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Mr. Joss Brooks ~ Founder, Pitchandikulam Forest, Auroville; Co-leader, WHEELS EcoSchool Initiative
Mr. Digvijay Choudhari ~ President – WHEELS Global Foundation, India & Founder – SOBUS
Dr. Vibha Gupta ~ Chair – Magan Sangrahalaya Samiiti (MSS)
Ambassador Pradeep Kapur ~ Former Ambassador & Secretary – Govt. of India, Advisory Board- WHEELS Global Foundation
Mrs. Smita Siddhanti ~ Founder and President of EnDyna Inc, Board Member – WHEELS Global Foundation
Despite a lot of work and progress in the past few years and decades, rural areas continue to face multiple basic infrastructural problems that hold them back; a lot more needs to be done in the realms of Water, Health, Energy, Education, Livelihoods and Sustainability, the focus areas for integrated rural development under Wheels Global Foundation (WGF). Even if Technology is not a panacea for all ills it can help dramatically reduce the prevalence and severity of many developmental problems, to improve the quality of life, especially for the poor and disadvantaged, through greater and better services, transform economic activity, and reduce inequity.
As per the UN “Unemployment and underemployment lie at the core of poverty. For the poor, labor is often the only asset they can use to improve their well-being. Hence the creation of productive employment opportunities is essential for achieving poverty reduction and sustainable economic and social development. It is crucial to provide decent jobs that both secure income and empowerment for the poor, especially women and younger people.” More Info Here
WGF’s Livelihood & Sustainability Council’s (LSC) mission is to enhance the rural economy through co-creating and advancing rural enterprises, using technological innovations and scientific processes, sharing best practices, and developing techniques to foster trade and employment for rural populations. This Council is focused on enabling successful models of co-creating sustainable livelihoods that can be scaled to various parts of India, the US, and other countries. These models will integrate the following four main pillars:
This webinar will showcase three very different initiatives to transform India’s rural communities and create future Eco-leaders.
Join US LIVE on ZOOMSunday ~ October 16th, 2022
11 am EST, 8 am PST 8:30 pm IST
(Registration is Free)
You can join the webinar 15 min early (i.e. 10:45 AM EST OR 7:45 AM PST OR 8:15 PM IST) to watch the slide show on WGF-related projects & videos.
WHEELS Global Foundation(WGF), “An Initiative of IIT Alumni, USA” with the mission of Technology-Enabled Philanthropy. WHEELS has also been selected by NITI Aayog, Govt. of India as a member of the Committee for Innovation and Technology Transfer. WHEELS has also signed an MOU with the Ministry for Panchayati Raj for a technology partnership in Rural Development.
Mr. Digvijay Choudhari graduated in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay, India, and then completed his M.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, USA. Later, he worked with Cadence Design Systems, a leading EDA company, in Austin and Bay Area. Deeply inspired by the humanitarian work of Sri Sri Ravishankar he moved from Silicon Valley to the global headquarters of the Art of Living Foundation in Bengaluru, India. He has been a full-time volunteer with the Foundation for the last 16 years driving large projects including infrastructure and development.
As the Chief Administrator of the Foundation’s Headquarters in Bengaluru, he set up and streamlined the operations of the 350-acre campus by creating simple, adaptable, and scalable systems suitable to a volunteer-driven non-profit organization. Next, he established and scaled Sri Sumeru Realty Private Limited as a professionally-managed quasi-social enterprise in the area of Real Estate & Construction delivering projects totaling 20 lac sqft area worth more than USD 60M, with an industry-leading profit margin. Currently, he is focused on building Sobus Insight Forum as a global platform that catalyzes sustainable, scalable social impact via a holistic ecosystem for social startups to establish and grow.
Mr. Joss Brooks is the founder steward of the Pitchandikulam Forest in Auroville and a long-standing Aurovillian. Originally hailing from Tasmania in Australia. Joss has promoted and dedicated his life to the regeneration of the indigenous plants and their revival in the bio-region around Auroville as well as other parts of the state and country. With four decades of experience in foresting and planting he is considered a leading practitioner in this sector. The Pitchandikulam forest is living proof of his dedicated and careful stewarding. His other accomplishments include establishing Adayar Poonga, a large re-forestation park in Chennai city, and creating several bio-diversity interpretation centers in many parts of Tamil Nadu.
Dr. Vibha Gupta is the chairperson of Magan Sangrahalaya Samiiti (MSS) and the founder and Director of the Center of Science for Villages (CSV) in Wardha, Maharashtra, has dedicated her life to bringing Science and Technological innovations for enhancing rural entrepreneurship, rural employment, and ideal village conditions. Qualified as an economist with B.A. in Economics from Delhi University and a master’s in social work, Dr. Vibha Gupta took her postgraduate degrees in Social Science from Canada and Netherlands in 1980. She earned her Ph.D. in the subject, ‘Transfer of Technology amongst Rural Women’ from the Indian Institute of Technology, (IIT) New Delhi in 1993. Since then, for the past 30 years, she is working on developing and promoting appropriate technologies to generate rural employment.
Dr. Vibha Gupta successfully mobilized 10,000 rural women and formed 1005 Self Help Groups (SHGs) in 125 villages. To empower underprivileged rural women with productive skills, entrepreneurial ability, and leadership spirit, she trained 1400 SHG members in 40 national technical Institutes located in 20 states of India. Dr. Gupta’s vast impact impactful work in rural development include several areas. Some of her effort and accomplishments include areas of work in Water Shed Development, Natural Farming – Sustainable Economic Venture; Rural Housing; Rashtriya Karigar Panchayat; Rural Health Insurance; Anemia Free Vidarbha – Nutrition Garden, and the First Organic Cotton to Organic Khadi Fabric Unit. The impact of all these areas is vast, for example, the first organic Khadi production Unit – Magan Khadi set up provides livelihood to 300 Khadi artisans and organic farmers.
Dr. Smita Siddhanti is the founder and President of EnDyna Inc. specializing in management and environmental consulting for various federal agencies in Washington DC. She was the past president of the DC Chapter of TiE – “The Indus Entrepreneurs”, and currently serves on the Global Board of Trustees for TiE. She has served on the Virginia Governor’s Air Quality Board and on the Board of the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Siddhanti is a recipient of several awards including the 2014 Future 50 award of Smart CEO, and the White House Green Government award in 2016.
Smita is committed to enhancing entrepreneurship as the basic engine for economic development and has been actively involved in this pursuit with global organizations such as the Ashoka Foundation for changemakers, American India Foundation, Indiapora, and TiE chapters around the world. She is on the board of MaganSangrahalaya Samiti (MSS), an Indian NGO in Wardha, Maharashtra, working for rural enterprise development in villages. She holds a B.S. and M.S.in Biology from Delhi University, an M.S. in Technology Policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic (RPI), and a Ph.D. in Technology and Public Policy from the University of Pittsburgh.
Ambassador Pradeep Kapur is an acknowledged “luminary diplomat,” with a distinguished career working with leaders and policymakers around the world. Author and editor of many books, he was the Ambassador of India to Chile and to Cambodia and Secretary at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. He is the Executive Director of the Smart Village Development Fund (SVDF). He received a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering in 1977 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. In 1979, he received a Master of Technology in Management and Systems from IIT, Delhi.
As a career Indian Foreign Service officer from 1979 to 2013, he held many government posts both in India and abroad. From April 2001 to January 2005 he was the Indian ambassador to Cambodia. From October 2007 through January 2009, he was joint secretary of the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi. From January 2009 to December 2013 he was the Indian ambassador to Chile.