Subhadip Mukherjee at a glance
Leading change to make the world a better place
Subhadip Mukherjee has designed and developed several technology enabled projects to make the world a better place for others.
Whenever I see pain and suffering around me, I feel the urge to help. It started a few years ago when I came across a newspaper report in the Times of India concerning the plight of the daughters of tea garden workers who were lured to big cities with the promise of employment. But once there, they were sold to brothels!
Understanding that the lack of job opportunities was behind this malaise, I embarked on my first social project, which I called Maha Jiban. I knew I had to empower these young people with skills. With my own funds, I hired a professional bamboo craftsman to train the youth of Chalsa village of Dooars, in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Along with a few other supporters, we trained around 200 young people to produce quality handicrafts using bamboo. In the next four years, we helped them market their products; not only by connecting to local markets, but also by helping them to navigate the complex world of wholesale and overseas buyers. In the end, we were able to open a shop at a tourist location which they could run independently.
“I was involved in several other initiatives via Maha Jiban”
I was involved in several other initiatives via Maha Jiban. For example, I came face to face with a sick woman and child begging for a living. Something pulled me towards them. I arranged medical help for the mother and visited their hut regularly.
Despite all our efforts, the mother did not survive that winter. We took the child, now an orphan, and enrolled her in an orphanage in Kolkata. I visited her regularly and we are still in touch. My blog about this experience on social website Quora was extremely popular – catapulting me into 8th most viewed writer on the topic ‘Charitable Giving’!
I helped a woman with broken ribs – assisting her in getting back to health and aiding her in setting up her own business through my organization. I was able to arrange an asylum for a homeless and mentally deranged woman by directly tweeting to Maneka Gandhi, the Union Minister for Woman and Child Development at that time.
Medical advice in remote regions
Going further and linking to technology, I have been working on setting up an internet portal connecting medical experts with the rural masses of India. Most of the remote areas in India are now well-connected in terms of internet services but access to healthcare remains erratic.
To counter this, I have pioneered the idea of a portal (http://www.mahajiban.org/medical) interconnecting volunteer medical professionals who can give preventive and advisory services. This is not supposed to replace consultation with medical professionals, but it does bring valuable information to vulnerable sections of society.
Close to my heart is a current education project. During my stay in North Bengal, I came across a lady who started a school for the children of daily wage earners in the area. When the school contacted me for help, I donated the prize money I received from ‘Ei Samay’ (Bengali daily of Times of India) to purchase educational resources and to improve basic facilities of a school. I also gave them an iPad which I purchased in Stockholm.
I have been interacting with the children regularly via Skype. I was fortunate enough to find a dedicated and passionate individual to manage the video-conferencing facilities in this remote location. Using the website Milaap (https://milaap.org/fundraisers/tribal-school), I crowd-sourced funds for this community run institution.
Building up a community of like-minded individuals
Fortunately, this idea has expanded and we now have eight individuals teaching 100+ children. Many more have expressed interest in being part of this collective effort or have felt inspired to set up similar initiatives. My sense of accomplishment stems from the fact that a simple idea such as this one when executed well can yield astounding results.
What I want to focus on is building up a community of like-minded, passionate and motivated people. I want to empower them with my ideas, collaborate with them on social initiatives and help them raise funds. Ultimately, my aim is to inspire people, entice them to explore and execute projects on their own terms.
A superstar’s message to us all:
While I am a ‘techie’ by profession, I’m also a compassionate human being. These two aspects are complementary and can work together brilliantly for the benefit of humanity. I want to encourage all of you, my friends and colleagues, to unleash your humanitarian side and make your mark in society. Yes, one person can make a difference and positively alter the lives of thousands to make our world a better place!