Siyu Zhang, Jan 11th, 2018. Bengaluru, India
Today we had a packed but very meaningful day, where we visited four different NGOs. They are all working on developing a better world in different ways.
The first NGO we visited was called Saahas Zero Waste, where they work on collecting trash and recyclable products to generate fuels and reusable packages. The organization works on three different models. The first model is called service fee model, which they collect food waste and transfer those trash to fuel and runs on biogas, so it can generate power. The second model is EPR, which stands for extended producers responsibility. Under this model, Saahas works on converting waste, including manufacturing waste and energy waste to resources. The third model is to recycle products. Recycling might seem like a day-to-day and common thing in the U.S., while in India, barely anyone has any idea about recycling paper and plastic. In addition, the government pays small attention to recycling. It’s really nice to see there are companies out there seeking to help this problem and bring awareness to the public and also the government.
The second NGO we visited is a non-profit organization called EnAble India. The organization was started in 1999, with a mission of helping disabilities on economic independence and dignity through job training. They now have almost 200 staffs, and some are previous candidates. They first work with people who have vision impairment, but now cover 17 different disabilities, and have successfully trained 11,000 people and placed 5,000 people in the workforce directly and indirectly. EnAble India does job training, job matching and workplace solutions for people with disability. EnAble India also work with other NGOs at the state level (DNA-Disability NGOs Alliance), national level (SCPwD-Skill council for persons with disability), international level (United Nations’ economic and social department, Workability Asia and International). One of the remarkable thing about this NGO is they don’t charge for any job training, but only ask for 25 hours of social works, which helps those disabled people build confidence and give back to the community. Some of the social impacts include successfully integrated persons with severe multiple disabilities into the workforce, salaries on par with non-disabled: highest starting salaries for freshers is 18 lakhs annum. Economic impact includes every 1 lakhs of fund inflow creates an average of 6.55 on India’s GDP. Job placement now covers 27 different sectors, and some of the companies include Shell, IBM, Goldman Sachs, CISCO, Dell. EnAble India is doing really amazing work and I was truly touched by their results. They chose to help the disabled people become economic independence, which is not only a short-term support but also helps them become self-sustained. They are helping the disabled people doing something they’ve never thought of doing in their lives, and bring hopes into their lives.
The third NGO we visited in the afternoon is named LetsEndorse, a TATA trusts initiative which was2 founded in 2015 by Monika Shukla and Varun Kashyap. LetsEndoerse is a website builder and platform for other social enterprises, which to deploy innovative and befitting models for nuanced social challenges using technology and collaboration. To implementing their mission, they use a digital collaborative ecosystem of change-makers and enablers approach. LetsEndorse also uses a Hyper-Local Social approach, which to review the social project at a social and local level. They also created technology solutions called SWAYAM, which is a one-click, mobile responsive, multilingual website builder, SAHAJ, which a donor-base relationship management and nurturing suite, SWAYANTRA, which is a field force/Volunteer management software. Some other products LetsEndorse worked with include Life Straw filtered water bottlesNeo Natalie Suction for newborn. After visiting LetsEndorse, I was really amazed by their work and mission. They not only focus on their own development, but also help other NGOs develop and implement different projects. It’s a very good platform for NGOs to raise fund and collaborate with others nationally and internationally, but also a good way to keep donors up-to-date.
The last NGO is also a TATA Trusts initiative called Social Alpha, which is founded in 2016. Social Alpha is a non-profit organization which provides a foundation for innovation and social entrepreneurship. They help social enterprises access the resources they need to create a deep and irreversible social impact and improve the quality of life especially for the underprivileged and deprived. Their strategic focus is affordability, accessibility and user experience/interface. There have been a lot of startups in India recently and a lot of them have failed due to lack of resource. Enterprises can use Social Alpha as an approach to help them build the foundation and therefore increase the rate of success. Social Alpha particularly care about innovation and social enterprises. They are not here to make profit, but to help create social impact.
It was kind of surprising to see so many NGOs working on building a better society than solely making money, because India is developing and there’s still poverty in a lot of places. I was touched by all these people, and seeing these NGOs and speaking to these passionate workers really bring me inspiration and hope.