An Indian youth is travelling the country in search of unrecognized talent who have adopted eco-careers. An IIT-IIM alumnus is running a free residential school for underprivileged children. A foreign woman stepped out to prove that her disability is her strength by travelling across South India on an elephant.
People in India are working toward making a difference not only to other people but also to the planet as a whole.
An MBA dropout took to travelling across India to discover 52 individuals who have consciously adopted an alternative career to leave a positive impact on the planet. Rahul Karanpuriya’s project ’52 Parindey’ (52 birds) is inspired by his passion for travelling and innovation. With a motive to celebrate the heroes making a living by choosing alternate careers, he set out on the journey in November last year.
As of now, he has met 30 innovators engaged in earth-friendly, heterodox vocations. Social entrepreneurs, Gowri and Krishnan, from southern Indian state Tamil Nadu are making ‘Yellow Bags’ – cloth bags, thus providing an environment-friendly alternative to polythene bags and a new source of income for the local underprivileged societies.
Mowgli comes life
Similarly, a foreign woman took to travelling the country but with a different motive. Determined to prove that her inability to see is not a weakness, Caroline Casey travelled 1,000km across South India, and raised donations for eye operations in a hospital in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Suffering from ocular albinism, Casey wasn’t aware of her illness till the age of 17. She accepted the fact and stood up to live her childhood dream – to become Mowgli from The Jungle Book.
Casey was invited to speak at TED, an invitation-only event. “Every one of us must be the very best of ourselves. I no longer want anybody to be invisible. We all have to be included. And stop the labels, the limiting. Because we are not jam jars. We are extraordinary, different, wonderful people,” said Casey in her speech.
A family of 1441
Vinayak Lohani, a graduate from IIT and an alumnus of IIM, started Parivaar, the largest free residential institution for children from destitute background, in the Eastern Indian state of West Bengal. Parivaar, recipient of the National Award for Child Welfare in 2011 and India’s highest non-profit sector recognition, today serves 1441 resident girls and boys in its residential institutions. With a success record of 98 pc, children who enter Parivaar complete the program, staying through high school graduation and enrol to university courses.
“In 2003, I decided to start with a small home for impoverished and malnourished children, for both boys and girls. In January 2004, with only 3 children, I began by renting a 3-story building in a village near Kolkata. I engaged a couple of staff. We quickly grew to 16 children. By March, we had 40. By June 2004, we had 60. These days, we receive 2,000 cases of needy children a year,” states Vinayak on the website of Parivaar.
Taking initiative to better the planet and follow their dreams, people in India as well as abroad are taking innovative and exceptional paths to make change happen.