Born with a 70 percent disability, Sumit Agarwal — a PR entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and inclusion rights activist — is now ‘obsessed’ with helping people, building relationships, and discovering what drives human beings.
Meanwhile, Ramanuj Mukherjee and his team are providing free lawyer services for COVID-19 pandemic-related scams through his initiative Lawyers Against COVIFRAUD.
On the other hand, AssisTech Foundation has been supporting startups that are working to improve the lives of people with disabilities through assistive technology.
Here are the top Social Stories of the week:
Sumit Agarwal with his mother Rekha Agarwal
After graduating with a bachelor of business administration degree, Sumit Agarwal — who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant — joined ICFAI Business School in Kolkata for a Post Graduate Programme in Management.
He was among the top of his class at Jadavpur University, where he pursued a post-graduate diploma in mass communication.
Despite all his achievements, Sumit says he was unable to find a job, and that no employer in Kolkata wanted to hire him because of his disability.
Rather than wait for employment, he decided to start his own company and founded PR Signal — a public relations firm.
Today, Sumit is a well-known public relations entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and inclusion rights activist.
Laxmi Bamani (left, in sari) with Tabassum Shaikh the NGO worker who rehabilitated her
I have come a long way since my husband left me after four years of severe abuse. Even when I was seven months pregnant, he would continue to beat me. After he abandoned me, I tried to go home, but my mother refused to accept me back.
With no skills to get a job, I ended up working as a housemaid and was cleaning vessels to feed my children and myself. One day, a man approached me and offered Rs 100 if I slept with him.
I had no work at the time and we were starving, so I took him up on his offer. That is how I first became involved in sex work. I tried to sell vegetables to make a living, but the vendor said that he would only give me vegetables in exchange for sex.
Read more about Lakshmi Bamani’s struggles and how she overcame them.
To fight the increasing number of pandemic-related scams, Ramanuj Mukherjee — a lawyer-turned-edtech entrepreneur — started a pro-bono legal platform, Lawyers Against COVIFRAUD, to help identify miscreants taking advantage of the situation to cheat hapless patients.
To date, over 140 lawyers from almost every Indian state have joined the initiative and started taking legal action against scammers who take advantage of helpless COVID-19 patients and their families.
The team of EcoAlarmist
Subhadeep Purkayastha founded EcoAlarmist at the age of 16 to change people’s perception of environmental protection, and how they can contribute through their actions.
“I had learnt about sustainable development and global warming in school. By the time I was in class 10, the same things were taught as lessons, but practically, not much change was taking place around us to achieve this,” Shubhadeep tells SocialStory.
EcoAlarmist primarily works in Assam, especially in and around Silchar and Guwahati. In urban areas, it helps people and businesses transform their lifestyle by making their actions more sustainable.
In the rural areas, the organisation uplifts the lives of people, enabling them to adopt sustainable practices in all aspects of life as they are the most vulnerable when it comes to global warming and climate change.
A fireside chat with Rahul Dravid and Prateek Madhav at the country’s first assistive technology conclave.
In 2019, Prateek Madhav founded AssisTech Foundation (ATF), and has been supporting startups that are working to improve the lives of people with disabilities through assistive technology.
The Bengaluru-based organisation has achieved a significant impact in just two years.
“We have a community of 350 startups, our acceleration programme’s cohort is working closely with 21 of them. These startups have produced over 50 assistive technology products across visual, speech and hearing, and physical and intellectual disability, generating 19 patents,” he said.
Some of the key startups ATF has worked with includes Eye-D, Tactopus, Cogniable, Trestle Labs, and Avaz App.