From starting a business in the late 1940s to the rise of nano-entrepreneurs – the best social stories of the week

Nalini Nagappa Shetty, a areca nut grower from Karnataka, who became an entrepreneur in her late forties, showing that it is never too late to start a business.

Udhyam Vyapaar works with nano-entrepreneurs to maximize human potential, create an entrepreneurial mindset and give them the means to intervene and products to develop their business.

Horrified by the large number of toothbrushes scattered around the city after the Chennai floods, three friends – Karthick Solai KS, Arjun T and Harrish Kandan – started Earth to produce durable goods.

This week, Social history also discussed the hybrid education model – windfall or plague with several teachers and students.

Here are the best social stories of the week:

Nalini Nagappa Shetty and his family have been cultivating areca nuts for generations. The 51-year-old resident of Udyama Nagar lives with her husband, two daughters and a son.

When her husband fell ill, she became the sole breadwinner and worked in the fields. However, the money she earned from harvesting the areca nuts was not enough to support the family, and Nalini decided that she had to take a new approach to increase her income.

She joined a self-help group called Supriya in 2016, which ran an entrepreneurship program promoted by an NGO called Manuvikasa. The NGO empowers women through various programs for sustainable livelihoods. During the training, the women learned how to start their own business and make it financially viable.

My name is Pitta Rajani and I am 28 years old. I live with my family in the village of Kandriga, in the district of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. We face frequent financial difficulties and I worked in the sex trade to help my family. My husband’s job as a day laborer also did not bring in enough money. Once the pandemic started, things turned from bad to worse and we both lost our incomes.

While in lockdown, I didn’t have a job, and had to take out a loan to make ends meet. I contacted a private lender named Soubhagya * and took her a loan of Rs 20,000. She realized how desperate our situation was and demanded interest of Rs 10 for Rs 100. We had no choice. so we accepted.

Read Rajani’s story.

Hybrid education is a combination of in-person or offline learning and virtual or online learning methods. In this model, online resources replace parts of the curriculum that would otherwise have been taught in the classroom.

The model, although still in its early stages of implementation, has proven to have several advantages, the most important of which is flexibility. Without the constraints of a single classroom, there is significant potential to rethink the way a course is taught, the way students access study material and interact with instructors and other learners.

One of the main challenges in adapting to the hybrid model will be to ensure equal engagement and collaboration. With half of the students study online and the other half are studying in class, coordination can be difficult.

Here’s what teachers and students have to say about the hybrid education model.

Co-founders Harrish Kandan, Arjun T and Kathick Solai

Karthick Solai KS, Arjun T and Harrish Kandan – alumni of Loyola College, Chennai – dreamed of making a lot of money. They then wanted to start a business together that could help them earn millions of dollars in the future.

However, during the tragic Chennai floods in 2015, things have changed for them. People lost their homes and many were completely inundated. While helping to clean up the city, they saw a whole pile of trash – single-use plastic bags, plastic bottles and cups and, most importantly, toothbrushes.

The friends decided to tackle this problem through their business Terrabrush, which they started in 2018. To begin with, they started selling bamboo toothbrushes. Terrabrush, now called Earth, is an eco-friendly startup that presents and sells a range of sustainable products, which can be reused and recycled.

Representation image

Udhyam Vyapaar is an NGO and a welfare branch of the Udhyam Learning Foundation, which works with nano-entrepreneurs or “vyapaaris” to maximize human potential, create an entrepreneurial spirit and empower them to intervene and produce to develop their business.

They also help them to sustainably increase their income and to work in several states, including Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam, and others.

They believe that more often than not it is a necessity that motivates these micro-entrepreneurs, which gives them the perseverance and the will to succeed.

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