Poverty reduction is one of the most important and vital parts of an equitable society and a sustainable future. It has been and is still one of the world’s major challenges. Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. It entails to limited access to basic needs and services such as food, health, education, etc. The Sustainable Developmental Goals as set by the United Nations General Assembly address the global challenges we face and poverty is one of the biggest agenda.
For people at the bottom of the pyramid, micro-lending was traditionally a way to take loans for livelihood enhancement. The challenge with micro-lending was high-interest rates and the loans were given to at least people as a group, to enhance what is called a shared liability. Due to these high-interest rates, the people who have been borrowing money through this traditional way have to suffer high interests for not being able to return their loans on time.
Our vision is to create a society where everyone can help and support in solving local and developmental issues, a strong support system for every noble intention to transform into action
One more challenge that persists is the engagement of grassroots NGOs and the new NGOs that work to alleviate poverty. Due to their limited track record and limited resources, often, these grassroots NGOs face issues in execution of activities in remote locations that they may work in. These grassroots NGOs usually tend to have individual donors which beget limited contribution that may not be sufficient to conduct their activities. Due to their limited track record, these grassroots NGOs face issues leveraging corporate, as well as government funding. Also, being new organisations, these grassroots NGOs lack the sophistication and transparency required for fund management and reporting as well as the ability to showcase their impact to a larger audience of corporate and funders/donors.
To provide solutions to these issues, we founded Wishonary (an amalgamation of Wish and Visionary), a conjoint of social workers, grassroots organisations, meaningful companies, and conscious individuals have come together to create and deliver the most successful social innovations and solutions to last-mile communities. Our vision is to create a society where everyone can help and support in solving local and developmental issues, a strong support system for every noble intention to transform into action.
We allow all registered NGOs to share their work on our platform; providing more option to corporate and individual donors. We initiated it with the noble cause of helping and supporting social entrepreneurs and grassroots level organisations around the world to improve the reach, quality, and sustainability of their work. We also keep the relationship between the NGO and the donor very transparent. As a social network for change-makers, donors are always in touch with the NGOs they support. They can look at all the updates and progress made by the NGO, making them more transparent to their donors.
The problem of returning money to the respective donors has been looked after by us at Wishonary very carefully. Unlike micro-lending or micro-finance, we empower people at the bottom of the pyramid. The individual does not have to worry about returning the money to the donors.
We have been working on various projects and helping the underprivileged who are unable to pay take loans or pay high interests. Recently, we joined hands with two NGOs, Waste Warriors and Sankalpa. Both these NGOs are helping last-mile communities in their education, employment, etc.
Waste Warriors are helping save wildlife in Corbett. They are educating the local community on waste management and employ people from within the community. Waste Warriors has been working in Corbett since 2013, initiated by a resident Minakshi Pandey and consisting of nine local youth and 15 Self Help Group women.
The Waste Warriors started a campaign ‘Adopt a Village’ on July 17, 2020, to support solid waste management (SWM) systems in 20 villages around the Corbett Tiger Reserve to clean up the Corbett and thereby make it a safe space for animals, tourists, and visitors, and the people of the region.
The programme has been majorly carried out by the youth and women-led Self Help Groups and they will be trained to do so. Therefore, it has been an excellent way of employing these underprivileged youth and rural women to support their family and have a source of income.
Sankalpa, a disabled education and rural development organisation, on the other hand, is helping to provide education among differently-abled children. They have been working with 25 such students to save them from the poverty trap, exploitation and beggary. In India, there are hundreds of children begging in the streets, and on buses and trains, most of who are physically-challenged. Parents of these children cannot afford their medical and educational requirements. As a result, most of them are on the verge of dropping out of school, and due to the lack of rehabilitation facilities, their health gets worse with each passing day. Children like them are either forced on to early marriage or to begging.
To address this issue, the organisation has been constantly working towards fostering inclusive educational opportunities for differently-abled. The biggest challenge has been providing the differently-abled children with educational and medical aid as well as helping them monetarily since the parents of these children have been rendered jobless due to the countrywide lockdown.
Thus, their project, Project Bright Future was conceptualised by the organisation to facilitate access to rights and entitlements by promoting education, livelihood and rehabilitation opportunities among the specially-abled, to ensure that they lead a confident, dignified and healthy life and later become economically independent.
We continue to support the grassroots level organisations by bringing them together and share their best practices. We provide excellent support to social entrepreneurs and give them the confidence to create lasting change in our world. We offer three major services to NGOs – Crowd Connect, Crowd Funding, and Crowd Sourcing. Through all this, we aim to achieve a viscid future together, collaboratively and sustainably.
Vivek Saxena and Varun Chandra are Co-Founders, Wishonary.