With start-ups budding across the length and breadth of the country, there is a mood, and rightly so, that one doesn’t need to come to the table with a large...
UnLtd Delhi welcomed 9 dynamic social entrepreneurs to its June cohort last month. Check out their profiles below to know more about the exciting work they are doing-
Jigyasa Labroo & Gaurav Singh- Slam Out Loud
Arts for Social Change is an initiative that provides children a platform to express their feelings and voice their opinions through poetry and storytelling. It brings the art of the spoken word to the classroom in marginalized, repressed and under-served communities with the intention of creating a joyful space where children engage in dialogue; start important discourses in their communities through art; fostering their critical consciousness of themselves and the world they engage with, identifying and crafting solutions for challenges that are important to them; all the while renewing and re envisioning the idea of leadership. change through words. The program is imparted in schools through Jijivisha Fellows in 1 year program -these fellows are selected student artists trained by SOL.
The founders Jigyasa and Gaurav have both been Teach for India fellows. Jigyasa has created student leadership programs as National Student Consultant for TFI, conducts leadership training programs for School of Social Entrepreneurship (SSE Delhi), while Gaurav is also working with Teach for India as a Program Manager.
Monica Pradhan- Treeless Paperworks
Treeless Paperworks makes, markets and popularizes organic and biodegradable stationery with raw materials used such as animal dung and recycled waste. The cow dung is procured from gau-shalas for abandoned animals. She has started with wedding essentials range. Their products are 100% natural and being biodegradable, lead to zero waste . The environmental impact of paper industry is significant, from deforestation to toxic wastes dumped into water and air by the paper industry to discarded paper in landfill sites. As per a study it takes as much as 10 liters of water to manufacture just 1 sheet of A4-sized paper. Currently available eco-friendly alternatives in the market , the price is significantly high under the label of ‘organic’ that even when the public wishes to make the shift, the unjustified expensive nature curbs the mass shift. Treeless Paperworks aims to bring about this change by making their products highly affordable.
Monica is a graduate in Commerce from Delhi university and along with her co-founder Abhilasha have been working on this project for last 1 year.
Siddharth Sudhakar, Dr. Rajat Chabba & Amit Gupta – Swasthya Lehar
‘Swasthya Leher’ is an online platform which aims to solve the problem of physical and financial access to healthcare. The idea is to use a combination of community engagement coupled with technology automation to achieve a highly scalable model that helps improve access to healthcare through the involvement of the society as stakeholders in healthcare by contributing their time, effort and money. On their platform, a mixture of online and offline services would be available- where organizations working on health care can engage and train community volunteers (Barefoot Champs), facilitate digitized camps and providing means for patients to raise funds towards medical treatment. The volunteers can discover tasks, as simple as helping out at camps, spreading awareness, designing banners, or detecting cataract among the public after being trained with training modules which would be available on the platform.
Siddharth Sudhakar is a Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering (June 17). He has worked as a Microsoft Student Partner and Google Student Ambassador. Siddharth believes that technology can be truly revolutionary if combined with the right models towards community engagement, and can be used to drive a movement to improve physical and financial access to healthcare. Dr. Rajat Chabba, is the CEO of Agrasar, a not for profit organization committed to human capital development and social security of the disadvantaged communities in India. He’s also an Acumen Fellow, Class 2015. Amit Gupta has looks after the operations and partnerships. He has been an Haiyya fellow, president of rotary international, and is a lawyer & CA by education.
Ajay Etikala- Organic Ubuntu
Organic Ubuntu is training low-income farmers to adopt sustainable-organic practices to reduce their input costs and improve soil quality. It provides end to end services for farmers- constant training, high quality organic seeds, certification services, diversified crop sowing facilitated by SMSes and market insights so that farmers don’t leave organic farming in between. Organic Ubuntu also provides farmers with a buy back guarantee policy and connects them directly to end customers. They aggregate produce from various farmers, grade, sort, pack, value add and take care of last mile delivery. In the first pilot – they sourced nearly 1.8 tons of organic vegetables and fruits from 7 farmers and connected them to 85+ customers and provided them 25% increase than the market price.
Ajay has been working with farmers for past 2 years . He previously worked with Youth Alliance which creates leadership programs for young people . He has stayed with farmers and understood farming from sugar cane to tobacco.
Surendar Yadav- Self-Reliant India
Self-Reliant India aims to become the “Super 30” for Navodaya schools. They coach top 3 performing primary-level students from marginalized background in rural Haryana and Rajasthan to compete for moving into navodaya schools and Sainik schools. It’s an after school program where the students come to the center for a two hour class. The transportation and cost of running the center is being taken care of by the village panchayat. They are being supported by the Village Sarpanch, they also have the co-operation of the parents and teachers.
The problem that they are trying to address is that students (even the top-performing ones) in primary classes in rural areas are unable to cope up with competition outside their arena as they grow up, leading to high dropout rates in higher classes, low percentage of people going to college and almost negligible percentage of such students employed in the formal, organized sector.
Surendar hails from Rewari district of Haryana. He completed his engineering from VIT, Vellore. Post that he worked as a Gandhi Fellow and was placed in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan.
Sahil Babbar, Ishpreet Brar, Narendar Shandilya & Rishabh Bansal – Samarthya
The core problem that Samarthya is addressing is that children are not learning in government schools due to various reasons like poor infrastructure, teacher absenteeism, corrupt management etc. Their mission is to foster parent leadership in communities which will help children access their rights and improve learning. They do this by equipping SMCs(School Management Committees) parent members with the knowledge and skills required to perform their duties as mandated by section 21 of Right to Education Act( RTE). They are currently working with 238 parent members of 14 SMCs in 4 communities across East and West Delhi.
Sahil, Ishpreet , Narendar & Rishabh have been Teach for India Fellows . Ishpreet and Narendar come from a corporate background. Ishpreet also worked with TFI as a program manager post completion of his fellowship. Currently, all 4 co-founders are working full time on Samarthya
Vishesh Gupta, Souradeep Paul & Pooja Rai- AntHill Creations
Anthill Creations aims to bring back play in the lives of children by creating low-cost and sustainable playscapes from scrap tyres & recycled material and making play more accessible to millions of kids. Anthill playscapes are 60% cheaper than the cost of a usual playground which uses material like steel, wood or plastic. They use recyclable materials like scrap tyres to create beautiful playscapes. The modular designs that they have for different play units are easily replicable and DIY by a step by step process built by them.
Vishesh, Souradeep and Pooja are a team of architects from IIT Kharagpur . They have a good exposure to the field through internships in different firms ranging from a Moroccan firm that makes playgrounds and landscape design firms that design outdoor spaces. This experience motivated them and made them realize that there exists a need to change the play spaces in the city.
Vibhor Mathur, Sanjivani Singh, Aditya Kavia & Tarang Tripathi – Spinwheel Internship Program
Their vision is to create communities of problem solvers in every village of the country, by engaging with students and youth of a community and providing training in leadership, problem solving, project management etc. They create Bal Sansads in schools and equip children with skills to become the leaders of the community of problem solvers. They run a month long internship program with selected interns who work on creating on-ground solutions in the field of sanitation, health, education, renewable energy, etc. with the help of community members and bal sansads. Through their intervention they have seen a growth of 15-20% in the competencies of problem solving and initiative taking in the students.
Aditya and Sanjivani both have been Gandhi Fellows(2015-2017) and worked in community engagement, classroom teaching as well as Headmaster leadership training in 5 villages in Bicchiwara and Udaipur districts of Rajasthan. Tarang is a Teach for India Alum, Co-founder of a life skills training organisation called Project Aawaaz. He is a Masters in Education from the University of Sussex, and holds expertise in the field of curriculum design and formative assessment. Vibhor, the other co-founder of Project Aawaaz, has been working with multiple reputed organizations in the education space for the last 4 years.
Shagun Sethia & Keshav Parthasarathy- Rural Roots
Rural Roots works on creating food processing units with training and employing marginalized women in Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh. They want to focus on producing food products where Deoria has an existing comparative advantage either due to abundant availability of raw materials or existence of products that are typical of the region. Their first range of products is jackfruit and red-chilli pickles which are handmade in small batches using traditional and innovative recipes. They have trained 30 marginalized women in making 7-8 different types of pickles so far.
Keshav has a MSc Economics from London School of Economics and has been working as an economic consultant for Compass Lexecon in London for the past 4.5 years. Shagun has an Integrated MBA from Amity University and has been working as internal risk consultant for Ernst & Young (EY) in Gurgaon for the past 5 years.