From creating a sustainable livelihood in Uttarakhand to looking back at the changemakers of 2021- top Social Stories of this week

This week, SocialStory interacted with an entrepreneur who is trying to build a sustainable livelihood for people of Uttarakhand; as well as discussed on building climate resilience and volunteering during the pandemic.

From creating a sustainable livelihood in Uttarakhand to looking back at the changemakers of 2021- top Social Stories of this week

Saturday December 18, 2021,

5 min Read

In a conversation with SocialStory, Keshav Sharma, Founder and CEO of Dev Ethical Sustainable Crafts & Textiles, Uttarakhand (DESCAT UK), spoke about how setting up an industry in the state of Uttarakhand is “difficult and not viable”.

Meanwhile Shradha Khodiyatar, a 10th grade student from rural Gujarat, opened up about how she was stopped from attending her classes following an incident at home.

Here are more stories from this week on SocialStory:

[Year in Review 2021] Top ten changemakers of the year

2021 SS changemakers

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted daily life in 2020. And, the year 2021 was no different. Irrespective of the challenges, people from different walks of life came together to help one another in these turbulent times.

As 2021 comes to an end, SocialStory looks at some of the inspiring stories that you loved to read this year.

How this B2B startup is working to create sustainable livelihoods in Uttarakhand

While working with the Uttarakhand government as a natural fibre consultant, Keshav Sharma realised the plethora of opportunities the region he had grown up in held.

Keshav, 58, who holds a bachelor’s degree in textile chemistry from GCIT Kanpur and a master’s from TIT Bhiwani, says, setting up an industry in the state is “difficult and not viable”.

Descat uk

Keshav with the women of Uttarakhand

He was keen to make his state self-sustainable by using natural resources to create and support local livelihoods.

After using his network to create a grass fibre - routinely used in the region – to create a yarn, he decided to present it at the climate collective startup enclave and was selected for the IIT incubation round. The team went to the IIT Mandi Explorer programme, where he had the opportunity to meet Anuj Sharma from Alsisar. 

In 2018, he launched Dev Ethical Sustainable Crafts & Textiles, Uttarakhand (DESCAT UK).

How these volunteers are helping unprivileged children in times of crisis

While most of us were forced to hole up within our four walls of safety at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many school and college-goers were frustrated as they were not just missing out on their regular studies, but were missing hanging out with their friends.

NGO food

The latest annual survey among volunteers (‘Impact of Volunteering Survey 2020-2021’) finds that 79 percent respondents reported of having a better state ‘Mental Well-Being’ while volunteering for children. Also, 94 percent of respondents reported an increase in ‘Awareness of Making a Meaningful Contribution’, 90 percent reported ‘Contentment and Satisfaction in Life’, and 87 percent responded ‘Things to Look Forward in Life’.

Another visible trend was the significant increase in confidence and self-esteem, as reported by 81 percent of participants. However, more than 90 percent of volunteers admitted that self-development would have been higher, had it not been for the COVID-19 crisis.

Though most volunteers validated that learning potential from the experience would have been higher in a non-COVID era, more than 95 percent of the members agreed that the experience had an extremely meaningful impact on their personal lives.

[Survivor Series] Ashamed that my sister eloped, my parents stopped me from studying further

I am Shradha Khodiyatar from a village called Hunterpur in the Bagasara Block of Amreli district in Gujarat. I come from a family of eight - including five sisters, one brother, and parents. My family depends largely on agriculture for income and has very limited resources.

I am a 10th grade student at Shastri Vidyalaya School at Bagasara. Additionally, I have joined the IBM STEM for Girls project. Ever since the pandemic started, things have been different at home. I had not been able to regularly attend the school or STEM classes.

survivor series

I truly believe in the importance of equal opportunities for girls and boys in terms of education and resources for study and career choices. In today’s world, parents should support girls so they can achieve their dreams and become successful women.

During the pandemic, my sister got married without our parents' consent. My family was afraid of being humiliated and my father stopped me from enrolling in classes so this wouldn't happen to me too. My father took away my phone and also stopped me from playing with my friends out of fear that I would do the same.

Why innovation ecosystem is a must to build climate resilience

Climate risks are only increasing with floods, storms, wildfires, and drought occurring more frequently and with higher intensity. The total number of extreme events have quadrupled from around 200 events in 1980 to more than 800 today, due to one parameter: carbon in the atmosphere. 

Climate change

Emission of greenhouse gases through construction of buildings, cultivation of crops, powering our industries, and transportation has resulted in moving fossil fuel carbon that was below ground into the atmosphere throwing off a 10,000 year delicate balance. In the face of these challenges, we have to be innovative to find solutions. 

Edited by Megha Reddy

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