Tag Archives: Health

Samarthanam: a vision for the future for the visually disabled

I recently had the opportunity to host an amazing group of people visiting from India. The Sunadha dance troupe, part of the Samarathanam Trust for the Disabled based in Bangalore was visiting Boston. We had the opportunity to see them perform at the Sri Lakshmi Temple where the visually disabled dancers performed an amazingly choreographed set of dances.
Dancers from Sunadha troupe

Dancers from Sunadha troupe




Samrathanam was founded by Mahantesh, who is also visually disabled, to help provide opportunities for deserving, young, and talented children with disability of any form, or from marginalized economic backgrounds. Over the years they have built a school that provides education for over 600 disabled children and is designed to meet the needs of the physically challenged.     Continue reading

TIECON Social Enterprise Track Provides New Perspective

For the first time TIECON EAST – TiE Boston’s annual conference on entrepreneurship and innovation – had a dedicated track on Social Enterprise. The three panels in the track – ‘Healthcare Innovation in a Global Village’, ‘IT & Communications for the Developing World’ and ‘Feeding 9 Billion people’ – were all well attended and engaged the attentive audience with the incisive discussions. Here are some excerpts from an article I wrote for Lokvani about the sessions. Continue reading

The Blue Sweater a book by Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz

I had gotten a copy of Acumen Fund founder, Jacqueline Novogratz’s, book “The Blue Sweater” a couple of months ago and had kept promising myself that I would read it. Finally as I was leaving on a short trip to India, I threw it in my bag hoping to get to it during my visit. As the long 15 plus hour trip from Newark to Bombay stretched before me, I settled myself in as best as I could and opened the book expecting to read a few pages and then sleep as much as possible for the rest of the flight.

Once I started reading I was hooked. Before I knew it I had plowed through the entire volume. This is an extraordinary and powerful book. My personal interest in social entrepreneurship, particularly in solving issues in the developing world, had led me to peruse many books in the field – from the seminal one by David Bornstein to Jeff Sachs and Prof. Yunus. Each provided a perspective on development with solutions and suggestions. Yet somehow this book was different. Continue reading

Jacqueline Novogratz – Legatum Lecture at MIT

We are a connected world said Jacqueline as she described the story of her blue sweater, also the title of her recently published book. Once discarded by her at Goodwill, it turned up 25 years later in Rwanda where she found it on a boy in the countryside.

Speaking at the Legatum Center’s Lecture series at MIT, she described the innovative work of Acumen fund and how it helps build social solutions through its venture philanthropy.

She prefaced her talk by some of her observations from her work helping to build enterprises around the world that she undertook since her time in Rwanda.

  • Dignity is more important than wealth for the human spirit.
  • Traditional models of charity won’t solve problems of poverty.
  • Markets can’t solve poverty. 100 Million people went back into poverty last year and that is what happens when you only rely on market forces to solve these problems.
  • What is needed is patient capital that will address these problems

Continue reading

Two social visionaries from India

We were pleased to have Vibha Krishnamurthy and Ashish Karamchandani visit us in Boston on Sunday.

Vibha Krishnamurthy is the founder of Ummeed, (http://www.ummeed.org ) a first-of-its kind center addressing the needs of the estimated 35 million children in India with developmental disabilities. After completing her fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital, Vibha moved back to Bombay determined to bring world class care to disabled children in India. She founded Ummeed in 2001 and it now supports over 1000 patient visits a week. Ummeed provides early diagnosis of development disabilities followed by in-house professional, medical and therapeutic care. It allows families to continue proper care and therapy at home by providing training and education programs for parents. For her tireless efforts to bring care to the disadvantaged, Vibha was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2007. http://www.ashoka.org/fellow/4900

Vibha’s husband, Ashish Karamchandani is a visionary in his own right. Ashish returned to India to head Monitor’s Indian consulting office where he spearheaded an effort within Monitor to address the challenges of global poverty with market based solutions. He was successful in starting a new area of research within Monitor, Monitor Inclusive Markets, (http://www.mim.monitor.com) that he now leads. The group has brought scientific and business approaches to providing market-based solutions and has initiated financially-sustainable enterprises to address the needs of the bottom 60% of the income pyramid in India. Their work has identified housing as one of the key areas where market based solutions can alter the social and economic landscape of the country. Ashish has recently published a comprehensive report “Emerging Markets, Emerging Models,” based on their solid fact-based research. Continue reading