India's Social Entrepreneurs of the Year

30th Nov 2009
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The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship recently recognized three individuals with significant impact in India as Social Entrepreneurs of the year for 2009. This was the fifth annual addition of these awards and was held in collaboration with the UN Development Program and CII.

The first winner of this award is Rajendra Joshi of Saath, who has been working since 1989 to bring basic services like water, electricity and sanitation to slums across India. Shital recently interviewed Mr. Joshi on TCI – a highly recommended read for an inspiring story.

The second individual to be recognized was Brij Kothari of PlanetRead. Planet Read has launched an innovative program to promote literacy through same language subtitles for popular television shows. Aishwarya wrote about Mr Kothari in 2008 and discussed his “same language subtitling” (SLS) tool. The impact and effectiveness of their method is best seen through some example videos, including a speech by Bill Clinton recognizing Brij at the Clinton Global Initiative.

The final winners of this award are Padmanabha and Rama Rao of RIVER (Rural Valley Institute for Education Resources). Their project is tackling the education problem from a different perspective – through better training of teachers and a more interactive primary school curriculum. Their method has already been replicated in 75000 schools as part of the government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Previous winners of this award include SKS Microfinance and SELCO India.

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