Philanthropic endeavors by nature are a calling, a work of passion and a commitment to serve the communities which have nurtured us and offered an opportunity to raise our families and lead productive lives. The WHEELS ‘family’ of volunteers, donors, recipients, well-wishers and supporters are an inspiration for continuing to live by our tag line for scaling philanthropy by applying technology solutions to the most pressing problems for clean, potable water, affordable healthcare, education, energy, rural livelihoods and sustainability.

Our periodic gatherings are akin to ‘stakeholders meeting’ where we get an opportunity to not only showcase the work we have achieved together, such as the progress made by the Wheels India Niswarth (WIN) Foundation launched in 2017 or the many projects completed together with our partner organizations like Sevak, Spoke Tutorials and Pukar, but also explore the road ahead. It is an opportunity for the many volunteers and leaders to get your feedback and inputs and learn from each other. That is why we hosted a “conference” on Leveraging technology to find solutions for Rare Diseases, on Policy and Governance and Women’s Forum addressing the many challenges they face for education, livelihoods, prenatal care etc. We hope such dialog and exchanges will translate to larger impact for every ‘philanthropic dollar’ and activity. We are also proud to publish an open framework for “Smart Village” authored by Ambassador Pradeep Kapur and Dr. Kavita Kapur in association with WIN foundation, IEEE and WHEELS Charitable Foundation (India) with inputs from several other NGOs.

I wish to thank everyone for their time and participation and also to those who are unable to join us but offered their support throughout the year to make our mission to find ‘Technology Enabled Solutions’ achievable. I wish to thank the active collaboration by the many Indian Institutes of Technology in the projects undertaken by us. Finally, thanks to our donors, sponsors and for the countless hours put in by our board members, volunteers and event Chairs to make this endeavor event possible. I am looking forward to our continued association and engagement in the coming year.


Suresh Shenoy
President, WHEELS Global Foundation

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April 2018

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.

Regards,

Suresh Shenoy

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