news Friday, July 31, 2015 - 05:30
  Every year, international social entrepreneur network Ashoka’s chapter in India, Ashoka India, identifies and selects social entrepreneurs for a Fellowship every year. After a rigorous selection process, Ashoka India helps these social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to social problems. Here are this year's 12 entrepreuneurs and their ideas which could change India.   Farm2Food Foundation The brainchild of Deep Jyoti Sonu Brahma, the Farm2Food foundation runs the “farmpreneur program” in government schools to encourage children to create and take charge of school gardens. Training them in technical farm skills, organic farming and agricultural trade, the idea is to inspire children to take up agriculture as an occupation. The foundation also engages with farmers to build their entrepreneurial skills. By 2015-16, Farm2Food aims to expand to 150 schools in 4 districts.   Carers Worldwide Started by Anil Patil, Anil highlights and tackles the problems faced by ‘care-givers’. There is an increasing need for quality long-term care for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Usually, family members or friends play the role of ‘care-givers’. But it is not easy being one, as the pressure on carers is high and they do not have a support system. This is where Carer Worldwide steps in, by trying to create a world-wide network of carers who can create a helpful ecosystem for each other and augment their incomes. Advocacy is also an important element   LeapForWord For those who cannot afford quality education, schooling in India can be a nightmare, especially because of the lack of teaching in English. To help students in rural India learn English and unlock their potential, Pranil Naik has designed a unique, plug-and-play model which democratises teaching and learning of English. From curriculum and delivery mechanism to after school classes, Naik has created an easy atmosphere for learning.   World Health Partners With the public health system in India far from being sufficient for the needs of the poor, several informal healthcare providers, sometime referred to as ‘quacks’, act as the first line of healthcare defense for the poor (read a related TNM story here.). World Health Partners (WHP) identifies and orchestrates the relationship between different stakeholders including informal medical provider to create a robust network of healthcare centers under a common brand name, “Sky”, in underserved and remote areas.  WHP equips informal healthcare providers with further medical knowledge and diagnostic skills.   Adhyayan One of the fundamental problems with the public education system is accountability of teachers and administrators. School-audits are conducted but not always effective. Kavita Anand is fundamentally transforming the way school audits take place to become a powerful tool in the hands of every school. By placing the process of audits in the hands of ‘insiders’ in schools, like parents, staff and students, she is shifting it from a process of scrutiny to that of self-evaluation and reflection. After the review process an action plan is created to chart the course of improvement of each school.   Antarang Even with increase in employment opportunities, the required skills are not being developed by the youth at the same pace. Further, there is a huge workforce of school dropouts and others who have not completed their education. Priya Agrawal is challenging existing career paradigms for children from low income backgrounds. Anatarang strives to break the stereotypes around job opportunities deemed fit for these children and looking at equipping them with soft skills as well as social wherewithal to pursue a career of their choice. The organization works in slums with communities to identify children who need help and make them ‘career ready’.   Youth Ki Awaaz: Responding to the complete lack of young people’s representation in mainstream media opinion, Anshul Tewari has created a strategic online mouthpiece that introduces and promotes the issues, agendas and opinions of the youth. Anshul has paved the way for large scale, citizen-led collaborative journalism in India. Written by over 30,000 people from around the world and over 2000 active writers, YKA is positioned as the go-to space for young people and citizens to share their ideas and opinions with a large, online audience.   Noora Health Edith Elliott’s idea to help improve healthcare in India is by tapping into an underutilised resource – families of patients. By providing skills, awareness and tools to family members who accompany patients in hospitals, Edith is reducing their dependence on medical professionals like doctors and nurses. Built on the principles of user-centric design, Edith and her team at Noora Health designed the training curriculum by shadowing family members to ascertain the kind of questions they asked nurses, and what form of content would be easiest for them to absorb   Education diagnostic tool In India, most of us have been schooled in a system which encouraged rote learning. Vyjayanthi's proposed ‘Assessment Research and Training’ entity will be a high quality center that will promote excellence in student learning by strengthening the capacity for assessments, research and science of learning. The diagnosis, conducted as interviews with teachers and students rather than written tests, is an empathetic process of listening and gaining a deeper understanding of student responses, right or wrong, creating a space for a child to fearlessly respond. This functions as an excellent window into the student’s thought and enables the teacher to target the specific learning issues while designing the remediation for improved learning.   The Education Alliance The core belief behind the initiative by Amitav Virmani is that to improve the quality of education at scale in public schools, the role of the government should shift from that of an administrator to a facilitator and regulator. Rather than starting bottom up and acting as an operator managing public schools, Amitav began by designing solutions at a systemic level. He is building the demand from the government, supply from the non-profit sectors and investment from philanthropists. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Amitav believes a collaborative effort is critical to build the architecture for public school management in India.   Paperman There has traditionally been little incentive for individuals to segregate and collect dry waste for recycling. Mathew Jose has created India’s first trash-funding platform that links dry waste collection with philanthropic rewards, to pique the interest of those who currently are not environmentally conscious, and incentivize an active culture of recycling in Indian homes, schools and businesses. Through a leveraging an existing, informal system of kabadiwallahs (dry waste collectors), Mathew is unlocking the potential value the $4 billion dry waste recycling industry.   Citizens Action Network Indrani Malkani has created system to ensure children in India have access to a safe, accountable and efficient school bus system. Indrani has designed a system of incentives, checks and balances that create a win-win for parents, schools, bus operators and traffic authorities. Under her model school bus system, schools act on behalf of parents to engage operators and administer the system. In return for a nominal commission from operators, the school administers the entire system and employs software to manage data. This allows for better planning of routes to ensure children are picked from safe spots and spend the least possible time on the road.  

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