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Education, still is somewhere considered of least priority in many parts of our country. The list of reasons can range from lack of financial assistance, lack of facilities and so on. The point is are we doing anything for this? Dev Kumar Verma, who hails from Jharkhand noticed that many of the children cater to the families of coal laborers who were dependent on daily wages. After completing his graduation and LLB along with a stable job, he decided to work towards the betterment of these children. Soon he started his own school in his hometown. However the struggle to convince the families of these children was not an easy task. But his dedication paved him towards positive results. Today, he not only works towards educating the children but also giving them lessons about honesty as many of them were indulged into different malpractices. Starting off till 5th grade educational center, currently he has 3 educational centers with well-equipped facilities and is working towards building a junior college which would guarantee them a secure job.
Talent has the power that makes you reach higher level of success. Arsh Ali, is one such inspiration for all of us by setting an example of how age has no barriers when it comes to following your dreams. 17 year old, Arsh Ali the youngest archaeologist has been working on various projects which includes – discovery of new evidence which connects Ashoka’s Dhamma to Egypt and many more. The only reason that helped him grow, was the passion to read more about things. The immense knowledge that he possess is from a very young age. He was about 7 years old when he came across Cryptology and Hieroglyphs, not only that but he is well versed with ten languages along with 18 scripts. The constant efforts to know more along with the support of his parents, Arsh sets an example for all of us.
Sometimes simple techniques, makes it easier to solve bigger problems but the same is always neglected. Pratik Dalwale, an engineering student helps us understand how natural and minor skills can help us get rid of pollution that has surrounded us.His smart practices includes, increasing the number of trees, also working with an NGO helps him creating awareness and plantation drives. He also suggests that how spraying water on the plants occasionally cleans the dust and pollution that settles on it. Currently, he is working towards a power generation system that may give a decent percentage of electricity used in households and farms. He is also making efforts to bring in productivity in the farming methods which will be beneficial for the farmers. He still tries to convey his skills and methods through word of mouth, students practicing agriculture and environment.
A lot of times, while handling responsibilities we forget the roots that gave us the strength to fight for it. Natha, who faced tough battles in his childhood made it sure to help his people back then in Jaigaon. He started working as a driver in Mumbai at the age of 18 to complete his graduation. His hardwork and dedication were the key factors that kept him going forward. But one thing that was always a trigger, was that, the youth back then in his village kept on moving away to cities due to lack of opportunities. He soon realized how important it is to make his own hometown independent. With the same motivation, he started working towards the betterment of the village and people around him. Right from working for the rights of elderly, people suffering from disabilities, paperwork relating to government services. He also made an attempt to get learnings for the policies that a person can use when in need. His constant efforts where the reason that he constructed toilets for 12 families. In order to communicate with the administrator he was elected as the Sarpanch, which helped him to provide his village with 24x7 water availability. Today, Jaigaon has a stocked water capacity of 4 lakh litres.
Nandlal Singh, a class 12th student from Imphal had always been fascinated towards technology and the way it functions. It was his keenness to know more about these things that always helped him to make new innovations. Right from repairing home appliances to electronic gadgets, he always tried new ways to get the things in place. Things changed for Nandlal when he constructed a robot, JON17, which was the most unique creation. Every component of the robot comprised of scrap materials like emergency lamps, electronic toys, DVD drives etc. The moments of the robot were programmed by the DVD drives, connected to a pair of syringes filled with water which functions as a hydraulic system. The robot can move forward, backward and sideways. Also the head can be rotated left and right, and the hands can perform some simple activities like holding objects, picking objects, etc. Today, Nandlal is a local celebrity in Manipur, as his innovation has been widely covered by many publications.
To notice a problem oriented space and work towards its betterment is something that takes efforts and hard work. One such example is Swapnil Tiwari, a social entrepreneur, rover, inventor, healer, linguist, writer, and founder of 'Livemad', a movement that works towards the improvement of troubled communities. His constant efforts revolves around initiating new alternative educational facilities among people, especially with learning disorders. Swapnil, is a young change maker who initiated several projects like – Pink Whistle Project - World's cheapest self-defense device and awareness program, he conducted sessions to counsel teachers and parents to prevent any form of abuse against children. His constant efforts and hard work has made it possible for many of them to witness a positive change.
A 50 year old, Mumbai resident, Suneet was running his stable business. But somehow he was not satisfied. He always wanted to work for the farmers and enhance the field of agriculture. He finally decided to work towards his desire; this became possible when he met Pratik residing in Murbad. He was a guest professor, where Suneet’s daughter used to study. As suneet started looking for a land to start his agricultural activities, his daughter introduced him to Pratik who had similar goals and wanted to work towards it. Both of them pointed out the shortcomings in the agricultural field and started working towards it. It was also noticed by them that the villagers only cultivate paddy and the land goes unused from November till the next monsoon season. It took them eight months to convince the farmers. Today, Pratik focusses on paddy farming, Suneet works on making sure their farming methods do not harm the ecology.
As all of us follow the pattern of finding a stable job, Sahu too, who hails from Madhya Pradesh joined a reputed multinational company. But sometimes, in spite of having everything in place we are not satisfied. The same was happening with Sahu because it was his passion and love towards wildlife that was trying to hold him back. But things changed for him when he came across the recruitment ad for the Head of Ahmadabad Zoo. He decided to give up his job and applied for the new job and soon was a part of kankaria Zoo. Although the journey was not easy for him as he had to face a lot of difficulties, it was his dedication that kept him going. He introduced open enclosures for tigers, lions, and bears; started a reptile house and butterfly park; and also started breeding programs for several animals and birds. A scheme was initiated wherein citizens could adopt an animal and contribute towards its nutrition and other needs. The zoo is now home to over 150 species of birds and animals.
Dr Arvind Bhateja, Bangalore based doctor is among the top neurosurgeons in the country. Along with practicing his profession, Dr Bhateja has also mastered the skill as a cyclist. A prominent recognition, fulfilling his passion as a cyclist, there was something more for him to achieve. He always wanted to help the patients who couldn't afford, also as these implants are expensive hence the patients have to approach the government hospitals. But due to lack of facilities it's difficult to find a proper solution. Hence, he participates in various cycling events and raises money for these patients who cannot afford treatments.
Surya is a 31 year old Engineer, who belongs from kansaharia – village located near Uttar Pradesh. He moved to Lucknow for further studies and is currently working in Mumbai. After having a successful career, there was something that was bothering him. He wanted to tap on the issues that his people were facing, back in his village. Hence he started working towards eradicating problems of lack of education and also ways to improve the financial conditions of the families. Surya founded a school named Ajivam in Uttar Pradesh for children to obtain education. Around 30-35% of children were from the underprivileged background and the fees vary between Rs 200-Rs 500, based on their financial conditions. Surya’s family looks after the daily operations of the school. The school had 49 students in the start which has grown to 160 students and 9 teachers now. Currently he is working towards opening a public library to serve local communities by providing free and easy access to a broad range of knowledge resources.
Ravi, who is a mason by profession later became a part of a dressed troupe. The story revolves around a baby with a dysfunctional hand. Due to the negligence on the part of the doctors, it became impossible for her to move her hand. Hence he decided to pay for the surgery through his costume acts at the festivals. From Lizardman to The Amazing Spiderman and many more, Ravi raised almost Rs 8 lakhs for 8 different children suffering from various defects. Initially supported by a person, his team grew up to 15 and currently to 65. The man who was born and raised by a daily waged labor parents, continues to work without any gains for these children.
Hailing from Karnataka, Munnesa is a 42 year old BA graduate. But he decided to become an auto-driver when he saw a pregnant women die as she couldn’t get any ambulance or any vehicle. Since then he has been selflessly working towards the betterment of pregnant or physically disabled. He picks up passengers on a regular metered fare, he also rents out his services for a whole day, for regular passengers. If he receives a call or gets flagged down by someone who is pregnant or physically disabled, he ferries them to their destination free of charge. Currently, Munnesa has given over 2000 people free services. He also wishes to have his own auto-rickshaw and continues to work selflessly for the people in need.
Pratap hails from Hyderabad. When he was around 5years old, he was challenged by his friends to hold an iron rod into an open electric wire. This unfortunate challenge changed his life, within seconds electricity surged his entire body causing amputation of his legs and hands. He couldn’t attend school, as he was even ashamed to move out of his house. But his sisters were the source of motivation. With their constant support he gathered courage and soon started using the computer efficiently with his mouth and ankle, write with the help of his jaws and walk on his knees. He managed to complete his education, along with a scholarship from the ‘National Center for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People’. Today he offers scholarships to the disabled students.
Pravin, is an Ex-naval officer who had served in the Indian Navy for 17 years. After retiring, he began working towards the betterment of the children who were suffering from diseases that were beyond any cure. Hence with the aim of bringing smile on faces of these children, he acts as a clown and magician while visiting pediatric wards and orphanage throughout Mumbai. He is also a regular donor and has conducted numerous hygiene related campaigns in schools.
26-year-old Samyak Chakrabarty is the founder of Social Quotient -- a social enterprise which enables a collaboration between consumer brands and social causes. The aim behind this startup was to overcome the shortcomings that conventional NGO models face through a business-like approach, by bringing in accountability, better human resources and technology. He started off by educating school children about the United Nations through a Model UN program, and now he has also adopted Shree Ganesh Vidya Mandir -- a school in Dharavi where he is working towards transforming the learning experience for under-privileged children.
29-year-old, Abhishek Mishra who finished his complete education and successfully bagged a high end job in a corporate company. Even though he liked his job, there was something that was always holding him back. He tried his best to become the master at what he did but in this battle, he realized that he could achieve this only when he was happy while working. He quit his job and decided to take up his love for triathlons. He became the first Indian to complete the 161 km run in the Kutch desert – ‘Run the Rann’, and is currently training for the Ironman. In his efforts to spread awareness about fitness, he started his own company called Tabono Sports & Entertainment Pvt Ltd., which focuses on structured health and employee engagement programs for corporates. They are also a running, cycling, triathlon and sports event management consultancy.
During the first few years of independence a big freedom followed with a grueling task of building a nation for 330 million people. Eminent names from the Indian political system got down to work. Though lesser known now, one of the most prominent personalities in that process was Sukumar Sen, who was instrumental in setting up India’s electoral system as it is today.
From this limited tunnel, Sukumar had to get 176 million Indians, who were 21 years of age or above, to vote in India’s first-ever general elections in 1951-52. After achieving task above and beyond this man is remembered in high regard. The man who had to make the election possible, a man who is an unsung hero of Indian democracy.
Subhendu Sharma used to work as an engineer before he quit his high paying job to start Afforestt, a company that makes natural forests in small spaces using the unique Miyawaki methodology to grow saplings. This allows them to convert any land into a self-sustainable forest in a couple of years. They’ve successfully been able to grow 48 of these forests in over 4 years.
It all started when Subhendu decided to assist a naturalist professional, Akira Miyawaki to cultivate a forest near a place where he worked Miyawaki’s technique has managed to regenerate forests from Thailand to the Amazon, and Sharma thought to replicate the model in India. And therefore started a company that helps places turn into bio diverse ecosystem.
A mere shopkeeper turned a teacher when Rajesh Kumar Sharma, started a makeshift school under a metro bridge where he teaches 39 children from a year, teaching here 5 days a week while his younger brother replaces him at his store.
These children come from a small villages near the Yamuna bank, they are children of laborers, rickshaw-pullers and farm workers. Parents wanted their children to work instead of going to school as they would add to the family income. He argued with the parents and persuaded many of them. Rajesh Sharma has been teaching underprivileged children in other parts of the city too.
When asked why does this he said, when he was growing up he couldn’t afford education because of the poor financial condition of his family. This is what led him to give others a chance at an education which led to the formation of this unconventional school.
As a young boy Chintakindi Mashellam would watch his mother, a handloom weaver, work long labored hours, winding meters of silk yarn on to a large frame, a process that was integral in making of the exquisite Pochampalli Sarees which led to her mother’s body to steer in pain. When he grew up he decided to ease this pain. He Invented the Laxmi ASU, a machine that helps reduce the time and labor required to weave Pochampalli silk sarees, his invention has had a positive impact on the weavers working with 60 percent of the looms use to weave Pochampalli sarees. This has earned Mashellam a Padma Shri Award.
On May 22, 2010, one of India’s worst aviation disasters took place. with 166 people on board, 158 were killed and only 8 survived.
The official inquiry into the crash revealed that the pilot of the Boeing 737-800 had been asleep and was “disorientated” when he attempted to land the plane.
Due to the pilot's unprofessional demeanor with the civil authorities being aware, Yeshwant Shenoy decided to stand against this corruptive setup and fight against it. Ever since he has been single-handedly making India’s airports and aviation industry safer for its citizens.
A dream energy resource named ‘LOCUS’ Localised Operation of Bio-Cells Using Sewage was made headed by Manoj K. Mandelia and a team of five at the IIT-Kharagpur. The product uses a single chambered microbial fuel cell, which can not only treat waste water but also produce electricity in the process. It is unique in the domains of environmental, economic and social sustainability. LOCUS is currently a lab-scale model at IIT Kharagpur, but once ready for commercial use it has the potential to solve the most pertinent problems — water and electricity.
Every week, Dr V Soundarrajan, the head of a primary health centre in the village of Thanjavur district, harvests about 20 kilos of vegetables from the kitchen garden of the health centre, to feed 50 pregnant women who visit it for check-ups. He has been providing nutritious lunch for the pregnant women as an effort to bring down anaemia in pregnant women and infant mortality rate. By the help of sponsors he is able to help provide lunch on a daily basis to women in need.
The physician has also started constructing a children’s park on the hospital premises. Considering these efforts, the health centre has got an ISO certification.
Headmaster, Chandan Kumar Maiti of Krishnachandrapur High School situated in the district of West Bengal, a district that tops the national list in child and human trafficking. This headmaster not only assists his students in every way he can but also helps save lives. Young, hapless girls are married off, to older men in Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir.
Maiti not only takes the girls under his wing to educate and shield them but also waives off and sometimes pays for their admissions and tuition fees. He stands up to the husband and in-laws of the district for his students and gets the appropriate authorities involved to get his students their justice. With tremendous risk to himself, and to the children involved, the dutiful headmaster goes beyond just books, to help students.
Vivek Arora has combined his passion for cycling with a social cause to generate funds for children with special needs at Tapan Rehabilitation Society, Nilokheri. Vivek (25), who embarked on his 4,000-km long cycling tour from Kashmir to Kanyakumari on February 28, reached Kanyakumari on March 31st. Vivek cycled up to 120 km per day and met cyclist groups and communities along the way.
“I wanted to do something for the children living there, so I decided to tour the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,” he said. Vivek has done MBA from IIM, Calcutta, has set a goal of raising Rs 2 lakh for these children.
Rajendra Singh and his organization, the Tarun Bharat Sangh, have dedicated themselves totally to rural development with environment care and protection for the last 21 years.
In 1984, he left his job and dedicated himself to rural development. He formed the Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) and, together with four of his companions, began organizing villagers for the repair and deepening of old rainwater storage tanks.
To fulfil the needs of the villagers, Rajendra Singh started rural development and employment generation activities in 1985 in Gopalpura village through water conservation. He played a catalyzing role in the building of 8600 rainwater storage tanks in 1058 villages spread over 6500 sq km in nine districts of Rajasthan.
A specially-abled sportsman Jitendra 26, a resident of a remote village in Lalitpur, does not let hold himself back from achieving what he isn’t capable of despite the lack of government support. Jitendra is India’s first disabled basketball player from such a remote area.
Jitendra spend his average Sunday leaving his hometown in Uttar Pradesh to hit the court and practice wheelchair basketball and comes back home to a living room lined with trophies he has earned. He began playing, he was selected for a national team and travelled to Delhi for his first championship, and continued on to play in other tournaments from then on
He is determined to create a name for himself in the sport, irrespective of the government’s role in providing the support required to make the path more accessible.
Colin Gonsalves is the dedicated to serving India relentlessly by voicing issues of the poor, destitute and those less fortunate. The Indian human rights lawyer has been awarded the 2017 Right to Livelihood Award.
Through his brave endeavors and innovative use of public interest litigation, he has always held India’s government to account.
Rajesh Naik is the man who transformed 120 acres of barren land into a self-sufficient organic farm by developing a 50 feet lake on two acres of the land. Naik was determined to convert the fallow land into something useful. In spite of criticism from family members and friends he did not give up and continued to work on the land. Today, the lake generates 40,000 litres of water which irrigates the whole land. The farm is now one of the largest organic farms in the area and produces various fruits and vegetables like mangoes, haldi, pepper, bananas, cashew nuts, etc.
Shirish Apte has successfully rejuvenated a traditional water system in Maharashtra. Caught in between the landlords and the state government, the Malguzari tanks were left to die many years ago. Shirish Apte decided to change the situation and, since 2008, he has been successfully rejuvenating these tanks. His efforts and hard work have made the district administration restore 21 more such tanks. This project has helped many local people get employment, the irrigation output has increased in the area, the farmers have reduced the use of fertilizers in the farms and, above all, you now get to witness a great sight as many animals come and quench their thirst at these tanks
He started his career as a cook but soon realized his love for cook stoves and innovations. His DEEP Chulha helps users to improve fuel efficiency by as much as 50%. Apart from creating DEEP Chulha amazing stove that is helping the rural community at large, Sharma is also working with the elderly people in his area by running around 34 elders’ Self-Help Groups
When ordinary people bring about change, we cannot afford to miss out on this man. Jadav Peyang is the one who single-handedly converted a washed out land into a 1,360 acre forest. He started planting bamboo saplings when he was 16 years old. Today he is 47 and lives in his own forest, which is now also home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, over 100 deer and rabbits, besides apes and several varieties of birds, including a large number of vultures.
On a hot sunny day in June 2003, Ebix Inc’s CEO, Robin Raina, walked up to the roof of his 5-floor office building in Noida, India. Once there, his eyes fixated on the squalid slums, choked drains, and abject poverty all around him, standing in stark contrast to the sky-rises. That day, Robin Raina decided to turn his life around and work for the poorest of the poor. He set up the Robin Raina Foundation in 2003. And in just five years, the foundation has adopted over 3,500 underprivileged children, is running multiple schools across the country, an orphan home in Mumbai, medical ambulances in Delhi, a cancer hospital ward in Pakistan and is building over 6000 concrete homes free of cost for the slum dwellers of Bawana in Delhi!. Out of a total of 6000 homes, the foundation has finished building and allocating over 2304 homes already.
Ravi Katapady, a daily-wage labourer who collects money for underprivileged children in need of corrective surgery in the temple town of Udupi. This he does by painting his body and donning different ‘Vesha’ during the grand celebration of Sri Krishna Janmashtami every year in the temple town. While his effort deserves applause of its own, his costumes are worthy of praise in themselves. From Lizardman of The Amazing Spiderman to characters from Mummy Returns, Ravi went on to raise almost ₹8 lakhs in total, for eight different children suffering from varying ailments in 2015 and 2016, with people willing to donate from Mumbai and as far as Dubai. Initially supported by a person, his team of helpers slowly grew to 15 and subsequently became 65 in three years. The selflessness that Ravi displays is beyond appreciation. For those whom he has given a new lease of life, he is nothing less of a god, and for others, he is the local superhero.
Girisha was attempting to fix an electric plug but was instantly electrocuted. He lost sensation in both the hands, and it further resulted in the loss of hand function. The doctors had to amputate his right hand, and Girisha had to stay away from school for almost eight months. Within a few weeks of amputation of his right hand, Girisha had to undergo nine reconstructive surgeries on his left hand to bring the bones and nerves back into the regular functioning and help them recuperate. But by the time he appeared for his Class 11 exams, he was able to write with his left hand. In 2010, he took up a job with Railways, with an aim to crack the Civil Services. He succeeded in the second attempt and became an officer in the Andhra Pradesh cadre of the Indian Administrative Service. Our dreams begin to end the day we surrender ourselves to fate, become faint-hearted and lose hope. PS Girisha’s story offers an unblinking view of his commitment and determination, which certainly helped him transcend his disability
Born into a poverty-struck family, Manikandan’s mother used to roll incense sticks to support the family and his father is a carpenter. Unfortunately, poverty was not to be the only obstacle he would have to face. He fell victim to polio as a young boy in school. But he didn’t it stop from his pursuing his passion — rock climbing. Although Manikandan’s parents knew that he liked rock climbing, they were shocked and angry when he told them that he wanted to become a professional climber. But the determined young boy persevered, following an exhaustive regime for 10 years to become a better climber. And better he did become. In 2012, Manikandan won a gold medal in the IFSC Paraclimbing World Championship, held in the Bercy stadium in Paris. There was no looking back for him after that. Today, he is India’s only para-climbing world champion and has won 11 international medals. He is now eyeing a medal at Tokyo 2020.
His love for cars started when he was just a young boy of 10. Even a terrible car accident in 2012, which paralyzed him from the chest down, did not deter the now 29-year-old Eric Paul. His latest record in the Limca book of records was for driving across the breadth of India – from Arunachal Pradesh’s Tezu to Gujarat’s Koteshwar. This was part of his campaign ‘Accessible India’, to make the nation a more accessible place for Divyangs (persons with disability). His first ever expedition, in November 2015, was to undertake the Golden Quadrilateral road task of the Limca Book, where he drove to five metropolitan cities. Starting his trip from Delhi, he drove to Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata and all the way back to the national capital. Including night rests, he managed to complete his 6,000 km trip in less than seven days to set the record in his hatchback! Later, in June 2016, Eric embarked on his second expedition. From Leh to Kanyakumari. He considers that one his most challenging journey so far. Despite several hardships due to severe weather conditions, he successfully covered 3,917 km in a record time six days, 15 hours. His latest record in the Limca book of records was for driving across the breadth of India – from Arunachal Pradesh’s Tezu to Gujarat’s Koteshwar. This was part of his campaign ‘Accessible India’, to make the nation a more accessible place for Divyangs (persons with disability).
In a heart-warming story coming out of Odisha, Jalandhar Nayak, a 45-year-old tribal man from the village of Gumsahi in Kandhamal district, worked in grueling eight-hour shifts every day for two years to single-handedly construct an 8-km-long stretch of road through hillocks to Phulbani town. He plans to extend it by another 7 km in the next three years. What prompted Nayak to undertake this herculean task? As someone who never enjoyed access to education, the man wants to ensure that his three sons are not deprived of the same. To reach their school in Phulbani town, however, children had to cross these hillocks, which was both time-consuming and difficult. Nayak sells vegetables for a living, but the sight of his children undertaking that arduous journey pushed him to the extreme effort. In response to his children needs, he picked up the hammer and chisel and went to work on constructing a shorter route between his village and the town. Fortunately, the local district administration took notice of his efforts after local Odia publications reported his herculean feat. “Nayak’s effort and determination to cut mountains to build a road left me spellbound. He will be paid under the MGNREGS scheme for all the days he has worked,” said district collector Brundha D.
This story celebrates the life of Major Prateek Mishra – who lost his life in 2005. It is the story of his undying commitment to the nation, it is also the story of a friendship that endured long after. Major Prateek Mishra who served in the armed forces, was commissioned into the 7 Dogra Regiment. On 8 October 2005 parts of India and Pakistan were left devastated by a high-intensity earthquake. At that time, Major Prateek was posted in Uri and He was the commander of the post when the earthquake hit during which a concrete structure collapsed on him as he was getting out.” One of Major’s closest friends was his boyhood companion, Vijay. Having grown up together, both boys dreamt of joining the armed forces together. While Major Prateek cleared the examinations, Vijay was unable to. In the excitement of their youth, they made a promise to each other – if something were to happen to any of them, the other would ensure that the parents were taken care of. After Major’s death, Vijay not only honored that promise but continues to do so to this day. Vijay moved into my parents’ house 13 years ago and continued to live with them. Today he is married and has children of his own, but he still lives with them.
In 2008, Dolwani, an M-tech from BITS-Pilani, decided to quit a career that spanned the IT and BPO sectors to set up his own company B2R (Business to Rural). It always troubled Dolwani when he saw the youth questioning why they needed to educate themselves when they had no opportunity to use the education. By September 2009, Dolwani and co-founder R. Venkatesh Iyer had started the first center in Orakhan, Uttarakhand, with 20-odd employees. The company got its funding in February 2010 and growth post this was rapid. In two years, B2R had four centers doing back-end work for clients spread as far as the United States and employing close to 150 people. At a typical Centre of B2R, young women and men work together in close proximity, sitting next to each other and chatting freely— something that is alien to the culture of the region. Local women aged 22-25 started working for the first time and became important earning members of the family. The fringe benefits of B2R’s journey is what gladdens the hearts of its promoters. All these youngsters who would otherwise have headed to cities are earning and contributing to their own environment.
Harsh is a multidisciplinary visual artist from Pune, and an alumnus of Industrial Design Centre (IDC), IIT Bombay where he studied Applied Art and Visual Communication. Harsh’s foray into the field began with graphic novels, of which the first one was published in the US and had received international acclaim and several accolades in 2007. Besides, he has also essayed the role of an art director for various animation and gaming projects. In 2012, he organized a gathering in Pune that brought together artists from across the country to bring colors and meaning to the otherwise drab public spaces in the city, and this collaboration went on to become the Pune Street Art project. Every mural work that he has done is a reflection of the space and its people. Most of his works are hugely inspired by Indian mythology and spiritual sciences One has to visit the premises to behold the magnanimous mural stretching over 320x7m. Laced with metaphors throughout, one can find episodes from the history of the city that have been ichnographically laid out.
India achieved its highest ever medal tally at a World Para Athletics Championship in the 2017 edition of the event in London with five medals—one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. The proudest moment, however, was when para-athlete Sundar Singh Gurjar, an Indian Paralympic Javelin thrower, shot putter and discus thrower won the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw F-46 event, beating the best in the world by a considerable distance with an effort of 60.86m. The throw marked a personal best for the Indian.
Pune zilla parishad's (ZP) freshly appointed chief executive officer (CEO) Suraj Mandhare would rather trade garlands for books. Barely a week into office, he shot off a circular to all the heads of departments (HoDs) on Tuesday, insisting that they should not accept any garland or flower bouquet from citizens during their official tours or at their respective offices. If the people indeed wanted to show their gratitude towards the visiting officers, Mandhare suggested they gift those books instead. “The flower bouquet is nothing but a waste of money; they are also costly. People give it just to show gratitude. We do not want to hurt the sentiments of the citizens who gift bouquets, but replacing them with books would convey a stronger and more positive message. The change in tradition will also help in increasing reading habits among officers, which has become rare now.’ Mandhare has also issued circulars addressing all the HoDs (Head of Departments) insisting they do not accept flowers or garlands from citizens either or their official tours or in the office. He believes that if people genuinely want to show their gratitude to the government officers, books would be a more suitable gift. Mandhare has appealed to citizens to erase the notion that government officials must be felicitated for doing their duties.
Ashok Sangle quit studies after Class 10, because of weak eyesight. To make ends meet, he decided to set up a small electronics shop. However, he also realized that he wanted to continue playing the flute. He worked it into his schedule and began to practice for at least 7 hours on a daily basis. The strenuous work hours didn’t bother Ashok because that was something he wanted to do.’ In 1990, he underwent a cataract operation, and in 1994, he refused to give up and eventually went on to perform at the local level. Apart from the flute, Ashok also plays the mouth organ player, and when he was in his 20s, Dilroop Swami taught him how to play the Sitar. Ashok can even sketch—some of his sketches date back to 1960s. While his journey has had several disastrous moments and transitions, Ashok never gave up. “I will play the flute forever and encourage everyone to do what they feel strongly about because nothing fuels the spirit like the passion” advises Ashok
Desai, a former marine engineer and a management professor, had spent the better half of September that year (2010) trying to convince his colleagues to not disown him for what they called an 'outrageous' idea.
Sharad Patel, a farmer’s son from Mirzapur in the Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh, was supposed to acquire a degree and settle for a well-paying job to support his family. However, he took a different path and decided to help thousands of homeless people who are forced to beg on the streets of Lucknow. In 2014 Sharad filed an RTI application with the Government of Uttar Pradesh to understand its efforts for the welfare of beggars. He chose areas in the city that had a dense population of beggars, but building trust and establishing a rapport with the community was tough. Sharad began with ration cards, which entitle poor people to buy wheat, rice, sugar, and kerosene oil at subsidised rates from government shops. He negotiated with the authorities who agreed to make ration cards for hundreds of beggars even though they had no address proof, which is otherwise mandatory. The move infused a sense of belief in the beggars, and the community started approaching Sharad for their cards. He also managed to help 400 beggars to take possession of government houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna scheme. Sharad is now interacting with the local municipal corporation for the identity cards of these beggars, which will help them in getting Adhaar Cards. Sharad has submitted a charter of demands to the government, which specifically asks for a proper shelter home for at least 200 beggars in Lucknow. Under his guidance, 22 beggars have stopped begging and have started working. That’s some way of turning things around!
Sunil Sharma's incredible story has its origins in the scenic mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh. The earliest memory of a race Sunil has is one from school, in which he ran a kilometer or two for which the prize for the race was Rs 2. In 2012, Sunil started his ongoing affair with long-distance running. While Sunil was pursuing his Master’s Degree at the Punjab University in Chandigarh, he and a few friends ran an NGO, which provided blood free of cost to the needy. Apart from donating blood, the NGO also took care of treatment expenses of poor patients. Sunil wanted to prove that one can donate blood without any fears, even if one ran 40-50 kilometers a day. Combining his passion for running with his drive to help others, Sunil began to conceptualise events that centered on socially relevant causes. Sunil started a Facebook page, titled "Run 4 Social Cause". With this idea, Sunil has since organised and participated in several notable runs. The big dream, Sunil says, it to start running in China, carry on to India and end in Pakistan. Sunil also wishes to run from Gangotri to Kolkata, along the banks of the Ganges, in an attempt to save the rivers. But above all, he hopes his example motivates people to donate blood regularly to save more lives.
Better care for India’s growing elderly population has become a serious concern for policymakers. The country’s poor record in taking care of its elders (defined as anyone above the age of 60) is reflected in Global Age Watch Index, published by Help Age International, a global NGO dedicated to the welfare of old people. Vedaant Aggarwal, the son of a Delhi-based entrepreneur and primary school teacher, and a class XII student in Modern School, Vasant Vihar, offers a solution. Already a CEO at the age of 17, he is heading a start-up called Our Health Mitr (OHM) Healthcare Services - an innovative healthcare solutions provider that uses a high-tech, high-touch approach to in-home healthcare services. As per his profile, it offers proactive healthcare for family, especially elderly & family of people working away; routine and emergency medical care services from trusted, highly-trained professionals; routine health checks; high-tech tracking of all health records and vitals; diligent and transparent record-keeping of all health checks, medical history, as a ready reckoner; 24×7 medical emergency services; and importantly, an emotional connect with family, especially lonely elders through its dedicated Health Mitrs and its one-of-a-kind social network. His plan is to pursue a degree in the United States from a reputed business school. What about his start-up? “I am currently building the app interface for OHM,” he says.
24 years old musician TA Kiran gave his first Carnatic music performance in Thrissur in Kerala recently. The concert was special because Kiran is blind and has cerebral palsy. Encouraged by his mother, Kiran graduated in music by writing exams with the help of scribes. In carnatic music, one has to coordinate using the hand along with singing, which is quite difficult for those with cerebral palsy. But Kiran did not give up. Since he was also blind, he learned by heart his song lessons, which helped him to improve his memory and ability to recreate. Kiran is looking forward to get a Ph.D in music and a government job.
For the nomadic community of Narikuravars in Tamil Nadu, the only mode of livelihood comes from selling beads on streets or worse, begging. However, one young boy’s perseverance in making the world a better place for his community has not just earned him the tag of being the flag bearer of the Narikuravars, but also the nomination for this year’s International Peace Prize for Children. Life had something else in store for the 12-year-old named Sakthi Ramesh. In 2014, when the opportunity came knocking in the form of an intervention by a non-profit organisation, little did Sakthi know that soon he would end up playing a catalytic role towards the betterment of his community. Hand in Hand India, which works towards eradicating poverty through education, job creation and integrated community development, has a dedicated programme under its wing where dropouts and child labourers are identified and motivated enough to continue their education through residential special training centres (RSTC). . Sakthi soon realised that only with education, would there be an end to their community’s adverse living conditions. Motivated by the visible change in Sakthi’s visage and mannerism, many parents began to acknowledge the importance of education and wanted their children to have the same benefits and privileges too.