Globally recognised Peruvian-American social entrepreneur Cynthia Hellen has praised the work of street papers ahead of her appearance at the INSP Global Street Paper Summit this week.
“Having grown up in poverty, I have seen my parents and family members struggle emotionally, mentally, physically and financially; and endure the inequality and injustice that street vendors, entrepreneurs, hustlers, face on a daily basis, but yet still be able to believe that change can happen,” she said.
“This is everything that makes me proud of where I come from and who I am today.”
Hellen’s perspective as an expert on technology in emerging markets will be fascinating for many street paper delegates. She said that she was also looking forward to examining new points of view at the street paper summit.
“I don’t get up every day because I know I’m gonna make money; I get up every day because I am fighting a challenge, to create cross-culture collaboration, develop socially conscious and sustainable products, devices for low income communities, while educating people on sustainability,” she said.
“I look forward to connecting with stories from others that will question and shake my entire being.”
Hellen’s company, SMPLCT Lab, focuses on creating cross cultural collaboration between communities, designing low-cost solutions for those living on less than $2 a day, and educating society on sustainability.
“There is a beautiful synergy between the work we do and that of street papers,” she said. “Our mission at SMPLCT Lab is to inspire people to be the best they can be, build and support sustainable communities while creating profit. I believe this is what street papers community has been achieving since 1989.”
A journalist by training, Hellen began her career in the New York television industry and transitioned to online media. In 2012, she received a Bloomberg Businessweek and Sandbox Network Fellowship for empowering women in a remarkable way.
Hellen’s participation in the summit has been supported by the US Embassy.
Mike Snyder, Cultural Attaché, U.S. Embassy Athens said the U.S. Embassy in Athens was happy to support the Global Street Paper Summit.
“We are delighted that accomplished American social entrepreneur Cynthia Hellen will join her peers from around the globe for the summit with our support,” he said.
Snyder added: “As the many years of street papers being published in the U.S. and the last three years of Shedia’s presence in Greece have showcased, street papers have a significant impact in helping homeless and marginalised people support themselves. In addition, they have played an important role as the voice of the homeless and people in need.”