Charting eco-friendly waste disposal and easy charity ideas

Environment Friendly Living

Akhila Damodaran

Express News Service

BENGALURU: From a project that makes charity donor-friendly to devising a reusable environment friendly medical waste disposal system, students across the country are pitching in their best ideas to channel a social change.

Fifteen teams of students from various colleges and universities from across India have been shortlisted for their innovative social ideas for a final round of the Social Enterprise ‘Idea’ Challenge organised by Azim Premji University in the city.

Donation Made Easy

One of the social ideas of a team from IIT Nagpur – DonateKart – has been shortlisted. The DonateKart enables you to buy the products online and send it to the NGOs. Anil Kumar Reddy, the co-founder says that this can lead to the trust of the donors and transparency. “The NGOs list their requirements on the website and the donors can choose the products that they would like donate. People usually prefer to send products than money.”

The website will be launched this Diwali. “We got the idea when I went to Chennai to volunteer during the floods. I observed that people from Bengaluru did not send money but products. So, I decided to work on the same concept.” To start with, the team of four will have campaigns of four NGOs from Nagpur, Delhi and Pune working on different sectors like education, sanitation and healthcare on their platform. The model works on the campaign basis. So, every time a new project of an NGO comes up, they can post their requirements online. They can post requirements for multiple campaigns as well along with a description about the campaign. Anil adds, “When we released an introductory video, around 30 NGOs approached us. We wanted to start with the ones we know and ones that work across different causes.”

Going Green

ShanSa – a healthcare product, proposed by one team in the final round has also been shortlisted for its environment friendly and cost effective medical waste disposal system. The reaction mechanism process includes a four layered underground chamber which the team claims to be reusable.

Shashanka Shekhar explains, “On an average, the dimensions of the chamber should be 25x20x25 feet. The outermost layer will be wet sand and quick sand followed by a layer of fire brick lining, core aggregated cement layer and the last layer of just cement. The process completes in total isolation. It does not get polluted by any elements from the environment or vice versa. The by-products which is a condensed mass can be used as a filler up materials.” He says the process is more efficient than incineration which can release harmful gases like dioxines and furans, exposure to which, can lead to heart and pulminory diseases.

Alumni Network

The other finalist team Mamagrama has developed an online alumni network School Connect. The co-founder Leela Gowtham Yanamaddi says, “If you look at the demographics of India 20 years ago, all children used to go to government institutes in the rural areas and now they have migrated to urban areas and even abroad for job. Now, these government schools have underprivileged students and all elite people opt for private schools in urban area. The alumni of the government schools have an emotional connect always and are unable to connect and do something for their schools due to some logistics issues. This platform will help them connect and contribute for the school.”

He adds that this is like a combination of Linkedin and a crowdfunding platform but unlike the other crowdfunding platforms where you are not sure of what the cause is about, you can contributing to your own school. “One can contribute for a library or a science lab and other infrastructural needs.” The team has been working on the project for four months and have already raised `10 lakhs for AP residential school, Kalvabugga. “There are 61 villages in India. It is not possible for me to approach each of them. So, we are looking for a tie up with government,” he says.

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