5 Women whose Social Innovations changed the World

Social innovators in India are making progress against varied social problems such as the lack of high-quality education, limited access to clean water and hygiene, and inadequate nutrition. Some of these social innovators are woman entrepreneurs and are among the most powerful women in India. However, you maybe surprised at how young some woman entrepreneurs are.

On the occasion of Women’s Day, we at Impact Guru are celebrating successful women entrepreneurs whose social innovations have transformed the world we live in.

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Shalini Kumari

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Moved by the plight of her grandfather who was unable to use the stairs due to the limitations of his walker, 12 year old Shalini Kumari determinedly set about to rectify the situation.

She came up with the design of a walker with a spring and self-locking front legs. The user has to push the front legs of the walker on the upper stair and the rear legs rest on the lower stair which makes the walker stable and strong enough to hold the weight on it, enabling the user to climb the stairs.

This adjustable walker also has a foldable seat, a horn and a light attached to it. The walker can take up to 100 kg weight and can be adjusted to different environments.

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Shweta Sharma & Jaskiran Goraya

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These two Class 9 students from Jalandhar came up with the idea of putting a layer of liquid that degenerates the covering membrane and spoils the tablet after the expiry date. Shweta came up with the idea after discovering many expired tablets at her house and worrying that she might have consumed one at some point.

Jaskiran saw a TV serial in which an illiterate person gave expired medicines to a patient which worsened his condition. Jaskiran felt that she needed to find a technique to help an illiterate person find out if the medicine has expired or not. So her idea was to make the medicine box/packaging such that it changes colour once it expired.

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Remya Jose

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The pedal-powered washing machine cum exercise machine, featured in the film 3 Idiots, was inspired by the invention of 20-year-old Remya Jose from Kerala, which has also been showcased on the Discovery Channel.

During her 10th standard, her mother fell ill and her father was undergoing medical treatment. Remya had to change three buses while going to and coming from school and spent about two hours each way. As there was no washing machine at home, the chore of doing the laundry fell on her and her twin sister. Instead of wishing futilely for a washing machine, she decided to try her hand at making one during her vacations!

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Ajaita Shah

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Ajaita Shah spent the past eight years working in microfinance and clean energy distribution in India. Born in Scarsdale, New York, to Indian parents, Shah now lives in India full time.

She founded Frontier Markets in 2010 to provide more than 300 rural Indian villages with access to clean energy products, as well as training and services for those products. In lieu of a grid that creates equitable power distribution, she’s promoting the benefits of solar energy and making it easily available to people.

The achievement of these social innovators demonstrates the power of educated women. If we empower more women with education and opportunity, the list of their innovations is only likely to increase. In turn, these innovations could be key to finding solutions to problematic issues in India.

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