From aiding the families during COVID-19 to creating inclusive schools for students, the top Social Stories of the week

This week, SocialStory witnessed the stories of Sanjay Rai Sherpuria and Anushka Prakash, as well as threw light on India's agriculture ecosystem and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Social worker and entrepreneur Sanjay Rai Sherpuria was haunted by the images of floating corpses in the Ganga during the second wave. He decided to do something to help those families who were unable to afford to pay for the last rites of their loved ones and thus started a firewood collection called Lakdi Bank.


Meanwhile, Anushka Prakash tells us how she built Project Prakash so that every student has equal access to education and why STEM education is important for girls.


Let us take a look at some of these top stories from this week.

This social entrepreneur’s Lakdi Bank provides the marginalised dignity in death

Sanjay Rai Sherpuria

The second wave of the pandemic saw many heartening scenes, but perhaps one of the most stinging of them all was that floating corpses in the Ganga. Many found it impossible to bid their loved ones a dignified goodbye, sometimes due to the prevalent circumstances, and at other times due to lack of financial resources.

With the aim of supporting those families whose loved ones have succumbed to the coronavirus, social worker and entrepreneur Sanjay Rai Sherpuria decided to start a firewood collection called Lakdi Bank. Besides sourcing wood, he and his team of 45 members and over 5,000 volunteers also offered financial aid to those who were unable to afford to pay for the last rites of their loved ones.

Why this Class XI student built a free AI platform for students in rural India to access the best global study resources

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused all of us to be confined to our homes, bringing the routine of going to school every day to a standstill. However, I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity and resources to continue with my education online. 

This made me realise that this pandemic has barred so many students out there in rural India from continuing with their education. With schools being shut, there is no avenue for them to discover what they are truly passionate about, as their schools cannot provide for their education online.  

This is what motivated me to build Project Prakash. Project Prakash is an online platform, built using HTML code, which aims at helping young teenagers follow and pursue their passions and dreams. It contains free resources from the internet ranging across various subjects and includes interest pages with free online lectures, career advice, and classes from major universities like Stanford. 

5 ways to create inclusive schools for students on the autism spectrum

Representational Image

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that impacts brain development, leading to challenges in communication, social interaction, and includes – but is not limited to – repetitive behaviour patterns. The term ‘spectrum’ is used to signify the range of behaviours and autistic characteristics. Children with autism usually show symptoms within the first year, with the formative years and schooling playing a huge role.

To allow autistic children to flourish and thrive, it is important to create classrooms where their uniqueness is celebrated rather than looked down upon. SocialStory discusses a few ways to create inclusive and diverse classrooms.

Outcomes-as-a-Service (OaaS): Transforming safety and citizen services

What if a business tells you that instead of selling smart cameras and video surveillance systems, it offers public safety by helping avert and reduce urban crime and road accidents?

Instead of selling intelligent traffic management systems, what if it puts across the value proposition as making city traffic flow smoother, helping citizens save on time lost in traffic jams, save on fuel cost and reduce carbon emissions?

The list can go on to include public services ranging from lighting, waste collection, parking to even public Wi-Fi. Some might see this as a marketing spin, shifting the focus from the products and their features to the resultant benefits to the customers, which in this case are community operators such as city governments, city managers and eventually the citizens and societies at large. After all, customers have always wanted solutions to problems, not products or services.

India's agriculture ecosystem needs interventions at the industry, institution, and individual farmer level

India is growing at a rapid pace and so is the use of technology in the growing sectors of the country. A major mass of the population is still dependent and practising agriculture as its primary source of income. India has been in a continuous tryst with its farming infra, practices and associated communities since independence. With the sector still contributing around 15-20 percent to the national GDP of the country over few decades, and its diverse and changing needs across its regions, India has been driving necessary and timely interventions at industry, institution, and individual farmer level for its constant manifestation.

As agriculture is a sector that emotionally appeals to the masses, Indian agencies were prompted to undertake policy measures to stimulate industry landscape by improving access to credit and widening scope of crop insurance. Setting up and enabling institutions to mobilise essential agri services and new-age technology production inputs further, empowering individual farmers through incentives like subsidies on input resources across the farming value chain and enhancing their social security conditions.

YourStory’s flagship startup-tech and leadership conference will return virtually for its 13th edition on October 25-30, 2021. Sign up for updates on TechSparks or to express your interest in partnerships and speaker opportunities here.

For more on TechSparks 2021, click here.

Edited by Kanishk Singh


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