Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Engineering Her Way To Help Small Indian Farmers. Tech Junkies Will Love This!

Devi Murthy (29), an electrical engineer from Drexel University (USA), uses technology to reduce the struggles of small farmers in India. With co-founding Kamal Kisan, Devi has set out to help Indian farmers through her cool, new startup ideas.
Kamal Kisan is a for-profit social enterprise that manufactures farming equipment using low-cost mechanisms. It was founded in November 2012 at the IIT Madras’ incubation cell that recognised Devi Murthy’s ideas as innovative and provided a seed fund of Rs 5 lakh.
India is world’s third largest manufacturer of tractors, yet 80 percent of Indian farmers don’t use mechanization to boost their productivity.
Devi is determined to make a change through designing and manufacturing low-cost mechanization options for India’s small farmers.
Murthy with her innovative start-up is aiding farmers in rural areas of Karnataka, particularly in Suttur and HD Kote areas. Murthy and her team go to the village fields to tests the performance of their newly designed and developed equipment and whether they will be useful in the real situation.
Devi has one strong dream – ‘to see a day in the future when mechanization services become a lifestyle choice for a farmer.’

The new centres will have facilities to provide equipment support and service to about 7,000 farmers. Devi’s dream Kamal Kisan got the Push the Boundary Award in 2013 under Women Entrepreneur Quest.
She hopes to open 15 centres in three states in South India in the next three years
Devi’s team is developing solutions for existing farm practices rather than having farmers adapt new ones to suit high-cost equipment. Devi and her team are aiming to lower the Indian farmer’s dependency on labour and fuel – both of which come at a high cost. Devi’s equipment will help the Indian farmers to increase farm productivity and go on to make mechanization a lifestyle choice for every farmer.
The post first appeared in KenFolios - Only interesting stories.
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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Shubhendu Left Toyota And Now Delivers Urban Jungle To The World

Engineer Shubhendu Sharma (30) nurtures the dream of growing trees in the heart of the ever-expanding cities in India. He started his journey of producing small forests within the busy Indian cities in 2011 after he cultivated his very own small forest on a land he owned in Kashipur, Uttarakhand.
Shubhendu made a business out of planting trees across India and inspired hundreds of others to follow his footsteps.
A few months after he grew his own 270-tree forest, Sharma launched a business to create small forests in urban areas. He formed his own company Afforestt which has till date has created over 75 forests, some of which are outside India. Afforestt has also planted forests in Singapore, Pakistan, the Netherlands and the United States.
Anyone can grow their own forest in merely two years using Sharma’s method. This is a significant idea in a place like India where about 45 percent of the land has been degraded by deforestation, unsustainable farming methods and excessive groundwater extraction. Thankfully, India still has about 68 million hectares of forested land, which makes it the 10th most forested country in the world.

Japanese Seed

He learned the forestation technique in 2008 when he was an engineer with Toyota. The company had invited Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist specialised in plant ecology, to conduct a workshop teaching forestation methods. Shubhendu was very impressed with the talk and decided to work in the similar field.
With his guidance, for over a six-month period, 300 volunteers together planted over 30,000 trees on a land owned by Toyota. Within two years, the forest flourished sprouting ambitions in Sharma. In November 2010, he started planting trees at his own house and then for others, too.


Before planting, he inspects the soil for the availability of nutrients and adds biomass from the surrounding environment to make the soil more porous. This helps water to easily penetrate and reach the growing tree roots.
He also adds micro-organisms (bacteria and microscopic mushrooms) that feed off of the biomass mixed in with the soil to produce the nutrients naturally. Then he identifies the kind of trees which are native to the site and plant trees accordingly (by dividing the trees into our categories: bushes, small trees, regular trees and trees that create canopies).
Shubhendu and his team will start a new project in Val de Loire region in France, in November 2016. In Europe, they charge 40 euros per square metre whereas in India, they only charge 10 euros per square metre.

7,000 trees in a single day in 2013

Dr. Vivek Nagarajan is a professor at the University of Technology in Coimbatore, in southern India. He and his students used Shubhendu Sharma’s method to plant a forest. In a single day, around 300 student volunteers planted over 7,000 trees around the University.

The post first appeared in KenFolios - Only interesting stories.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Here’s A Company That’s Giving You Naturally-Coloured Garments

The amount of water which is contaminated during dyeing process only one t-shirt is enormous. The textile industry has heavily polluted our fresh water sources but thanks to one couple, our water sources can breathe a sigh of relief. They are using natural colors on textile and saving you from environmental guilt.
Sonal and Arun Baid prepare dyes using natural ingredients like spices, nuts, indigo, turmeric and flowers. They reinvent the good old Indian tradition of coloring garments to work in the modern era. Their sole goal is to change the way of coloring our world. Their effort has slowly revived the age-old tradition of India to use natural colors from medicinal herbs, thus serving the dual purpose of coloring the clothes and protecting us from diseases.
Sonal and Arun formed Aura Herbal Textiles in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in 2000 where they dye clothes and fabrics with natural colors for customers across the globe. Their products are receiving a huge response in India, Europe, Australia and Japan. They even supplied their garments to Bollywood. The couple has opened their own retail store. Hope their venture will spread across every Indian city and our best wishes for their green venture.
  • 8,000 different synthetic chemicals are used in textile industry most of which are released, untreated into freshwater sources (accounts for 20% of the industrial water pollution)
  • Toxins can get absorbed into the body through snugly-fitting synthetically dyed clothing causing skin allergies and respiratory problems.
  • Around 70 percent of textile industries in India are unorganized and flout stringent laws for safety leaving most textile workers exposed to the toxic dyes
  • Aura Herbal uses medicinally rich herbs for dying
  • Standard Certified (Global Organic Textiles)
  • 1% revenue is shared for social cause
  • Almost zero carbon footprint
  • Total recycling
  • Aura Herbal Textiles Ltd is certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
Find out more about Aura at http://www.auraherbalwear.com

The post first appeared in KenFolios - Only interesting stories.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why People Love These 6 Australians Who Made Way Into Indian Slums

As contrary to what you may think, 35,000 slums in India do not have access to electricity. Stunned, are you? Despite contributing to our economy, sweating it out in the urban workforce, their lives after 6 pm drown in darkness. Six young Australians are working towards changing this disgusting state.
Pollinate Energy is a start-up, founded in 2012, run by six under-30 Australians who quit their jobs to make a difference in lives of slum-dwellers who are the base of our economic pyramid.
Monique Alfrif, Emma Colenbrander, Katarina Kammorley, Ben Merven, Alexi Seller and Jamie Chivers have taken some decisive steps benefitting the urban slum communities devoid of electricity. They are producing affordable lighting products for the urban slums in India and looking to create sanitation products as well as cooking products in the near future.
  • The company sells solar-powered lamps to thousands of slums in India devoid of electricity
  • They worked for free for the first year to drive the project.
  • The start-up was in $50,000 debt in the beginning.
  • They turned the tide in their favor and now employ 45 local employees from the slums. The salaries exceed the workers' expectations.
  • For the slum dwellers, the lights are an expensive initial investment, but in the long run, it saves them money.
  • Pollinate Energy is not-for-profit, any profit made by it is injected back into the business to serve more slums in cities across India.
  • They have their head office in Bangalore and Melbourne.
Find out more about Pollinate Energy at www.pollinateenergy.org

The post first appeared in KenFolios - Only interesting stories.
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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Is This Real Life! What Air Nostess Never Tell You About Oxygen Masks

You may be aware of the emergency oxygen masks that the air hostess keeps mentioning. Have you ever wondered from where do these masks get oxygen during an emergency?
When airlines are looking for more ways to save operational costs and fill the plane to its maximum capacity, using bulky oxygen tanks on board is really impractical. So what do the airlines do? You will be surprised to know that these oxygen masks can create their own oxygen! No magic. Pure science.
In nature, there are many non-gaseous chemicals which are rich in oxygen, such as O3 present in sodium chlorate (chemical formula, NaClO3).
When sodium chlorate/ potassium perchlorate/ barium oxide is heated a little they quickly give off its oxygen atoms, thus allowing you to have the air to breathe. This is the reason the flight attendants give instruction to you to tug on the side flaps of the mask, which creates a small explosion to generate the required heat to make the chemical release its oxygen.
Typically, the chemical reaction lasts only for 20 minutes maximum. But this time is usually enough to descend the plane to an altitude where safe breathing is possible.
You must also remember that it takes only about 30 seconds to pass out in the airline cabin with dangerously low oxygen pressure. So, you have to put your mask on as soon as possible. The airplane video below can save your life in such situations.

The post first appeared in StoryBawl - Only interesting stories.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

How Mahavir Singh Phogat Churned Out Six Wrestling Champs From His Home

“What you are doing for your girls, you will see one day that it will bring you great happiness. So keep doing it, don’t be scared, face your difficulties like you face opponents, and be deaf to the criticism.” This is what Mahavir Singh Phogat‘s coach Padma Shri Chandgi Ram told him which gave him the strength to create world-class wrestlers out of his daughters.

A powerful Dangal trailer is out and has crossed 20 million views in five days. All because super daddy Mahavir Singh Phogat nurtured his four daughters and two daughters of his brother to fight against regressive societal norms set for women in Haryana. He pushed them to prove that medals and accolades follow sweat, blood and hard work, and not genders.

He is a real life hero who believed that it is not necessary to raise your daughter like a princess. Instead, he made them tough, brave and confident to face the battles of life in and outside the wrestling ring. All the six Phogat sisters are trained in wrestling by Mahavir Singh Phogat. While Geeta, Babita, and Vinesh are international players, Ritu has won the gold medal at the national championship and Priyanka and Sangita have won medals at an age-level international championship.

Mahavir was born in a remote Haryana village named Balali and was a renowned wrestler of his times. He defeated his opponents one after other and does not remember losing any fight. Despite passionate wrestler but failed at the top level of the game. However, he made sure his daughters bring the glory he could not achieve. People used to make fun of them as till then wrestling was only considered as a men’s sport.

Tough Master

Mahavir Singh has been awarded the Dronacharya Award by the Government of India this year for his exceptional wrestling and coaching skills. He was a tough coach who made the Phogat sisters work very hard.

“If we lost to them in a race or fell weak before them, father would hit us,” Geeta said in the Satyamev Jayate episode. “He would scold us too. We often think that if we had a coach like our father we would have never gone back. We would have come home.”

Mahavir made his daughter run on the fields and work as hard as the male wrestlers. When he could not find girls to practice with his daughters, Phogat got wrestler boys – a move which made the villagers furious as it was unimaginable to make girls compete with the opposite sex. Their struggle was by no means easy in a region that rages over gender roles and sexuality.

Inspired by a Woman

In 2000, when weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari won Olympics bronze for India, it inspired Mahavir to train his daughters to become world champions in wrestling. He believed that his daughters are equally capable of victory and took his daughters to Sports Authority of India centre in Sonipat for further training.

The post first appeared in KenFolios - Only interesting stories.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

UN Acclaims Ankit For Distributing Party Leftover Food To The Hungry

India is a land of celebrations where people rejoice with lights, colors; and delicious food – much of which is wasted after the party is over. Twenty-five-year-old Ankit Kawatra has been redistributing the left-over food to the poor and needy for which he has been selected by the United Nations for the inaugural class of Young Leaders for Sustainable Development.

“I worked in a global business advisory firm for two years. One day, I went to a celebrity wedding where there were around 10,000 people invited and more than 35 cuisines were laid for them. I decided to stay back to see what happened with the food. To my shock and despair, heaps of leftover food was thrown straight into the bin which could have fed 5,000 people just that single night,” Ankit says.

This led him to set up Feeding India, an NGO which claims to have fed 1 million meals with a network of 2,000 volunteers across 28 cities of India. The NGO was established in 2014 and the volunteers are known as hunger heroes. They work towards eradicating hunger and malnutrition in India by redistributing excess food from weddings, corporate, canteens, banquets, and households.

As part of the initiative, Ankit has undertaken several projects in the past two years, including an innovative idea of ‘The Magic Truck’, which is a 24X7 refrigerated vehicle moving around the city collecting and donating excess food.

The NGO has adopted many donation centers across the city as well as many self-run schools and shelter homes for children, elderly and specially-abled. They provide them with nutritious and well-balanced meals for free. You can also donate your excess food and provide monetary support to help Ankit in his Feeding India mission.

The post first appeared in KenFolios - Only interesting stories.
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