From improving the socio-economic status of rural communities to discussing eye care for the elderly: this week’s top social stories

This week, SocialStory highlighted the stories of various organizations involved in developing backward rural communities in their own way.

Execution of the Swades Foundation, Ronnie and Zarina Screwvala embrace the concept of “dream village” and community participation in rural areas, while civic tech startup Shruti Chaturvedi Action project in India allows you to find out about the various government programs.

Transforming rural India with the Dream Village initiative

Zarina and Ronnie Screwvala interact with the women of the Dream Villages

In Barasgaon village in Mahad, Raigad, about 200 kilometers from Mumbai, women are leading the change. Chosen by the locals to lead the village development committee, 10 women are on a mission to transform their village into a “dream village”. The first step was full immunization against COVID-19.

Apart from this, Barasgaon women also run a self-help club and support their family members in dairy farming. They exemplify the best examples of community ownership, women’s empowerment and what makes a village a ‘dream village’.

It is just one village among many that are part of the Dream Village initiative conceptualized by Ronnie and Zarina Screwvala below Swades Foundation in 2013. So far, 53 villages have met all the parameters to be declared Swades Dream Villages under the first phase, which means that each rural household has access to individual toilets, drinking water via household taps, access to health services, education and opportunities for a wide range of livelihoods. About 22 villages are close to meeting all parameters.

Inside the Rise for Tails Rehabilitation Home for 3,000 Stray Animals

Gargi Vairagare— a dog fancier, paraglider and entrepreneur — envisions a compassionate and inclusive society where animals live in dignity and safety.

She realizes this vision through Rise for Tails, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides stray animals with healthy food, shelter and effective medical services. Rise for Tails began with the question, “How do we ensure a decent life for these voiceless young souls on the streets?”

With an industrial father, a mother working in the corporate sector and a sister living in the United States, Gargi followed a completely different path, devoting himself full time to helping these needy animals.

She believes that every life is precious, whether it’s a human being or the little voiceless animals in the streets.

Eye care: why are older people more likely to suffer from eye diseases?

As people age, the risk of eye diseases and conditions increases dramatically and only gets worse over time.

According to World Health Organization (WHO)almost 285 million people around the world are visually impaired. Almost 82% of people with blindness are aged 50 or over.

In fact, more than 137 million Indians have near vision loss and 79 million suffer from impairment. That’s why it’s important to understand the warning signs of age-related eye problems and seek professional care to protect vision.

Addressing rural population issues with technology

The Government of India has launched various programs for the development of the rural population, including the National Rural Livelihood Mission, MGNREGA, Bharat Nirman, and others. However, a large part of the rural population is not aware of these programs or the procedures to benefit fully from them.

Shruti Chaturvedi based India Action Project (IAP) earlier this year to address these challenges by bridging the gap between decision-makers and beneficiaries through the use of data, technology and communication models.

IAP is a Gujarat based company civic-tech start-up where young Indians are on a mission to unlock India’s social, economic and political potential.

It has a team of Jan Saathis (who are part of the local population) focused on raising awareness and solving the challenges facing rural India by enabling meaningful conversation channels and leveraging data intelligence.