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2013 iKormi Fundraising Campaign

posted Aug 2, 2013, 2:37 PM by Thabit Pulak   [ updated Aug 2, 2013, 2:40 PM ]

iKormi has come a long way since it's initiation back in 2011. The development of the affordable home-based arsenic water filter and arsenic water test has been nearing it's final stage. I qualified to attend the 2013 Intel International Science Fair with my research and ranked 2nd place in Environmental Sciences. In the International Environmental Olympiad, I won the gold medal. These awards helped propel the legitimacy and promise of the application of this research to benefit the underprivileged people in Bangladesh who still suffer from drinking arsenic-tainted water. 

In the Summer of 2012, when I visited Bangladesh (Read more about my trip to Bangladesh in my personal website! ), I examined many water wells in a village called Rajapur, near Kushtia,Bangladesh. I tested them using my novel affordable testing methodology and found that many of these water wells contained huge amounts of arsenic, which the government had failed to identify. The villagers were drinking the water, and many already displayed symptoms of arsenicosis. I spent the month in Rajapur, and neighboring village Alampur, collecting data using my novel testing techniques, and noting the huge number of homes which had unidentified chronic arsenic contaminated drinking water. Ideally, I would have given my home-based affordable arsenic water filter to these people, but it is still in development and in test pilot. 

Thus right now, our goal is to provide these people with at least a SONO filter, since we have now identified prob-lem sites. The cost per filter is $65, but factoring travel expenses, and installment, the cost will come to about $100 per filter. This filter will be enough to sustain a large family for nearly 10 years. Our target is to help out about 100 families who are in most need in the areas of Rajapur and Alampur, thus the target is $10,000. The money will also be used to continue the development of the home-based affordable arsenic water filter, so then soon people will not need to rely on donations to filter their own water, and can just build their own from home. So far, the campaign has raised nearly $2,000 USD, and we plan on sending out our first filters by the end of the 2nd week of August through iKormi volunteers. I attached the brochure I have been handing out to potential donors below, please check it out! Click on any of the pages to enlarge, or download the whole PDF file below!

The Official iKormi Facebook Page

posted Dec 23, 2012, 7:55 PM by Thabit Pulak

Since the past month, iKormi has had an official Facebook page. As of now, there are 145 likes on the page, with endorsers of all backgrounds. I originally started the page, and controlled the posts on the page myself, but now I shifted over some of the duties over to fellow iKormi workers Kakon and Kanak, who are both working in iKormi Internet and the Arsenic Remediation efforts. Kanak and Kakon are both actively supporting the pilot program of the novel arsenic sensing strips which are nearly 30 times cheaper than current solutions. They are continually posting their experiences and encounters in the page. If you haven't done so, please give the page a like, and check back to the page for updates on what is going on! And please share the page with your friends. The road to battle arsenic poisoning is all but finished.

The First Official iKormi Program @ Kushtia Bangladesh

posted Oct 17, 2012, 4:16 PM by Thabit Pulak

The first ever official iKormi program  took place on the 5th of October in Kushtia, Bangladesh in the home of  Dr. Afzal Hossain. There were a total of 10 attendees, all directly affiliated as iKormi members. Workers from both branches of iKormi, Internet Work, and Arsenic Remediation, were represented. Although there have been weekly meetings concerning the work of both branches over the past 2 months, this is the first ever official iKormi program, in which all members came together and were awarded small honorariums for their work to the organization.  Dr. Afzal Hossain, who is the manager of operations of iKormi in Bangladesh, took to the stand briefly and delivered a motivational speech to the rest of the Kormis , citing that diligence and focus will keep the organization moving. Afterwards, the honorariums were distributed. The whole meeting was attended by myself as well from the United States through telephone. For the duration of the meeting, I was able to talk to the members as if I myself were there in person. The overall program lasted for about 2 hours, and was considered a success. At the end of the meeting, 2  iKormi workers, Kanak and Kakon, took a developed bio-sand filter to the home of Sumaiyah, another Kormi worker, who happened to live in an area with tainted water supplies. The filter will be observed to see the real-world effectiveness of the water purification. iKormi plans to hold another meeting next month in November. In the pictures below, various iKormi members are receiving their honorariums for their work in the organization by Dr. Afzal Hossain (this by no means is a "salary" as this is a non-profit organization, and the Kormis are themselves volunteers)

Muddasir Kanak, a Kormi of both internet work and and arsenic remediation receiving his honorarium.
Sumaiyyah, a Kormi working with arsenic remediation, receiving her honorarium.
Bejir Ahmead, a Kormi of both internet work and arsenic remediation, receiving his honorarium.
Abir Hossain, a Kormi of internet work, receiving his honorarium.
Shojib, a Kormi of internet work, receiving his honorarium.

Alauddin, a Kormi working in arsenic remediation, receiving his honorarium. 
Dr. Afzal Hossain talking to the group during the program.

iKormi Bangladesh
The new rapid arsenic testing sensor method that is being tested with the Kormis of arsenic remediation.
Kormi workers Kanak, Kakon, and Shojib working together with a water sample using the newly developed rapid arsenic test kit to check for arsenic water levels.

Science Project for alleviating Arsenic Poisoning

posted Jun 16, 2012, 10:41 PM by Thabit Pulak   [ updated Oct 17, 2012, 4:25 PM ]

Over the past couple of months, I have been working on a science project, that aims to alleviate arsenic poisoning that occurs around the world, but more chronically affects Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and China. The current solutions are either costly, or require more maintenance than needed. Also these methods for alleviation are not open source, meaning that people cannot improve and built upon the filter without infringing patents. My goal was to develop an arsenic filter that removes arsenic efficiently, whilst being completely open-sourced. Doing vast research, and conducting experiments in my home, I finally developed a filter using nano iron particles that can be synthesized from home. The resulting filter removed arsenic, as well as bacteria in water. I displayed my project in various science fairs, like ISWEEEP, and Intel, both of which I got a high level of awards in. I won first internationally in the ISWEEEP fair, and 3rd Internationally in the Intel Engineering fair. I received numerous special awards, as well as an exemplary recognition by the EPA, the Patrick J Hurd Sustainability award. I hope these accolades can help bring up my credibility overseas to be able to actually implement the filter technology I have had 
researched and tested. Through doing this, lives will be saved. 

In order to complement my arsenic filter, I am currently now working on a arsenic test strip that is rapid, cheap, and easy to use. Current methods involve the use of expensive chemicals (nearly $100 USD) that take a long time to react, and are dangerous to dispose of. My method incorporates the use of the already synthesized nano-particles from the filter, and using their electrical conductive properties to detect the presence of arsenic in the water. I have already conceptualized the method, and did lots of research, and I saw that there is a promise in this method. I plan on visiting Bangladesh later this month to test out my method. Since I will be in Bangladesh for only one month, I plan on reinvigorating this iKormi organization there once again, and training workers there to work also in the arsenic remediation field using my newly devised test kit methodology. This will benefit the affected arsenic people of Bangladesh by quickly identifying arsenic affected areas and promptly providing them with a filtration solution. However, it will also benefit me by providing me with data on how my test theory is working out. Real-life data will allow me to determine whether my new methodology can actually be something that will be successful in Bangladesh, and replace existing methodology. As for now, only time can tell.

iKormi Icon Concept- 8/19/11

posted Aug 18, 2011, 6:58 PM by Shamikh Hossain   [ updated Aug 19, 2011, 4:14 PM by Thabit Pulak ]

The icon for iKormi is as of now in the making. A new icon has been drafted, and has been attached below. This icon will be tweaked to add in extra people, and a computer/technical element in the background to emphasize the power of crowdsourcing, and the connection to technology. Crowdsourcing is a very important concept, and plays an essential role in this organization. Using the power of crowdsourcing, tasks can be returned to clients on the basis of a time, and quality guarantee. This is done, whilst returning a mutual benefit to the worker. Feel free to leave a comment.

Amazon Mechanical Turk- 8/17/11

posted Oct 15, 2009, 8:02 AM by Thabit Pulak   [ updated Aug 17, 2011, 3:34 PM ]

Currently I am working with my uncle overseas in Bangladesh on an online marketplace called Amazon Mechanical Turk. This is a place where one can work simple tasks, like data entry, or object classification, and earn money for completed tasks. The money earned isn't sustainable for one living in the US, however, it translates to a respectable sum overseas, in Bangladesh. I myself have tinkered around with this marketplace, and have earned $24 dollars so far, in roughly 9 days. It isn't too bad, but obviously, it is not adequate for people in the US. This makes perfect sense for those living in Bangladesh, in need of extra income to support their medical costs incurring from Thalassemia. The main obstacle is to be able to train these people in Bangladesh to be able to recognize, and understand how to work these small jobs. So far, there is some progress going on with my Uncle, and hopefully soon my Uncle can lead a team of his own in Bangladesh, and further enhance the spread of the project.


posted Oct 15, 2009, 7:59 AM by Thabit Pulak   [ updated Aug 17, 2011, 3:26 PM ]

An overview of what thalassemia is : (wikipedia article)

 Thalassemia major patients receive frequent blood transfusions that lead to iron overload. Iron chelation treatment is necessary to prevent iron overload damage to the internal organs in patients with Thalassemia Major. Because of recent advances in iron chelation treatments, patients with thalassemia major can live long lives if they have access to proper treatment. Popular chelators include deferoxamine and deferiprone. Of the two, deferoxamine is preferred; it is more effective and is associated with fewer side-effects.[4]

The most common complaint by patients receiving deferoxamine is that it is difficult to comply with the subcutaneous chelation treatments because they are painful and inconvenient. The oral chelator deferasirox (marketed as Exjade by Novartis) was approved for use in 2005 in some countries. It offers some hope with compliance but is very expensive (~US$100 per day) and has been associated with deaths from toxicity.

 Untreated thalassemia major eventually leads to death usually by heart failure; therefore birth screening is very important. Bone marrow transplantation is the only cure for thalassemia, and is indicated for patients with severe thalassemia major. Transplantation can eliminate a patient's dependence on transfusions. If there is no matching donor for a child with thalassemia, a savior sibling can be conceived by preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to be free of the disease as well as match the recipients human leucocyte antigen (HLA) type in order to be a donor for the sick child. 

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