Republic Day Special: Tech4Good

Technology has a huge role in addressing critical challenges facing society, minimizing the gaps between ‘have’ and ‘have-nots,’ and helping build a more sustainable and inclusive world. Several tech and social entrepreneurs are trying hard to drive social change by developing products and solutions for issues that need urgent attention. 

Here are three such innovative tech products by exceptional entrepreneurs:

Making virtual school possible for rural children

Recently AAS Vidyalaya – Anytime Anywhere School, an EdTech platform, has been in the news for all the right reasons. The Founders Vikas and Leena Kakwani raised $202,854 in Shark Tank India for 15 percent equity from  Peyush Bansal, Namita Thapar, and Ashneer Grover. 

AAS Vidyalaya is India’s first virtual school trying to solve the problem of availability and accessibility of good quality education by bringing the school to the children instead of children to the school.

As per their website, out of 27.4 crores of the country’s student population:

•  8.4 crore Indian children don’t attend school at all

• School drop-out rate largely contributed by secondary schooling is 35%

• Attendance in secondary school is only 52%

Business World website reported that more than 300,000 had downloaded the App. The organization is seed-funded by the Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India, through its NIDHI scheme (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations – Seed Support System). The App has 10,000+ video classes, 50,000 + Q&As, easy accessibility to teachers, and a lot more.

Congratulations to the Founders Vikas Kakwani and Leena Kakwani!

Torch it – a wonder device powered by AI

The Shark Tank show had invited  Hunny Bhagchandani, Founder of a unique startup, Torch It. The organization is transforming lives by creating smart assistive technology for differently-abled worldwide through IoT. Its Saarthi device is an electronic travel aid used in conjunction with a standard white cane that assists a visually impaired person in mobility and navigation. 

As per its website, while the standard white cane only detects obstacles up to knee/waist height, this device can detect obstacles from knee/waist to head height. In other words, the Saarthi is not meant to replace the white cane but to augment its functionality. It can detect obstacles up to 3.2 meters when used in open outdoor areas, up to 1.3 meters indoors. It warns the users about impending obstacles before the possible collision happens and helps find collision-free paths with a 99.7% accuracy.

Torchit envisions empowering differently-abled persons worldwide to lead more independent, meaningful, and connected lives through the use of simplistic, effective, and affordable assistive devices.

Though Hunny Bhagchandani could not raise any funding from the platform, he indeed has created a massive place in the hearts of millions of people. 

Power with Mukki: A scalable digital solution to empower 1M girls by 2025

With the child at the centre, technology can be a catalyst in driving interventions for communities. MukkaMaar, a Mumbai-based NGO founded by Ishita Sharma, has launched a WhatsApp-based App that can reach millions of girls and help them learn self-defense. MukkaMaar is committed to driving change at scale and speed while keeping a strong offline focus to learn, evolve, and evidence solutions. Its grassroots presence also helps design and iterate more effective, feasible, and sustainable solutions.

Called POWER with Mukki (Practice On WhatsApp for Empowerment & Rewards), it uses 2-way conversational flows to build fitness (stamina, strength, flexibility), physical self-defense skills (punches, blocks, kicks, escapes), identification of types of violence, gender-sensitization, soft skills to deter threats, assertiveness, negotiation, awareness of rights and more. With just a few months of daily chats and activities with Mukki, children can feel confident, have greater self-esteem, and be better prepared to deal with threats.

Founder Ishita Sharma said, “To create an equitable world, we must invest now in girls and enable them to have agency. We must collectively focus our attention to address the deeply entrenched mindsets that cause girls and women to be treated unfairly. In MukkaMaar, it has been our endeavour to empower the most vulnerable girls and POWER with Mukki is an attempt to leave no girl behind.”

Sevashree Mohapatra
A strategic Corporate Communication leader and technology enthusiast, I have more than 20 years of experience in content, corporate communication, and Strategy. Having worked in major media houses and MNCs like Hindustan Times, Ogilvy, ArcelorMittal, and Suez, I have helped brands to create value for their customers.