What motivates a person to get involved in social work? While the simple answer may be the innate desire to help others, for many, that desire might stem from a personal experience; and for many others it could be the determination to change the world.
Whatever the reason, being a changemaker is not easy, and stirring a conversation or doing selfless service can often go unnoticed and unappreciated in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and challenges.
Today on SocialStorywe bring you the stories of five social entrepreneurs who are trying to bring a change in their own way and adding meaning to other’s lives.
Belonging to a middle-class family, the idea to start something of her own didn’t gain much ground with Anushka Jain’s family. However, she was determined to leverage technology to solve the problem of pre-owned household goods that were not in use anymore, so that they could go to someone in need and didn’t end up in landfills.
Anushka, who was then working with Accenture, realized that the gap was between donors and NGOs – mainly due to lack of infrastructre in NGOs, time or insufficient communication.
To fill this gap and to know where and how materials were being used, she started Share At Door Step (SADS) in 2015, a service that comes straight to your door to pick up gently-used goods and facilitates their donation to an NGO or charity.
The SADS journey started with just a few volunteers and two NGO partners in Bengaluru. Today, SADS operates across 11 major cities. Additionally, it has partnered with 120-plus NGOs, 100-plus corporate, and has half a million users across the country.
Dr. Manju Vasudevan
Ecologist Dr Manju Vasudevan had been relentlessly working with members of indigenous communities – especially near the Chalakudy and Karuvannur river basins in Kerala.
She realized there was an ongoing question of how to create livelihood opportunities based on the knowledge and wisdom of the indigenous tribes.
Engaging with the Kadar, Malayar, and Muthuvar tribes, Manju and her team established Forest Post in early 2017. Forest Post is a network of minor forest produce harvesters and makers of handmade goods including beeswax, oils, bamboo baskets, and cloth bags.
The group recently won the Outlook Sustainable Leadership Award for Conservation.
29-year-old Nilay Agarwal, an ontologist by profession, always wanted to do something impactful. Hailing from a modest background, he worked to be successful in his career before starting an NGO. However, the unexpected demise of his friend made him rethink and not wait on doing things he really wanted to do.
Thus in 2019, he decided to start Vishalakshi Foundation in Lucknow– named after his deceased friend. He started by collaborating with a local NGO to distribute food to people,
In the last two years, his foundation has been able to feed over six lakh people – about 500 people daily – in 11 cities (Delhi, Lucknow, Gurugram, Noida, Ranchi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Amroha, Fatehpur, Banda, and Prayagraj) with the help of 3,000+ young volunteers across these cities.
Natasha Mudhar believes there is a lot to be achieved under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, the UN member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals outlining 17 goals, including reducing poverty and hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, and gender equality, among others. The same year, Natasha was appointed by SDG advocate and filmmaker Richard Curtis – responsible for films like Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary – to popularize it in India.
With a timeframe of 15 years to achieve the SDGs (2015-2030), Natasha took it upon herself to break down the SDG goals into household chatter, and be a part of people’s routine every day, translating into bigger changes.
She had been doing so as part of Sterling Global, a global business and communications consultancy firm founded by her mother in the UK. Since 2018, the work has been carried out through London-based The World We Want, a separate entity that solely focuses on accelerating the SDGs by working with business leaders, NGOs, governments, celebrities and influencers, and philanthropists to curate global movements.
It leverages the concept of storytelling, global collaboration, strategic communications, and positive action to convert awareness of the issues into action.
When young Geetanjali Chopra visited orphanages along with her grandfather, little did she know that she would find her calling to serve them in the future.
Geetanjali with the kids
She established Wishes and Blessingsan NGO, in 2014 as a platform that connects donors with beneficiaries, spreading happiness and making dreams come true.
According to Geetanjali, the philosophy behind the enterprise is simple — many of us have unfulfilled wishes. While some of us are more blessed and can help others fulfill their wishes, in return, we receive their blessings. Hence the name, ‘Wishes and Blessings’.