Pakistani-American Student Entrepreneur Takes on World Hunger
By Riaz Haq
Hannah Dehradunwala, a Pakistani-American student at New York University, has co-founded Transfernation, a nonprofit startup with the aim of alleviating hunger beginning with New York City and Karachi. She has partnered with a fellow NYU student Samir Goel, an American of Indian descent. It's essentially an app and a website that enable leftover food at restaurants and corporate events to be distributed to the hungry.
Within hours of Transfernation’s official launch on October16 in conjunction with The Resolution Project’s New York City Gala, Dehradunwala and Goel had already overseen the transfer of 85 pounds of food leftovers from the Gala event to Bowery Mission, a social institution providing homeless New Yorkers with immediate help and long-term recovery programs, according to USA Today .
“Our gala celebrated sustainable living, and Transfernation enhanced the sustainability of the evening by making sure that any unused food from the event went to those who need it at the Bowery Mission,” George Tsiatis of the Resolution Project told USA Today.
In Karachi, Transfernation’s Pakistani subsidiary is currently in the process of building partnerships with local restaurants to transfer large food leftovers to charitable shelters. Hannah's friends in Pakistan are leading that effort. Transfernation is set to launch projects in Oxford, UK and Karachi, Pakistan later this academic year.
Data shows that vast amounts of food at restaurants and corporate and private events are wasted every day---food which could help dramatically reduce hunger. According to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI) , about one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When this figure is converted to calories, this means that about 1 in 4 calories intended for consumption is never actually eaten. In a world full of hunger, uncertain food prices, and social unrest, these statistics are morally unacceptable.
Transfernation received a $5,500-prize when it won the Resolution Project's Social Venture Competition at the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in March this year. Hannah and Goel are raising additional funds for the startup via crowd-funding site Indiegogo.com .
Here's a video of the young social entrepreneurs ' pitch for their startup: