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2021 – A Year that started with apprehension, isolation, and fear of a lethal virus, an unthinkable uprising in the world’s largest democracy, and a world ravaged by climate change, science, and technology brought hope with vaccines, digital connectivity, and advances in renewable energy.
At WHEELS Global Foundation (WGF) our team of engineers, doctors, volunteers, and philanthropists came together with both public and private entities to apply technology to address the many unmet demands of people in some of the most impoverished corners of India. On behalf of the entire WGF family of Board members, Partners, Volunteers, Staff, Donors, and well-wishers, I would like to thank each and everyone for their dedication, passion, time, talent, and treasure to design, develop and implement solutions for maximum impact. I take this opportunity to focus on just a few of the achievements and initiatives in this past, difficult year, that have yielded measurable, and tangible impact.
Our sister organization, the WHEELS India Niswarth Foundation (WIN), initiated a woman’ Nutri-food micro-entrepreneurs program – under a new nutrition multi-stakeholder project ‘Developing Women Entrepreneurs & Improving nutrition intake in children and young women in five Gram Panchayats of Sanand‘ with Samerth Charitable trust as implementing NGO partner launched in September 2021. This was followed by a training program for field health workers in these villages on Mother and Child Nutrition based on the“First 1000 days” concept. This multi-stakeholder project is based on a market creation approach through a simultaneous Push (Supply) and Pull (Demand) model. The objective of the projects is:
For additional information about the project, Please find below on various social media platforms:
WGF and the Water Council initiated a model Water Management Program in the State of Himachal Pradesh in India with the following objectives:
The works will be carried out by the departments of Rural Development, Jal Shakti, Forest, Panchayati Raj as well as Agriculture, Horticulture, and Animal Husbandry, through the convergence of various government programs and schemes. The Pilot Project will engage user communities towards integrated water management, sustainability, and long-term conservation of water resources, including demand management and greywater management.
Robust systems, processes, and monitoring mechanisms have been incorporated into the Project. A unified Dashboard will anchor seamless & coordinated implementation of the project. The Portal will create a platform for directing all activities by all consortium partners and the state government departments, within specified and agreed-on timelines, to deliver the envisaged outcomes in terms of Natural Resource Productivity, Economic Impact, Social Impact, and Sustainability of the project. These results would be measured periodically. IIT Roorkee will independently evaluate the technical outcomes and a third party will independently do the same for socio-economic outcomes.
This pilot project will impact several communities with a population of over 500,000 people along the initial water streams. The State Government has already indicated its desire to expand this work in 2022 to an additional 10 streams. Additional information on this initiative can be found here: https://www.wheelsglobal.org/water-council.
The WHEELS Health Council was in full gear throughout this year of the pandemic. With the active solicitation of our many volunteers and the very able guidance of the Health council, we implemented 367 Telemedicine Operations in partnership with EVOLKO – a telemedicine platform vendor applying AI/ML for diagnostics and healthcare.
The model labeled Healthcare Easy Access for Rural communities through Telemedicine (HEART) offers local individual operators to earn a fair wage, experience an entrepreneurial venture, and serve the community, including free AT Home Testing and health monitoring to detect early stages of critical illness and provide at a cost affordable fee for remote consultation with medical specialists, providing a prescription for treatment and required drugs that villagers can acquire at zero cost supplied by the Govt. The health monitoring continues after treatments or surgical procedures at district hospitals.
This implementation of 367 telemedicine units by the Health council has impacted about 1.8 million people with each operation serving a rural area with a population of approx. 5,000. The Health Council also helped to work with the Rotary clubs in Aurangabad with Oxygen Concentrators to help meet their local requirements.
In acknowledging the assistance provided by WGF, the Rotary Club newsletter read “…. In these unprecedented times, when there is much pain and suffering all around, there are still individuals and organizations that are selflessly helping people in need in whatever way they can. During the COVID-19 pandemic, WHEELS Global Foundation has been working with NGOs in the US and India to provide oxygen concentrators and isolation rooms to underserved areas, including villages as well as Tier II and Tier III cities. Continuing with this effort, WHEELS Global Foundation, in collaboration with Shiv Yog Foundation and the Rotary Club of Aurangabad, procured 10 Oxygen Concentrators for Aurangabad….”
WGF Health council also made strides for establishing a footprint for its service in the United States by implementing the first Telemedicine initiative at New York University in Manhattan and also launching a research program with the Center of Medical Innovation at the University of Utah. The council also expanded the program to include 12+ sub-committees to evaluate activities in other areas such as Oncology, Mental Health, Maternal, and Child Care, etc where technology can help to scale philanthropy.
In Education, WGF has invested in 2 Projects.
At ARAVALLI, a tribal region in Gujarat, WGF SMART Village initiative:
Wheels Global Foundation (WGF) in partnership with BOSCH Foundation and Shamlaji Arts College has successfully completed the first batch of the job-oriented training of 21 Youths, 9 female and 12 Male. These youths come from most underprivileged households. Due to personal circumstances, many of these students had dropped out of school at an early age to support their families and were deprived of academic programs. WGF together with the Bosch Foundation set up a BRIDGE Center in Shamlaji College to provide three months short duration course divided into two phases, two months of classroom training and one month of on-the-job training. Twenty-one students will be graduating in December – the first graduating class of its kind where 100% of the students are placed in area companies leading to full-time opportunities.
As part of the Livelihood verticals of WHEELS, WGF facilitated the establishment of the BOSCH Foundation’s BRIDGE center in Shamlaji college. WGF provided two young female master trainers to build the capacities of the youths in soft job-oriented skills such as communication, ethics, values, teamwork, problem solvers, basic English and computer literacy, client service, and so forth. Female teachers were recruited to empower women to be in teaching and leadership positions and also to create female role models for young women in tribal areas. Shamlaji college provided the infrastructure to host the Bridge Training Center. BOSCH foundation provided training kits and trained WGF master trainers. Some of the Youths have been offered entry-level positions in Ahmedabad, Surat, and Vapi in various industries. The local Gujarati media covered this important milestone for the Aravalli district.
On January 25th, 2021, our partners, Sobus Insight Forum, launched a Sobus Center of Excellence in Shri Vithal Engineering and Research Institute (SVERI), Pandharpur taluka, rural Maharastra. This program formed with SVERI as an academic partner, Wheels Global Foundation as funding and knowledge partner, and Sobus as a social innovation partner, the Sobus Center of Excellence at Pandharpur will work towards creating sustainable and scalable social impact via rural innovation, entrepreneurship, and livelihoods. The SVERI college itself would be transformed into regional research, innovation, and entrepreneurship hub. partnering with organizations such as Deshpande Foundation and IIT-Bombay to support skill-building and research-related activities, starting outreach activities for students, staff, local community members, local and national startups, and entrepreneurs among other activities. WGF has also helped to launch the Telemedicine/Healthcare program with a lead from the WHEELS Health Council.
The Aravalli SMART Village program started in 2018 got a lot of traction in 2021 despite the pandemic and the many challenges for working in a remote part of Gujarat. In addition to the skills development program mentioned above in collaboration with the Bosch Foundation, WGF worked with the SEVAK Foundation to implement four Telemedicine Operations in Aravalli District. Also, with collaboration from the IEEE SMART Village initiative and Magan Sangralaya Samiti in Wardha, WGF has initiated a process to implement two entrepreneurship ventures. This activity is expected to start in early 2022. After gaining the trust and confidence of the local tribes and village panchayats, many of the initiatives started since inception have started to gain momentum with participation by State, local, and community leaders. We would be remiss to not mention the help and encouragement from our partners at Mission Samridhi and Sarjan Foundation in these efforts.
Finally, WGF conducted 7 thought-provoking webinars in 2021 including four COVID series on Sharing experiences to handle the Pandemic crisis, Digital medicine, Public Health Infrastructure as well as policies and practices needed in post Pandemic period. You can view them all at https://www.wheelsglobal.org/year_2021_webinars. We are most grateful to many thought leaders, senior members of the current administration in India, academicians, industrialists, lawyers, and partners who participated in these webinars averaging over 500 attendees at each and broadcast live on Facebook and other social media. Key takeaways from each of these webinars have yielded important lessons for policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and funding agencies on the challenges and opportunities for serving the underprivileged and impoverished segments of society with technology and creating networks of like-minded individuals and institutions.
Just as 2021 has been a year of significant and impactful activities, 2022 brings new promise and hope as more effective vaccines, methods, and treatment options help to mitigate and fight the deadly covid virus – none of which would be possible without advances and research in science and technology and delivery systems. At WHEELS Global Foundation we remain committed to our creed for embracing every individual and entity who is willing to partner with us for applying their talents, time, and treasure to leverage technology to scale philanthropy. We greatly cherish your engagement with WHEELS and appreciate your participation in our activities. Watch for our announcements of a global conference to be held in India in November 2022 in collaboration with the Ideal Village program at the Stanford School of Medicine – we will look forward to your active participation at this event. Meanwhile,we wish you and all your loved ones joyous holidays, a Very Happy New Year, and our thoughts and prayers for your safety, peace, and good health.
“Year-end update is to give everyone a brief report on how your Time, Talent, & Treasure has been applied by WHEELS in 2021.”
Please consider to DONATE Generously for our continued success in 2022
Click Here to DONATEWHEELS Global Foundation is a 501C(3) approved entity started by alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology and your donations are Tax Deductible in the USA. Our board members and a few others contribute to pay administrative costs to make sure all of your donations go directly to the concerned causes.
None of the work would be possible without the able guidance, contribution, and stewardship of all the WHEELS Global Foundation Board, The WHEELS Health Council, WHEELS Water Council, and Team: Rajat Gupta (Chairman-USA), Ashank Desai(Chairman – India), Anil Bhandari (Chairman – Advisory Board), Suresh Shenoy (President – USA), Digvijay Chaudhari (President- India), Arjun Malhotra, Raj Jaswa, Krish Gopalkrishna, Nishith Desai, Ron Mehta, Hiten Ghosh, Raj Shah, Smita Siddhanti, Gulab Bhavnani, Kannan Srinivasan, D.C. Agrawal, Vinay Karle, Witty Bindra, Ratan Agarwal, Sushil Bhatia, Pradeep Kapur, Kavita Kapur, Yogesh Andlay, Indrajit Chatterjee, Gauri Kumar, Kannan Moudgalya, Pradip Nadkarni, Yagya Datt Sharma, Ganesh Pateria, Himanshu Verma, Kishen Goenka (WGF-North), Mahesh Vaidya (WGF-Pune), Sujata Roy (WGF-East), Ramnath S. Mani(WGF-South), Surendra Makhija (WGF-North),Chander Ramchandan,Rakesh Jani, Girish Sampath, Marlaine Martin, Joseph Chalil, Farid Khan, Manish Kohli, Joseph Nixon, Rajesh Tripathi, Thakor Patel, Vikas Khurana, Bindu Kumar, Nandini Tandon, Amit Khare, Adheesh Pateria, Priya Tandon, Ram Kumar Singh, Raj Bhayani, Chintu Patel, Chirag Patel, Buddhdev, Ashok Gupta, Varsha Vaidya, R. S. Sodi, C. S. Buch, Paresh Vora. We also wish to acknowledge all the Directors of the IITs who have been actively engaged in participating in WGF activities. Several members of the faculty have also been actively engaged in Data Analytics, Language translations, Site Visits, and student-led projects. My apologies if I have missed the many volunteers who have been actively engaged with us over time. With all your help & support from all the generous donors only, we are able to deliver the above projects and looking for continued support in 2022.
WHEELS Global Foundation