From agritech startups' initiatives to addressing gaps in mental healthcare in India – top social stories of the week
While the entire world is grappling for a solution to end the pandemic, NGOs and startups have been tackling the problems of collateral damage caused due to the lockdown by helping the underprivileged.
Meanwhile, people battling with mental health issues have also significantly risen in the past three months in India. According to experts, addressing the lack of awareness, accessibility, and infrastructure associated with mental health is the need of the hour to tackle the issue.
This week, SocialStory witnessed the efforts of agritech startups and Samaritans, making farmer’s lives easier, philanthropic work for the masses, as well as addressing the gaps in mental healthcare in the country.
Here are the top stories of the week.
The farming community was one of the worst-hit during the lockdown, with issues like severe disruptions in the supply chain of farm produce, and closing down of the local mandis, markets, and transport facilities.
At a time like this, Thane-based RuKart Technologies came up with a solution to help farmers keep their produce fresh for longer — ‘Subjee Cooler.’
The Subjee Cooler is an affordable, no-maintenance vegetable cooler that provides a lifeline to marginal farmers by increasing their profits. With this, farmers can harvest their produce when they want to, and store it for a few days to get a better price.
Delhi-based agritech startup Arya Collateral stood the test of the pandemic, and after two days’ hiccup due to the nationwide lockdown, it resumed operation with accelerated growth and innovation.
In March 2020, the startup raised $6 million in pre-Series B funding led by Omnivore and LGT Lightstone Aspada. It made the startup better equipped to help individual farmers and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) — one of the major entities that Arya serves — at a time when businesses and livelihoods of many farmers are threatened.
Aimed at helping farmers earn a higher income, agritech startup Arya Collateral provides storage services in warehouses near their farmgate so that farmers are not forced to sell their produce at a lower price, immediately after harvesting when the supply is high.
India, in recent days, has been facing a severe shortage of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, and ventilators amid the rising coronavirus cases. As of Friday, the country has reported over 6.2 lakh COVID-19 positive cases.
After witnessing the ordeal of patients, newlyweds Eric Anton Lobo (28) and Merlin (27) of Nandakhal village in Vasai, Mumbai, celebrated their wedding by donating 50 hospital beds and oxygen cylinders to the rural COVID-19 care centre at the nearby Satpala village.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 7.5 percent of Indians suffer from some form of mental health problem. However, the prevalence rate is said to be much more. Further, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) — an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare — has indicated in its report that nearly 150 million individuals need active psychological intervention.
Mental illness is known to have a huge impact on a person’s behaviour, mood, thought process, and overall wellbeing. Since many of the disturbances stem from past experiences, substance abuse, environmental stress, or genetic factors, the affected individuals sometimes take drastic steps to the extent of giving up their lives.
At present, a large part of the population still does not have access to professional help, owing to the reduced number of mental health facilities, therapists, and psychiatrists in the country. Paltry budgetary support and lack of implementation of policies on the ground are other stumbling blocks on the road to strengthening the mental health infrastructure.
Self-made businesswoman, psychologist, fitness enthusiast, author, passionate culinarian, single-mom, social rights activist, global advocate for women and girls, and most importantly, philanthropist, Malini Saba enunciates the quality of using one’s business to serve humanity.
She has helped millions of underprivileged women and children in South and Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, and the US to gain access to life-saving medical, educational services and achieves economic stability.
Dr Saba launched the ‘Anannke Foundation’ (previously known as the Saba Family Foundation) to serve as the umbrella organisation for all of her philanthropic efforts and activities which focus on healthcare, education, and human rights.
Edited by Suman Singh