Scaleable social innovations that are driven by passion receive support from Infosys Foundation

The Infosys Foundation Aarohan Social Innovation Awards felicitates and supports 12 social innovations from across India. The Infosys Foundation Aarohan Social Innovation Awards felicitates and supports 12 social innovations from across India.

When she saw a roti making machine, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation and renowned author Sudha Murty thought it must have been made in Germany, but was impressed to discover that it was made in India, and in Jalandhar at that.

Speaking at the Infosys Foundation Aarohan Social Innovation Awards, she shared how the new initiative – Aarohan Social Innovation Awards – was an experience that allowed her, along with a large team of students, to find and discover some of the best social innovations from every nook and corner of India. Passion, perseverance, courage and guts, said Sudha Murty, lie at the heart of these innovations, as 12 social innovators were recognised for their breakthrough innovations. Winners walked away with cash prizes amounting to Rs 1.70 crore.

From a braille printer to a mobility device for the specially-abled to a solar insect trap that reduces the usage of chemical pesticides in agriculture, the winners were chosen from 900 applications through a rigorous process of screening that lasted for months.

Established with a vision to “recognise and reward individuals, teams or NGOs that have developed unique solutions for the social sector and have the potential to positively impact the underprivileged in India, at scale” the award identified winners across six categories. These include rural development, healthcare, destitute care, women safety and empowerment, education, sports and sustainability,

The jury, along with Sudha Murty, comprised Senior Vice President and Global Head – Marketing, Infosys, Sumit Virmani; former Dean of IIM Bangalore Trilochan Sastry; Padma Shree and toy inventor and science expert Arvind Gupta; visiting faculty at IIM Ahmedabad Prof Anil Gupta; and faculty member of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Coordinator, Teaching Learning Centre, IIT Hyderabad Prof. GVV Sharma.

“There are many good ideas, but (they) need support and recognition,” Sudha Murty told SocialStory. Here are some of the winning ideas:

Education

Khushwant Rai and Anjali Khurana from Jalandhar have developed an affordable personal braille printer. It started out as a school project, which turned into the desire to find a solution to solve a problem.

To help braille students, the other innovation that won an award was by Karnataka’s Sanskriti Dawle. Her audio-tactile device to address low braille literacy in India got a Jury Special Mentions award.

Chirag Bhandari, Siddharth Gala and Kavya Ananth from Maharashtra presented their ‘Yelo Bag’, a school bag designed to convert into a writing desk, with a lamp. The desk helps students who sit on the floor and study.

Healthcare
For the specially-abled, Sumanth Mudaliar and Vishrut Gaurangkumar Bhatt from Gujarat created a mobility device called Handicare. In the healthcare sector, the winners were Prashant Gade from Madhya Pradesh who created a low-cost myoelectric prosthetic arm.

Given the rising pollution levels, Haryana-based Aakash Bhadana, Vasu Kaushik and Rahul Gupta’s ‘Caeli’, a smart, automated drug delivery and anti-pollution mask for respiratory patients was chosen the winner.

Women’s safety and empowerment
Women empowerment is possible only if men are an equal part of it and this was evident from the ‘SmarLoo’ platform that helps keep loos clean, to ‘PadCare’ – a decentralised sanitary pad sterilisation, segregation and disposal unit. Both innovations have been developed by men, who said that challenges and issues pertaining to women were not just their concern, but need everyone’s attention.

Sustainability

For sustainability, a novel water-disinfecting hand pump created by Mayur Ramrao Ladole, Gaurav Ghanshyam Dastane and Nilesh Lakshman from Maharashtra won the jury’s attention along with Aditha Saathi Pads from Gujarat, which are made from banana fibre and are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable.

For sustainability, a novel water-disinfecting hand pump created by Mayur Ramrao Ladole, Gaurav Ghanshyam Dastane and Nilesh Lakshman from Maharashtra won the jury’s attention along with Aditha Saathi Pads from Gujarat, which are made from banana fibre and are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable.

Rural Development
Two social innovations that address the challenges of farmers are applause worthy. Sharwan Kumar Bajya from Rajasthan, created ‘Wider’, an affordable weed removal machine that processes weed into green manure. From Karnataka, Karibasappa MG, Dayananda K and Anil Kumar MK, have developed a solar insect trap that reduces the usage of chemical pesticides in agriculture.

Applauding the innovators, Sudha Murty said,

All the winners have showcased this spirit at the core of their creations and we are proud to recognise their efforts. I would like to congratulate not just the winners, but each and every one of the 906 participants who are working tirelessly across the length and breadth of India to create social innovations with the aim of making a difference. Infosys Foundation is committed to providing continued encouragement for such innovations and help scale their impact to change lives of those in need.

 

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