[Social Wrap] On India’s new-found love for badminton and eco-friendly Ganesha
The week's big interview was with Pullela Gopichand. Often referred to as the Dronacharya of Indian badminton, Gopichand's academy in Hyderabad has trained the recent crop of top players, including PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. In an exclusive interview with SocialStory, Gopichand discussed his life as a player and coach, and the struggles that led to the formation of his academy.
The SocialStory team visited Indira Canteens across Bengaluru. Some of them were non-functional while others were filled with the hustle-bustle of people and the aroma of fresh sambar. These canteens, providing breakfast at Rs 5 and lunch/dinner at Rs 10, hold a promise for affordable hygienic food in the city.
As part of our coverage of Ganesha Utsav, the team also visited potters in the city’s cherished Pottery Town. The team was elated by the level of awareness craftsmen exhibit in adapting eco-friendly Ganesha idols using clay and bamboo sticks.
In a research piece, we explored the feasibility of cloud-seeding method for increasing rainfall in Karnataka, and what the state needs to do to fight the drought situation it has been facing for the past few years.
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The week was well spent in chronicling the journeys of successful social enterprises and NGOs driving meaningful change. We came across Triton Foodworks from Delhi, championing hydroponics in India. Started by four friends from Delhi, the social enterprise grew 700 tonnes of organic food last year without using any soil. We also wrote a story on Give Me Trees, a Delhi-based trust that has planted over 20 million trees across India in the past 40 years.
Nestled in Kotagiri, a remote town in the Nilgiris, we came across Last Forest, a social enterprise engaged in producing a diverse range of organic products like honey, gooseberry, pepper, soapnuts, black jamun, nutmeg, soap, lip balms and balms among other things. The enterprise provides livelihood to over 6,500 tribals, and is training them in sustainable harvesting and organic agriculture while conserving the environment.
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Stories of individuals continued to inspire us, as we met Capt. Shashishekhar Pathak, a retired Air Force officer from Mumbai, who is making bicycles out of bamboo and building greater dialogue around sustainability. We met Anand Kutre, a mechanical engineer who left the US to make cars in India disabled-friendly. Anand has designed and built Turn Plus, a mechanical device patented and made in India, which can be easily installed under a car’s driving seat.
The week also threw us an opportunity to revisit Jayavel, the beggar who rose from Chennai streets and went on to study in Cambridge. Only this time, we met Uma and Muthuram, the couple who enabled Jayavel in his journey through their NGO Suyam Charitable Trust.
In the coming week, the SocialStory team plans to share more stories of change makers, social enterprises and NGOs. We also plan to bring stories from Odisha, Bihar and Assam and their daily struggle with floods and rains.
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