From promoting robotic surgeries to discussing biodiversity: top social stories of this week

This week, SocialStory discussed stories of how different NGOs and organisations are working on ensuring biodiversity, environment conservation. women empowerment, and performing robotic surgeries.

This week, SocialStory reported on inspiring stories about social activists and entrepreneurs affecting change.

We looked into how biodiversity and ecosystems’ functioning underpins health and economic security as well as discussed the elements of robotic surgeries through the eyes of Vattikuti Foundation.

Here are the top stories of the week:

Married at 16, this tribal woman became an animal health expert. Now, she is a police constable

The story of 26-year old tribal woman Babli Bai is one of challenges and roadbloacks, of determination and rewards.

Hailing from Malaap village in Pindwara block of Sirohi district in Rajasthan, Babli was married off young. She was 16. Her husband, 19 years old then, started working as a ‘pathar gadhai mazdoor’ in one of the 200+ factories in Pindwara where marble, sandstone, soapstone and redstone are carved out into pillars and statues that adorn temples across India.

Babli learnt about a Tata Trust initiative – the ‘Pashu Sakhi’ programme, which aims to empower women farmers across villages in Rajasthan through livestock-based livelihood practices. She found the idea interesting, and in 2017 joined as a Pashu Sakhi in the Centre for Microfinance (CmF), the Tata Trust’s livelihood programme in Pindwara. 

How Project Saksham is aiming to empower 50,000 women entrepreneurs

What happens when a woman builds and runs an enterprise in a family? Firstly, it does wonders for the family, financially. If the woman is a micro-entrepreneur, the impact does not end here. It changes mindsets and perspectives about her within the family and across the community. Samina, a beautician, who resides in Mumbai’s Kurla suburb realised this during the lockdown that began in late March 2020. Her family includes her husband and three children.

Project Saksham initiative hopes to impact 50,000 such women across the county and build a growing movement of women entrepreneurs.

When her husband lost his job, the family of five was left with no income for months. Samina also could not support her family as she did not have the products and resources to serve her clients. She received support in the form of a ‘Saksham’ kit with all the products she needed to restart her small business, which eventually was enough to support the family.

Here’s how Vattikuti Foundation is taking robotic surgery to the masses

When entrepreneur and philanthropist Raj Vattikuti and his wife Padma Vattikuti immigrated to Detroit, Michigan, they made a commitment to share their wealth to improve the health and well-being of others. They wanted to share a part of their wealth with the society, specifically to Michigan, as that is where their business made money.

The Vattikuti Fellowship Program

Thus, in 1997, they joined hands with their acquaintance, Dr Mahendra Bhandari, to form Vattikuti Foundation (VF) with an intention to elevate and promote the idea of well-being among people. The foundation works to improve the lives of people, specifically the underprivileged sections, through medical and surgical advancements, education, humanitarian relief, and social empowerment initiatives.

Why does biodiversity matter to human health and economic well-being?

As most parts of India are facing a severe heatwave with the temperatures soaring massively and another wave of COVID-19 taking off slowly, health and wellbeing take a centre-stage once again. While, there is no silver bullet to address this, the role of biodiversity, conservation and restoration as a key to sustainable and holistic response has come to the forefront.

There has been significant evidence to show that biodiversity and ecosystems’ functioning underpins health and economic security. The rapid degradation of nature over the last few decades can no longer be put on the back burner. 

Ecosystems with its biodiversity provide several life-supporting services such as food, climate regulation, raw material supply, medicines, formation of fertile soil, value for recreation and clean water. Together, they are called ecosystem services. In fact, ecosystem services are critical for human sustenance, development, and growth. This is highlighted in the World Economic Forum’s risk perception survey 2021-22 which lists climate action failure, extreme weather, and biodiversity loss as the top three risks for the economy.

Edited by Kanishk Singh


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