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May 2021

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2021

COVID-19's recent second wave in India has brought about a healthcare crisis that has never been seen before. The situation is so difficult that it requires all the possible efforts by government, private sector, social organizations, individuals etc and even then they generally fall short considering the large population size, infrastructural deficiencies and systemic inefficiencies. But in this grim scenario the spirit of social entrepreneurship is trying to bring a ray of hope and their contribution is making life of many, particularly vulnerable communities, a little easier in these hard times. Social entrepreneurs have been effective due to their on-the-ground presence and their ability to act as first responders in support of vulnerable communities. Following are the six social enterprises from the Schwab Foundation's community of social innovators that are working to save lives during current COVID-19 crisis in India - (1) Goonj NGO (Providing resources to the most vulnerable): Distributed more than 8800 tons of rations and other essential items, provided more than 362000 meals, sourced 225000 kgs of vegetables from farmers, reached out to more than 380000 families (about 1.5 million people) and produced more than 800000 face masks and more than 1200000 cloth sanitary pads. (2) SEWA - Self-Employed Women's Association (Helping women in the informal economy): Provides support to self-employed women and on behalf of its 1.7 million women workers in 18 states of India, urged the government to declare income support to all the families of the informal economy workers to tide over this crisis, issue a circular to all the states to declare a compensatory package of Rs 5000 per month to all registered workers, provide a free public distribution system for ration supply as long as the crisis lasts, and offer six months amortization on repayment of all loans.(3) Aajeevika Bureau (Providing resources to migrants): Provided relief to stranded migrant workers, daily wagers and their households to see them through this period of distress. Relief included emergency food distribution, cash transfers, health care and help to workers in distress. They also provided travel assistance to migrants attempting to return home and also facilitated the transition of those who returned to their villages. (4) Glocal Healthcare (Providing healthcare to people in remote areas): Recently launched a free telemedicine consultation for COVID-19 screenings. This can be accessed both from phone line as well as from websites and apps. The goal is to prevent panic; ensure correct screening, triage and treatment before conditions become too serious; and prevent the health infrastructure from collapsing. (5) Jan Sahas (Supporting migrant families, survivors of sexual violence and frontline workers): Within 100 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, Jan Sahas drew support from more than 30 philanthropic and private sector donors (resulted in more than US$ 2 million) and worked with 42 nonprofits across 19 states in India to address the needs of more than 1040000 migrant families, 1237 survivors of sexual violence, 12480 frontline health workers and state actors through immediate relief support. (6) Mann Deshi (Providing women with access to finance): During COVID-19 it had been working non-stop to provide relief - including providing food packages, masks and PPE kits. It also partnered with a district government to build a 300-bed COVID-19 hospital by refurbishing an old unused rural hospital and turning it into a free dedicated COVID-19 hospital. It is also working with the district administration 24/7 to provide oxygen beds, ventilators, Remdisvir and Tocilizumab to critical stage patients. Read on...

World Economic Forum: 6 ways social entrepreneurs are saving lives during India's COVID-19 crisis
Author: Pavitra Raja



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