WHEELS for Change | April, 2018
Welcome to my blog, WHEELS for Change. As the President of the WHEELS Global Foundation (WGF), I look forward to sharing my insights into our goals, our progress, the role of technology in providing solutions to ongoing issues in rural communities globally.
WGF was founded by U.S.-based alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in 2013. IIT is a tech-focused university system, and our alumni community is very active in the technology and engineering professions. We were inspired by the late Dr. Abdul Kalam, then president of India, when he spoke to the 2006 Pan-IIT conference. He encouraged the IIT alumni community to use what we learned in college to give back and drive change. To best match our expertise with our philanthropy goals, WGF decided our motto would be “Technology Enabled Philanthropy.” What we ask ourselves as a Foundation is, how can we use technology to improve the lives of people living in rural areas?
My goal as the incoming President for WGF is to make this an institution that will live beyond our lifetime and continue to inspire innovation and application of technology to solve real world challenges. We will of course continue working collaboratively with the Indian Institutes of Technology and other similar institutions in the U.S.
To highlight International Women’s Day, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UN Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme led talks discussing how empowering women and greater equality are tied to long-term economic stability. One important technology they noted was how mobile phone access helps bridge the gap many women in rural areas face.
We want to be part of the technology future that is spreading across the globe, led in part by some of the organizations mentioned above. As part of that effort, WGF and WHEELS Charitable Foundation India worked in partnership with Spoken Tutorial Project, IIT Bombay and Sunrise Computer Software Pvt. Ltd to launch a new app designed to help new mothers. Child deaths and cognitive losses resulting from improper techniques of breastfeeding and lack of proper nutrition to the mother and child in India are estimated to cost $14 billion dollars annually, states the Times of India. By empowering women with knowledge about correct breastfeeding techniques the app aims to reduce infant mortality.
We believe projects like this best meet our motto: Technology Enabled Philanthropy. As I humbly take over as President, I look forward to what 2018 will bring and how we can assist the most vulnerable among us.
I hope you join us on this journey. With your support and donations, we can aid rural communities across the world. Please keep reading WHEELS for Change and share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.