From fighting malnutrition to building township for autistic care: top SocialStories this week
When Kolkata-based Suresh Kumar Somani and his wife, Namita Somani, were unable to find the right solutions for their autistic son Kalpesh, they decided to build a first-of-its-kind township called India Autism Center (IAC) near Kolkata.
Through this, Suresh, who is the joint Managing Director at Ratnabali Capital Markets Ltd, the flagship financial services arm of the Ratnabali Group, aimed to help autistic adults and children across the globe living with the condition.
Read their and other such inspiring stories in SocialStory this week.
Last year, the findings of the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS 5) highlighted how issues like stunting and wasting continue to affect many children in India.
A significant lack of accessibility, awareness, availability, and affordability towards nutrition is also not helping the situation. At present, improving the well-being of mothers, infants, and children is crucial to improving the health and productivity of the next generation.
Vitamin Angels India (VA), an international non-profit organisation, is working to solve malnutrition issues among mothers and children under the age of five across the country. VA has been working to build equitable access to life-saving micro-nutrient supplementation and deworming tablets, train frontline health workers, and depart awareness at the community level.
The onset of COVID-19 pandemic brought the issue of ‘migrant workers’ into sharp focus, highlighting the need for a new paradigm of livelihood opportunities in our rural areas–where migrant workers invariably hail from. Lack of jobs, unprofitable agriculture, and poverty is at the root of rural-urban migration in India.
Often engaging in casual employment in overcrowded cities without formal guarantees, and largely deprived of any social protection to ensure basic standards of living, urban migration is merely a process where rural poverty is transferred to an urban environment, resulting in a concentration of misery.
So how then, as a nation, do we tackle this complex problem? Programmes and schemes addressing the problem at the ‘urban’ end of the spectrum are certainly needed, but fail to get to the root of the issue to prevent migration from villages in the first place.
Growing up, Kalpesh faced several challenges arising from autism. Wanting to help him, his parents Suresh Kumar Somani and his wife, Namita Somani, based in Kolkata, travelled across India and abroad seeking proper intervention.
They hired a tutor overseas who guided them through the process of determining what types of interventions could help improve their son's condition. It dawned on the couple that they were fortunate enough to afford the luxury of a tutor, however, a vast majority couldn’t.
Driven by the challenge, the duo resolved to find a solution—not just for themselves, but for the millions of people looking for proper care for their loved ones. They started an initiative to build a first-of-its-kind township called India Autism Center (IAC), situated near Kolkata.
This week, we introduce you to Sakthi Jhansi Rani from Madurai, who completed her education despite being physically challenged.
I am Sakthi Jhansi Rani C. I come from a small village called Valayankulam in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Since my birth, I have been living in this village.
I have not seen my father as he expired due to an illness when my mother was still expecting me. Since then, my mother has been everything to me. My mother, who is working as a daily wage worker in a chemical shop, is the only source of income for my family and for my education.