What Do The Global Goals Mean To You? (Part III: India)

India
By:: 
Lesley Teoh

193 of the world's leaders have committed to 17 Global Goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality & injustice and fix climate change by 2030.

Despite rapid economic growth in Asia, problems of inequality have persisted and far too many remain mired in poverty. At Asia for Good, we believe that by offering commercial solutions to social issues, social enterprises are emerging as a sustainable means to achieve these goals for a more inclusive Asia.

As part of our collaboration with the Global Goals campaignwe spoke to 6 social entrepreneurs across the region to hear what these goals mean to them.

INDIA

NEIL D’SOUZA & SOMA VAJPAYEE, CO-FOUNDERS OF ZAYA LEARNING LABS

Zaya Learning Labs has developed an end-to-end, affordable Blended Learning model to improve education in the low-income Indian market.

Q. What do the global goals mean to you? What will achieving these goals mean to your beneficiaries?

Zaya Bazaraa was one of our first students in Lotus children's orphanage centre in Mongolia. She learnt Math in the lab and then went on to translate 250 math videos from English to Mongolian for her fellow students, showing us the possibilities that open up when you can empower children even in the least resourced areas of the world, with great education content and opportunity. Today we have thousands of children learning everyday with our products, as well as teachers who feel a sense of accomplishment that they did not have before.

It is really important to us at Zaya to keep building better products and tools for the children that have the least resources. We believe that the gap needs to be bridged both economically and academically, as they are positively correlated.


Q. My vision for a better world is one where…

Each child has access to world class learning.

 

Q. What role can social enterprises like yours play in achieving these goals?

There is a deluge of quality content available on the internet but it does not reach millions of children it is meant for due to the lack of Internet/ broadband connectivity. Social enterprises like ours are building businesses that help children across the globe access products and services that they could not before. This helps in reducing the divide that at least exists in the education sector.

Zaya has shown that good quality education is possible at fraction of the cost even in slums. Effective education needs to bring together learning content, delivery systems and software algorithms that can tailor the content for children and track their progress. We see this as a problem in three domains, not one. 


Q. No action is too small to make a difference. How can other people do their part to contribute to so that we can achieve these global goals?

Sharing stories of incredible change happening around us is a great way to encourage organisations to achieve their goals! AsiaforGood is one such great initiative. These initiatives help spread optimism because we know how tough it is to go against the tide!

At Zaya we are focused on improving the technology and implementing of the whole solution with strong partners. Joining hands in partnership is a great way to go forward instead of reinventing the wheel in every aspect of the learning process.

You can read more about Zaya's work here or visit their website to find out more.

PRASOON KUMAR, FOUNDER & CEO OF BILLION BRICKS

billionBRICKS (bB) is aims to improve the quality of life of the homeless through the power of design, technology and good architecture. They work with Non-Government Organisations to provide professional design expertise that will improve the living conditions of the homeless in India, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. They have also prototyped the “Winter Hyde” - a temporary life-saving shelters that can be quickly deployed before conventional relief shelters are built. 

Q.  What do these goals mean to you? 

Coming from an organization that works within a network of partnerships to create positive impact, these goals make me thrilled and even more motivated knowing that more people are getting committed to end extreme poverty, and make communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, which are of relevance to our mission. 

However, I believe that the right to housing for all as a basic human need must be more strongly highlighted. Considering its provision as an underlying or secondary priority is a serious concern to us as it is not given the attention it requires as a measurement of absolute poverty. It discounts the importance of the basic cause that must be first addressed before advancing to much larger undertakings. 

Q. How have your sentiments changed in light of the current humanitarian crisis that has made millions refugees without a home?

Humanitarian crises are reflections of the much larger problems we face such as environmental, socio-political and economic instabilities. We believe that the trend is rising, and it will continue to do so if we do not address these core global issues.

Moreover, it reflects cross-cultural issues and our responsibilities far beyond any nation or society. We live in an inter-linked world. Every action we make impacts others beyond our borders, and as a citizens of the world, we must recognize our responsibilities and act on them.

Q. What roles can social innovations like the winterHYDE, as well as the work Bb does play in achieving these goals?

Most global cities are dealing with an increasing housing crisis, and we believe that to tackle its scale and pace requires new innovative and disruptive thinking. bB through its design focused approach builds empowering and replicable shelter based solutions. Projects such as Winter Hyde would trigger larger global movements towards that direction. 

Q.  My vision for a better world is one where… 

People develop more empathy. I believe in the power of empathy to help create a more equitable world.

Inspired by Prasoon's story? Read more about his entrepreneurial journey and visit their website to lend your support to billionBricks.

 

 If you want to find more about socially conscious living in Asia, check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.

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