In the pandemic, we have learned the importance of community, both in person and virtual. We have learned the power of the collective to create change. Here are several leaders, some of whom are social entrepreneurs and innovators, who are providing support and relief to communities in need in India. Snigda Sahal and Sujay Santra are part of the Meaningful Business 100 – a network of social entrepreneurs making a difference in the world. Action Against Hunger is providing PPE and hygiene kits as well as food. ikure Techsoft is providing remote health monitoring and medical equipment for rural populations. The NGO SHED is working to promote rural education and access to water, food, and sanitation.
Snigdha Sahal, Executive Director/ CEO, Action Against Hunger India
Issue: With an over-stretched public health system, many states are falling short of health infrastructure and equipment. Moreover, lower-income families with no income due to lockdown are at the risk of malnutrition.
Solution: Providing oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other necessary equipment to hospitals, providing PPE and hygiene kits to medical workers and families in need. Also supplying dry rations to families affected by the lockdown and supporting them through weekly phone-based counselling sessions.
Aim: These kits will be distributed through local government and hospital partners in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in both rural and urban regions. Concerned health authorities are a part of this exercise, kits are sourced from approved vendors and every kit reaches medical professionals, individuals and families in need through official distribution centers.
Sujay Santra, Founder & CEO, ikure Techsoft
Issue: The underserved rural community is facing severe case overload, without sufficient medical infrastructure including supplies of oxygen.
Solution: Driven by frontline health workers, ikure is providing home based remote monitoring solutions for Covid positive cases and effective screening mechanisms to reduce the spread in regions with high case overload.
Aim: To distribute 500,000 olfactory screening kits, 2,500 remote monitoring kits, 3000 blood pressure machines, infrared thermometers and pulse oxymeters in rural and semi-urban regions in Nagaland, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Rajasthan in India.
Society for Human and Environmental Development (SHED)
Issue: The pandemic has impacted the livelihood of daily wage earners, both in Mumbai and among the tribal community of Palghar, Maharashtra. Key issues include the depletion of water in tribal villages, lack of awareness of COVID 19 protocols, lack of health facilities and economic support, the absence and closure of schools including the lack of digital resources, the increase in malnutrition, and a deterioration in mental health.
Solutions: SHED supports digital education by providing laptops, smartphones, and internet packs so that children can learn from home. SHED also provides Digital TV in village school with all educational software. SHED provides water enhancement through 1000 Innovative Roof top rainwater harvesting systems in over 15 tribal villages, along with storage water tanks and water wheels for village women. We believe “If there is water, there is a future.” Other COVID related activities have been 15000 COVID awareness and mask management programs, mask making in the villages by SHED, skill development programs to empower the women, nutrition programs, health camps including vaccination drives and plasma camp, sanitizer and pulse oximeter distribution. Last year, SHED started providing meals for daily wage earners, and then food ration kits as well for families and free mid-day meals for children and hygiene packs.
Aim: To feed the hungry and to provide financial and emotional support to families who lost the wage earner during the pandemic, support for Government mission “Break the Chain” by spreading awareness on COVID protocols and vaccination drive. Key goals include enhancing the ground water levels in drought ridden villages for a long-lasting impact and educating young Indians. SHED has provided support for 3 million people.
Special thank you to Paulomi Dhawan, Executive Council Member, Society for Human and Environmental Development (SHED) for providing the materials on SHED and to the Meaningful Business 100.