A charitable organisation founded by billionaire NRI entrepreneur Manoj Bhargava has pledged Rs 500 crore to fund development activities in Uttarakhand.
On the occasion of its fifth anniversary, the Hans Foundation, which works closely with NGOs by providing them financial assistance in 25 states, announced the decision at a function here last evening.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has welcomed the initiative.
“I am inquisitively waiting for the project to start. A lot of work is being done by the organisation in the state at the individual level. Thousands of people are being helped especially in healthcare sector where they have established two hospitals in Kotdwar and Haridwar already,” Rawat told PTI.
The contribution of Rs 500 crore, a part of foundation’s ‘Uttarakhand 2020’ project to be given to the state over a period of six years, is set to be ploughed into works to significantly improve the quality of low-income communities in the state.
The project focuses on malnourishment, disease prevention, clean drinking water, effective agricultural programmes in villages, primary healthcare services, education and environment regeneration with introduction of smokeless stove in every household villages by 2020.
The Chief Minister said his government would fully support the programmes and noted that together with NGOs, they can do a lot to benefit the common man.
Manoj Bhargav said, “Basic needs of people in poor areas especially in villages need to be dealt and development for them should be done at the ground level.”
Bhargav is the founder of ‘5-Hour Energy’- a popular energy drink in the US.
Co-founder and chairperson of the foundation, Shweta Rawat, said that Uttarakhand was chosen because “it is one of the most beautiful places in India which needs large-scale development initiatives that will improve the quality of life of people especially children living in villages in the state.”
The Chief Minister also said that the state government was reviewing more such projects.
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Hans Foundation Unveils ‘Uttarakhand 2020’ – A Rs. 500 Cr. Village Development Project
Disease Prevention, Children’s Education & Forest Regeneration to be Primary Campaign Goals for Uttarakhand 2020
During its 5-year anniversary celebrations, The Hans Foundation today announced ‘Uttarakhand 2020’, a comprehensive statewide development program, focusing on disease prevention, children’s education and forest regeneration in Uttarakhand. The project is designed to significantly improve the quality of life of the low-income communities of the entire state. A set of carefully selected programs will be scaled up in one of the nation’s most powerful village development campaigns. NRI billionaire Manoj Bhargava, co-founder of The Hans Foundation, has pledged Rs. 500 Crores to fund Uttarakhand 2020.
The Hans Foundation 5th anniversary celebration featured a high-octane performance by popular Bollywood singer, Kailash Kher. Also in attendance, were numerous philanthropists, senior government officials including Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar, Ex Uttarakhand CM Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri, Rajya Sabha MP Murli Deora, Rajya Sabha MP Ajay Sancheti, Lok Sabha MP Anurag Thakur, former cricketer Kapil Dev, and other social contributors to The Hans Foundation.
Making the announcement, Manoj Bhargava, Co-founder, The Hans Foundation said, “We have created pockets of change in each of the 25 states where The Hans Foundation has worked. We are now pooling the best of what we have learned and scaling it up in Uttarakhand. By the year 2020, we aim to create a massive change across Uttarakhand in one of the nation’s most powerful village development programs.”
“We chose Uttarakhand because it is the birthplace of the Mother Ganges, the cradle of Indian civilization, and a place most in need of large-scale development initiatives that will improve the quality of children’s education and reduce the prevalence of major diseases throughout the state,” said Sweta Rawat, Co-founder & Chairperson, The Hans Foundation.
The Hans Foundation’s revolutionary approach to health is designed at two ends; prevention and treatment.
The two major causes of diseases in India are malnourishment and a lack of access to clean drinking water.
* Malnourishment is the single largest contributing factor to disease in the world. A healthy nutritious diet is almost impossible for hundreds of millions of Indian farmers, due to poor harvests, lack of storage facilities, inefficient access to markets, and subsequent poverty. The Hans Foundation will bring in the most effective agricultural programs in the world to thousands of villages in Uttarakhand. The poor will be well fed, healthy and will likely see a 100-200 percent increase in agricultural-based income.
* A UN study has reported that people who have water-borne illness occupy 50 percent of the world’s hospital beds. The Hans Foundation has developed a cheap bicycle-driven system in which even a young child can filter water at a rate of 1000L/hour. Viruses and bacteria are filtered out, rendering the water clean. The system can be fixed by any average bicycle repairman and provides clean water at a cheaper rate than any other system available today. The system will be installed in every village in Uttarakhand with contaminated water sources.
* A combination of these two programs may decrease disease rates by over 50 percent. To address the remaining need for health services, The Hans Foundation will expand its existing hub and spoke model to provide primary healthcare/emergency care access on a regular basis to the villages in Uttarakhand by 2020.
Mid-day meals are known to significantly increase attendance levels in classrooms. They also feed children a nutritious meal, that otherwise may not be available to them. The Hans Foundation will fund the construction and operation of massive state-of-the- art kitchens to provide mid-day meals to hundreds of thousands of children across Uttarakhand.
In addition, The Hans Foundation has committed to fund computer training courses in 500 schools in the state, bringing a highly vital skill to thousands of underprivileged children.
Improving the quality of education requires investments in teacher training as well as creating environments that foster growth and learning in children. Additional large-scale programs will be taken on to increase the state educational productivity of Uttarakhand.
Millions of people across India burn firewood in inefficient and smoke-producing stoves to cook every day.
* The felling of trees gives way to massive deforestation, soil erosion, and landslides.
* In many cases, indoor air pollution in these homes can be 100 times higher than limits set by the WHO. In India, millions die every year due to indoor air pollution. Among other diseases, indoor air pollution causes heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, acute pneumonia in children, and blindness.
* Half of all black carbon emissions in South Asia come from inefficient cook stoves. Black carbon disrupts the monsoons, and accelerates the melting of Himalayan glaciers.
To address these issues The Hans Foundation intends to provide a smokeless stove to every household in Uttarakhand that needs it. Smokeless stoves are known to reduce firewood usage by 30-40 percent, cut black carbon emissions by 50-90 percent, cut disease rates, and significantly reduce the time it takes to cook a meal.
The Hans Foundation’s ‘Uttarakhand 2020’ project will change the lives of millions in Uttarakhand. The Hans Foundation will actively advocate for and fund similar pilot projects in other states across India. This will facilitate awareness and adoption of best practices in other states. The Hans Foundation extends an open invitation to other NGOs and government agencies in the upcoming years to observe the results of The Hans Foundation’s revolutionary project.