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The Tamil Creator Podcast (EP #87): Abarna Raj - CEO of Australian-Based Social Startup Palmera (Changing The Way The World Tackles Poverty)
Abarna Raj is the Co-Founder & CEO of Australian-based Palmera. The organization is named after a tree which grows in Sri Lanka and is fundamental to the existence of the communities it's located in because every part of it is used from the bark, the timber, the leaves and the fruit. Palmera is a social startup looking to help change the way that the world tackles poverty by ensuring that the poor having a living income (with a focus on Sri Lanka).
Ara Ehamparam
Co-founder & Podcast Host ("The Tamil Creator")
Canada
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She joins Ara on this week’s episode of #TheTamilCreator to discuss being in Sri Lanka during the 2004 tsunami, why she left being a full-time lawyer to found a non-profit and how her ideology of work subsequently changed, the impact & thinking behind Palmera’s HANDMADE cookbook, how to address the resource challenge for non-profits and much more.

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Timestamps

00:19 - Ara introduces this week’s guest, Abarna Raj
01:48 - How her childhood led her to starting a non-profit
04:44 - Being in Sri Lanka during the 2004 tsunami
07:15 - How the 2004 tsunami impacted her decision to found Palmera
08:38 - Raising tens of thousands of dollars for Palmera
10:23 - Balancing her job as a lawyer and the early development of Palmera
12:16 - Leaving a job with strong income to work full-time for a non-profit
14:05 - The HANDMADE cookbook
16:24 - Is there a non-profit that Abarna wants Palmera’s structure to emulate?
20:12 - Is there a declining participation of developmental efforts?
26:11 - The long-term effects of the war
28:38 - How Abarna remains hopeful
30:11 - The lack of talent in the non-profit space when compared to tech, finance, etc.
33:25 - Incentivizing volunteers; Benevity and more
38:33 - Resources and sustainability being key challenges for non-profit organizations
42:04 - Tax receipts and Palmera’s Australian accreditation
44:35 - How long will Abarna stay in the non-profit space?
46:43 - Was she questioned by friends/family for her decision to enter the non-profit space?
48:34 - The programming side of Palmera
52:13 - Advice she would give her 16-year-old self; the personal legacy she wants to have
54:05 - Creator Confessions
59:24 - The Wrap Up

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Ara Ehamparam
Co-founder & Podcast Host ("The Tamil Creator") | TamilCulture.com
Canada
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