Kubera-Edelweiss Social Innovation Honours awards 3 Indian organizations

Anjali, Azad Foundation and Samata are the winners for their innovative and outstanding work for the Girl Child in the fields of Health, Employability and Education. Here are the descriptions of each social entrepreneurship organization:

Anjali: Focusing on mental health issues of mothers and daughters in Kolkata, Anjali has been awarded top honors in Health.

Azad Foundation: Located in Delhi, Azad nabbed the Employability category by training girls from the slums to become professional taxi drivers.

Samata: Finally, Samata provides an innovative education and research curriculum for tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh.

For more information on the Kubera-Edelweiss Social Innovation Honours, check out their website here.

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Treating More than Diarrhea

During the course of my work with SEWA Rural, a community health organization in rural Gujarat, India, I often wondered how mental health concerns would ever gain traction in a climate where community members suffered, and sometimes died from, such common ailments as diarrhea or anemia. Those with mental health problems (whether diagnosed or not), were considered “hopeless”, and as a result, did not receive the medical attention they deserved.

In the case of individuals suffering from depression, their family members would often dismiss their behaviour as erratic, or if the condition worsened, would use derogatory terms such as “ganda/gandi” (crazy in Gujarati) to characterize them. In one particular instance, a young girl who had recently undergone a painful pregnancy and premature delivery suddenly withdrew, and simply stopped speaking, even refusing, at times, to breastfeed her baby. In response, her family lapsed into denial, and insisted that she was faking her condition. Upon our first visit, it became apparent that the girl was suffering from postpartum depression, and needed love and attention in order to overcome her depression. After repeated visits, one-sided conversations, and hand-cooked meals, she reluctantly smiled and uttered her first few words – “Don’t go…”

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