[2020 Outlook] 10 changemakers to look out for this year

This year, health, education, climate change, and other environmental and social concerns will be top priority. And these changemakers are bringing their A-game to drive us to betterment.

From health to education, green covers, and natural resources, several social and environmental concerns need to be addressed fast.

During the last decade, we have seen several individuals taking it upon themselves to make the planet and society a better place to live in.

As we enter 2020, Social Story brings you some of the top changemakers to look out for.

Arun Krishnamurthy

In 2007, Arun Krishnamurthy founded Environmentalist Foundation of India, which focusses on conserving natural resources. The 32-year-old has led his organisation to restore 39 lakes and 48 ponds across India to date.

Arun Krishnamurthy (Edex Live)

The organisation has carried out restoration work in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Puducherry, and Gujarat to date.

The cleanup process includes removal of trash and invasive botanical species from lakes, which includes thorny bushes and water hyacinths.

Arun works closely with the federal governments to carry out the restoration works.

Lt. Commander CV Prakash

In 2008, former Navy officer Lt. Commander CV Prakash founded PetBharo Project, which is paving the way for hydroponics farming in India. Based out of Dharwad district of Karnataka, it engages people in soil-less cultivation of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Lt Cdr CV Prakash

He has taught more than 10,000 students to grow crops under this methodology. The former naval officer conducts workshops and also has a three-month residential course aimed at teaching people to grow more than 40 varieties of crops right from planting the seed to harvesting the produce.

Ayush Mittal

Based out of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Ayush Mittal is leading the way of change through his initiative Swachh Meerut. The 25-year-old had come up with a model to manage solid waste efficiently along with his brother Akshit Mittal in 2018.

He has successfully roped in over 118 waste pickers to manage around 8,000 kilograms of solid waste generated across 10,000 households from 17 residential colonies.

Ayush along with the waste pickers associated with Swachh Meerut.

The Swachh Meerut model is based on a simple door-to-door waste collection system. Since the waste is segregated at the source itself, the wet waste is directly transported to the composting facility where it is turned into compost using aerobic composting pits and vermicomposting beds.

The dry waste, on the other hand, is sent to recycling units for further processing.

Wasudev Mishra

Hailing from Vidarbha, Maharashtra, Wasudev Mishra grew up witnessing the consequences of poverty and unemployment first-hand. With next to no access to resources, he paved his way to build an organisation, which empowers rural women.

A woman engaged in upcycling cloth into jholas and kurtis.

Founded in 2018, Silaigram, a social impact startup, aims to provide sustainable livelihoods in the rural parts of India. 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.

Manoj Pachuri

From being hardly able to speak English to leading storytelling platform Socio Story, Manoj Pachuri has come a long way. His organisation is paving the way for many others by providing a voice and platform to people, stories, and ideas that create a social impact.

Manoj Pachauri in one of the events as a speaker

Apart from unmasking the journey of social workers and NGOs across the globe working to make the world a better place, the platform connects them with experts and other social impact makers to execute their ideas.

Socio Story has mentored more than eight NGOs and impacted over 1,000 lives.

Samir Bordoloi

There is a huge link between farmer communities and the youth, and this is where Samir Bordoloi is making an impact. His Green Commandos programme, through his organisation Spread NE (Society for the Promotion of Rural Economy and Agricultural Development, Northeast), is training youths to become farmers.

Samir engaging with the youth

Spread NE is a community of low-cost and organic farming advocates who are restoring dignity, agency, and choice of farmers, making it an attractive profession in the long run for the coming generations.

Samir has engaged over 300 youths from across the country as Green Commandos and created a growing network of advocates who support each other to promote zero-cost organic farming in their regions.

Dr Manoj Kumar

After working with the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, award-winning psychiatrist (Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2016, and recipient of the R C Psych Volunteer Psychiatrist of the Year Award in 2014) Dr Manoj Kumar decided to return to his home state of Kerala.

Dr Manoj Kumar

Here, Manoj founded Mental Health Action Trust (MHAT) in 2008. Headquartered at Kozhikode, it is a community-owned-and-led model of care. At the core, lies the use of ‘task shifting’ to break down the role of a traditional psychiatrist and identifies parts that a trained and well-supported volunteer can take over.

Sanjana Runwal

Studying in Class 10 at Bombay Scottish School, Sanjana Runwal is working towards to bring about a positive change in the community and make a difference to people around her, especially Mumbai's ragpickers and cleaners.

Teaming up with NGO Clean-Up Foundation, Sanjana Runwal has been working towards the welfare of rag pickers in Mumbai.

Founded by her brother, Clean-up-Foundation’s initiative about garbage cleaners and ragpickers is spearheaded by Sanjana. Here, she distributes free safety equipment, provides them with food and clean drinking water, and has helped more than 350 workers.

Shanta Garg

An Accredited Social Health Activist or ASHA worker, Shanta Garg has been instrumental in giving a new lease of life to women and children in her village.

Shanta Garg (image: NDTV)

After her training, Shanta visits nearly 10 houses every day to educate the kids and their mothers through various activities. Her efforts were also noticed by IPE, an Indian-International development consultancy.

Moirangthem Loiya

After leaving his job Moirangthem Loiya dedicated 17 years of his life to replant the denuded land in Punshilok, Manipur. The 45-year-old has replanted the approximately 300-acre forest in Langol hill range without any aid or support.

Moirangthem Loiya (Image: ANI)

Even after facing a backlash from local firewood collectors and hunters, the environmentalist didn’t stop. With time and huge efforts to educate people on the disadvantages of cutting trees, he managed to complete his mission.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)


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