this time growing cacao trees, the plant that produces the bean used in cocoa and chocolate. Today, he grows his own cacao beans on Príncipe, then ships them the 90 miles to São Tomé where he runs a processing plant.

When he started out, his greatest challenge was removing the characteristic bitterness of the variety of beans grown on his plantation. He set up a laboratory beside his home, testing and experimenting with new ways of fermenting the beans until he eventually came up with his own process for producing bitter-free cocoa. Today, he sells his dark chocolate to gourmet buyers, mainly in Europe, the United States and Japan.

São Tomé and Príncipe | Photographer: Alex Masi

 
 
 

“The Other Hundred” is a series of unique photo book projects aimed as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists by telling the stories of people around the world who are not rich but whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated.

The second edition of “The Other Hundred” focuses on the world’s everyday entrepreneurs. The book offers an alternative to the view that most successful entrepreneurs were trained at elite business schools. Here are people who have never written a formal business plan, hired an investment bank, planned an exit strategy or dreamt of a stock market floatation. Find out more about the upcoming third edition, “The Other Hundred Educators,” here.

 

The Other Entrepreneurs: The Daredevil Painters of India

 
 

By Chandran Nair

The World Post

Avid Kumar runs a four-person business painting the exteriors of high-rise towers in Kolkata, the capital of India’s West Bengal state. Painting a building typically earns him around 10,000 rupees — about $145 — far more than he could earn by taking on many smaller projects. Even so, he cannot afford proper safety equipment for himself and his team.

Avid was born in Kolkata after his parents moved there from the state of Bihar, West Bengal’s western neighbor. He was raised and still lives in one of the city’s many slum districts. His first job was carrying live chickens to a market on a bicycle. But as the rising popularity of Western-style supermarkets cut demand at the market, he switched to painting when he was 19. Although he relies on his personal connections with staff at the huge property companies that manage the blocks, his biggest worry is getting paid on time.

Kolkata, India | Photographer: Dripta Guha Roy

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“The Other Hundred” is a series of unique photo book projects aimed as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists by telling the stories of people around the world who are not rich but whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated.

The second edition of “The Other Hundred” focuses on the world’s everyday entrepreneurs. The book offers an alternative to the view that most successful entrepreneurs were trained at elite business schools. Here are people who have never written a formal business plan, hired an investment bank, planned an exit strategy or dreamt of a stock market floatation. Find out more about the upcoming third edition, “The Other Hundred Educators,” here.

 
 

The Other Entrepreneurs: The Resilient Farmers of Timor-Leste

 
 

By Chandran Nair

The World Post

Maria Fatima is the chief of Maudemo, a village in Timor-Leste where life has long centered on small-scale farming.

“Farmers are important, because they are the ones who provide food for the other people,” she says. “If there are no farmers, there will be no food.”

But with output from village farms facing rising competition from cheap, factory-processed foods, Maria spends much of her time helping her community look for ways of producing better tasting, higher-value food both for them to eat themselves and sell in nearby markets.

The villagers have had some success with snails. Long considered nothing more than a pest, they now collect and prepare them in a way that they can be eaten. Treatment of cassava is also undergoing a rethink. Long the third most important source of calories after rice and maize for people in tropical regions, traditionally villagers would just peel it, boil it and then eat it. Now, says Maria, they prepare it into chips that are both tastier and retain more nutrients.

These photographs are drawn from a series commissioned by Oxfam Australia, which is working with local partners in Timor-Leste to reduce hunger and malnutrition.

Maudemo, Timor-Leste | Photographer: Rodney Dekker

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“The Other Hundred” is a series of unique photo book projects aimed as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists by telling the stories of people around the world who are not rich but whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated.

The second edition of “The Other Hundred” focuses on the world’s everyday entrepreneurs. The book offers an alternative to the view that most successful entrepreneurs were trained at elite business schools. Here are people who have never written a formal business plan, hired an investment bank, planned an exit strategy or dreamt of a stock market floatation. Find out more about the upcoming third edition, “The Other Hundred Educators,” here.

 

Book showcases 100 humble entrepreneurs with 'heart'

 

Yahoo! Finance 

The conventional view of entrepreneurs is that they are heroic millionaires. Words like “businessman” and “finance” and “statistics” may come into mind — all of which can seem pretty mundane and meaningless to the man on the street.

“The Other Hundred Entrepreneurs” is a unique book that turns that stereotypical view on its head. Helmed by Chandran Nair, the project portrays the inventiveness and ingenuity that ordinary entrepreneurs from around the world bring to bear as they find the means to support themselves, their families and communities.

In other words, it shows the “heart” of the entrepreneur. The humble background of these entrepreneurs proves that one does not have to be rich and famous to be noteworthy.

The book looks at 100 ordinary people from 95 countries, all of whom contribute to maintaining the global economy and creating jobs.

Here are some of the interesting profiles featured in the book:

ASIA — Orchard Road, Singapore

 Allan Lim, 42, founder of Comcrop, Singapore (Photo: Richard Koh/The Other Hundred)

Allan Lim, 42, founder of Comcrop, Singapore (Photo: Richard Koh/The Other Hundred)

Allan lim, 42, is the founder of Comcrop, an urban farm spread across a 6,000-square-foot roof-top on Singapore’s downtown Orchard Road.

Comcrop, a social enterprise, uses “aquaponics” – a system of hydroponics – the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid with the use of nutrients – that uses broken down bio-waste from fish and aims at recreating the eco-system of a freshwater lake.

The farm’s output includes a range of herbs and vegetables, including basil, peppermint, spearmint, and several varieties of tomatoes.

Allan, who is also CEO and co-founder of Alpha Biofuels, a bio-diesel business, and co-founder of The living! Project, a collective of artists, social innovators and designers graduated from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University in 1999 with a degree in engineering.

Comcrop’s staff include two young Singaporeans, one a recent graduate and another about to begin her university studies, helped by a group of local senior citizens who help with harvesting and packing.

AMERICA — Buenos Aires, Argentina

 Dani with one of a half-made pair of shoes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Photo: Anatol Kotte/The Other Hundred)

Dani with one of a half-made pair of shoes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Photo: Anatol Kotte/The Other Hundred)

Nearly six decades ago, in 1955, on a small street in Buenos Aires’ Palermo district, Felix Correa founded Calzados Correa, a maker of men’s shoes. He opened a workshop, hired the best argentine, Spanish and Italian craftsmen he could find, then started selling the shoes they made by walking up and down the streets of his neighbourhood, knocking on doors in search of customers.

Slowly, his reputation grew. “You are going to be the best craftsman ever,” his customers told him. “We will still wear your shoes when you are gone.”

Felix spent much of his free time outdoors, with football a particular passion. In 1992, in the middle of a game, he had a heart attack and died. His son, Dani, then 32, inherited the business. As a boy, Dani had spent all his hours after school sitting alongside his father, watching and learning. He promised to run Correa with the same passion and spirit as his father.

Today, Correa employs a dozen staff. A pair of its off-the-shelf shoes takes around two weeks to make and sells for around US$350. Although Dani continues only to make men’s shoes, his younger brother has opened Correa ladies across the road from Correa, a separate business specialising in women’s footwear.

Dani, now in his mid-fifties, sometimes wonders about Correa’s future. “What will happen when I’m gone?” he asks. The answer, he knows, lies with his older son, Juan, now in his early 20s. He understands the spirit of the company, says Dani. “Be creative. Follow your instincts. Be genuine,” he advises his son.

EUROPE — Ulldemolins, Spain

 Maialen, 27 and Andrés, 35, members of Engrama band, Ulldemolins, Spain (Photo: Edu Bayer/The Other Hundred)

Maialen, 27 and Andrés, 35, members of Engrama band, Ulldemolins, Spain (Photo: Edu Bayer/The Other Hundred)

Maialen, 27, and Andrés, 35, are the two members of Engrama, a popular band in the virtual world of second life. From their home in Ulldemolins, a tiny Catalan village in north-west Spain, wearing headphones and playing electronic instruments, their eyes fixed on a laptop screen, they have given more than 2,000 concerts in the last five years.

Developed by Linden Lab, a company based in San Francisco, second life has acquired around one million regular users since its launch in 2003. As well as being a place where people can meet and socialise online, it also has it own currency, the linden, which can be exchanged with real world currencies such as the dollar and euro.

Through their concerts and a virtual fashion store where their followers can buy “clothing” and other accessories for their second life avatars, Maialen and Andrés earn enough to support themselves, Maialen’s parents and her sister.

AFRICA — Johannesburg, South Africa

 Philani, 24, makes a living selling books on a Johannesburg street corner, South Africa (Photo: Tebogo Malope)

Philani, 24, makes a living selling books on a Johannesburg street corner, South Africa (Photo: Tebogo Malope)

Philani, 24, makes a living selling books on a Johannesburg street corner. To attract attention from passers-by, he offers them free reviews of any of the titles in the pile of works next to him. If someone likes what they hear, they can then buy the book.

Born in Kwazulu-Natal, a province on South Africa’s east coast, Philani moved to Johannesburg in his early teens. He says he discovered the value of reading after self-help books helped him recover from drug addiction.

He sells his books – most of which are given to him – for between US$2 and US$9 each, earning enough to rent a flat as well as buy enough food to eat. Although he refuses to name his favourite book, John Grisham is his favourite author.

For more information about the book, visit http://www.theotherhundred.com.

 

 

The Other Hundred Entrepreneurs Featured on Forbes.com

 

By Johan Nylander  

Forbes

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In business schools, the potential leaders of tomorrow are taught that every business project starts with a plan; a strategy based on market research and data analysis. But for most entrepreneurs and start-ups, that’s not the case.

A new photojournalism book and online project by The Global Institute for Tomorrow, a Hong Kong–based think tank, feature 100 unique stories about entrepreneurs from 95 countries.

By highlighting everyday businesspersons, the organisation aims to show the true faces of those responsible for creating the majority of jobs around the world. Although these people aren’t likely to find themselves on the world’s rich lists or celebrity websites, they are the ones that hold the global economy together.

"Here are people who have never written a formal business plan, hired an investment bank, planned an exit strategy or even dreamt of a stock market floatation”, said Chandran Nair who headed the project called The Other Hundred Entrepreneurs.

“Some work for themselves, others employ a few people, still others a few hundred. These are the people behind the statistic that small and medium-sized businesses contribute half of all jobs in Africa and two-thirds in Asia."

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a very important part of Asia’s economy. In China, they account for around 80 percent of manufacturing employment and are estimated to create 80 percent of new urban employment. In Southeast Asia, SMEs make up about 96 percent of all firms.

A global survey published in Harvard Business Review concluded that about 70 percent of those entrepreneurs who had a successful exit – that is, an IPO or sale to another firm – did not start with a business plan. Most important, the authors concluded, was for the entrepreneurs to have “heart, smarts, guts, and luck”.

Here are three unique cases of entrepreneurs from China:

BEIJING, CHINA

Photographer: Robin Mas

Who wouldn’t want to work at Internet search company Baidu , China’s answer to Google GOOGL -0.05%? Song Xin and Luo Gaojing for two, both of whom quit jobs as finance officers to open a snack shop just around the corner from their old office in north-west Beijing’s Wudaokou district.

After mastering the art of making the perfect roujiamo – a kind of meat sandwich based on a traditional snack from Shaanxi, a province 800 kilometres south-west of the Chinese capital – they started testing it on the same people they had once worked with. It was an instant hit, and within a few weeks their shop had become the must-visit place for local IT workers looking for a filling snack.

Song and Xin have now opened a second shop in Beijing, and already have plans to build a nation-wide chain within a few years.

XIAHE COUNTY, GANSU, CHINA

Photographer: Tashi Dorjee

Ma Xiancheng, 66, has worked at the entrance to Labrang Monastery in Gansu’s Xiahe County in west China for more than 30 years. Arriving each day at eight o’clock in the morning, he stays at his stall, repairing boots and shoes for monks and other people living nearby, until six o’clock in the evening.

Labrang Monastery, founded in 1709, is one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most important monasteries outside Tibet. At its heyday, it had more than 4,000 monks. After being forced to close during China’s Cultural Revolution, it reopened in 1980, and is now home to 1,500 monks.

CAUSEWAY BAY, HONG KONG

Photographer: Leo Kwok

Raymond Lun runs his fashion store on Haven Street, a quiet back street just a few hundred metres from the heart of Causeway Bay, one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts. A fashion designer and tailor, after graduating from fashion design school, he worked with a local tailor for six years, then went and lived in Australia for a year.

Returning to his hometown five years ago, he decided to launch his own brand of tailor-made suits and leather shoes for men. The first several months were tough for a “no-name” fashion designer, but slowly his designs and craftsmanship attracted recognition. Now in his mid-30s, his clients include a handful of local celebrities and performing artists.

 

 

The Other Hundred Featured in The Guardian

 

The Guardian 

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, thousands of young women served in the Red Army and partisan forces in Belarus. In the years since, they have been hailed as heroes and role models. Polish photographer Agnieszka Rayss met veterans for the photo book The Other Hundred

 

Maria Antonovna Pospielova Zaskovichi remembers a walk through the woods when she was in the partisan force. “I was surrounded by a pack of wolves. I had a pistol with only two bullets. I climbed onto the trunk of a felled pine tree, crossed myself, and they finally left.”

 

Anastasia Konstantinova Wishnievska was a truck driver through the war. “I lived through a lot... God forbid today’s young people should go through the same things we did.”

 

Galina Fediotovna Tarelko Maladziechna comes from a village in the Mogilev oblast. “The Germans executed communists, so we had to go into the forest. I cooked for the partisan troops; I was young, so others did the fighting.”

 

Elizaveta Ivanonvna Zienievich Maladziechna became a nurse in the partisan force. “My brother Alexander was shot by the Germans in a village near Zaskovichi and his body was brought into the command headquarters. They showed him to me and my sister, but we didn’t say who it was.’

 

Lida Pietrovna Bondar Maladziechna was a nurse whose parents survived the first world war. “If you’re constantly living in a war you finally don’t feel the fear because you get used to it. In some terrible way it was normal.”

 

Galina Ivanova Pagarelava Shchuchyn was a nurse at the Leningrad front, the Baltic front and the Karelian front. ‘”When we took the wounded away we were often bombarded by the Germans. We had ‘death passports’, metal tags with our name and last name to identify us in case we were killed. This is how the four years of war went by.”

 

Valentina Pietrovna Baranova was in the military communications corps, and is head of the veterans’ union in Grodno. “I’m a happy person. My years are my wealth,” she says.Agnieszka Rayss met the veterans in 2011 for The Other Hundred, a photo book which tells the stories of people whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated