From rooting out hunger and poverty in India, to a startup which is making rural Maharashtra women self-reliant - top social stories this week

Mayank Midha is on a mission to solve the country's open defecation issue by IoT-enabled toilets, while Prabha Devi is planting over 500 trees in Uttarakhand to improve forest cover.

19th Oct 2019
  • +0
Share on
  • +0
Share on
Share on

While our country still grapples with open defecation, Mayank Midha is on a mission to solve this issue by its IoT-enabled public toilets.

Prabha Devi, another social warrior, has planted more than 500 trees in Uttarakhand to improve the forest cover.

There are many such heroes working towards the betterment of society in their own ways.

This week, we showcase inspiring changemakers that will make you want to get up, support them, and make a change.

Meet this ‘77-year-young’ retired professional who is instilling a love for Mathematics among school children

For the past five decades, Narayanaswami Iyer has been teaching Mathematics to students of all ages and disciplines, even while being a full-time working professional. He believes age is just a number and everyone must do whatever they can, to make a difference.

Narayanaswami Iyer

Narayanaswami Iyer

Meet the changemaker whose startup is making women in rural Maharashtra self-reliant

Every day, one million metric tonnes of cloth waste is produced in India’s mills and a lot of it ends up in landfills and in the oceans. Using upcycled cloth waste coming from garment factories and decor shops, Silaigram provides jobs to marginalised women who can stitch the material into beautiful jholas and kurtis.

Founded in 2018 by 19-year-old Wasudev Mishra, Silaigram, a social impact startup, aims to provide sustainable livelihoods in rural parts of India. In the last one year, Wasudev, along with his team, has managed to upcycle over 1,000 kilograms of cloth material.

Wasudev recognised the lack of support and resources offered to young women and girls, and started working towards creating a new space in the system to empower them with opportunities. In the last one year, he and his team have managed to upcycle over 1,000 kilograms of cloth material.


A woman engaged in upcycling cloth into Jholas and kurtis.

As part of the startup, Wasudev has also set up a one-of-a-kind design lab that provides women with the material and freedom to design new and innovative products. In July 2019, he was elected as an Ashoka young changemaker for his achievements -- one of the largest networks of social entrepreneurs and changemakers.

World Food Day: how these heroes are rooting out hunger and poverty in India

According to a report published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), over 19 crore people suffer from malnutrition and hunger in India in 2019. It also stated that while 51.4 percent of women in their reproductive age between 15 to 46 years are suffering from anaemia, 37.9 percent of the children below the age of five years have stunted growth.

As we celebrated World Food Day on October 16, the date on which the United Nations established FAO, here is a list of individuals and organisations who have put in efforts to drive hunger away in the country.

World Food Day

Several children across India are suffering from malnutrition

Meet Prabha Devi who has planted an entire forest of more than 500 trees in her village in Uttarakhand

Trees are important for future generations, and no one knows this better than Prabha Devi. Seventy-six-year-old Prabha Devi has planted an entire forest in her village in Uttarakhand. The green cover includes more than 500 trees of different species, including oak, rhododendron, cinnamon, soap nut (reetha), and more, reports Himalayan Ghat.

Hailing from Palashat, a village in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, Prabha Devi took up this initiative in her early years and still continues to do it.

Prabha Devi

Prabha Devi (Image: The Logical Indian)

Speaking to 'The Logical Indian', she said,

“There was a steep increase in deforestation activities in and around our village. People want to construct new buildings or resorts after chopping trees and the entire ecosystem of the forest was getting disturbed. I felt sad to see the forest being mercilessly cut down for fulfilling the materialistic needs of humans. My family had a small piece of land that was left uncultivated. I started planting trees on that land and even around my home. Now, it has turned into a dense forest, and I aim to plant more trees on barren land.”

Meet Mayank Midha, the man who is on a mission to make India open defecation-free with his IoT-enabled toilets

For decades, several individuals and governments have tried to make India an open defecation-free nation, and the work is still in progress. About 600 million people in India and 2.3 billion people across the globe do not have access to basic toilet facilities. In India, of the 600 million, five million belong to the urban slums.

To address the sanitation problem plaguing this nation, GARV Toilets, a Faridabad-based social enterprise, is making IoT-enabled public toilets.

Mayank Midha

Mayank Midha IoT- enabled GARV Toilets aim to better the sanitation conditions in India.

Founded in 2017 by husband-wife duo Mayank Midha and Megha Bhatnagar Midha, GARV Toilets has built 721 toilets in India. It has also made an impact across four other countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Bhutan, and Nepal.

These public toilets are IoT-enabled and are integrated with solar panels, battery packs, auto flush, floor cleaning technology, and biodigester tanks. While these toilets are user and disabled-friendly, meaning they come in Western and Indian style, the entire structure is portable and vandal-proof.

Speaking to SocialStory, Mayank says,

“If a customer like an NGO or CSR group needs only one or two toilets to be built, then the entire set-up can be finished in a couple of hours. Besides, unlike conventional toilets, our toilet doesn’t use any electricity; it's completely renewable. In fact, we have reduced 102.4 tonnes of CO2 annually.”

(Edited by Suman Singh)

  • +0
Share on
  • +0
Share on
Share on
Report an issue

Related Tags

Our Partner Events

Hustle across India