India ranks 20th on the Global Hunger Index. Food is definitely a major concern in the country, but more concerning is the lack of availability of micro-nutrients. Children bear the brunt of malnutrition the most, which is evidenced by the fact that India has the highest number of malnourished children, almost double the numbers in Sub Saharan Africa. The sight of malnourished children with their emaciated bodies across the country paints a grim picture of today.
We see their pitiable condition yet we hardly do anything to help. However, 26-year-old MV Ramesh has always been concerned about the condition of the malnourished kids and wanted to do something for them. Within a span of five years, he has been able to make a great impact.
Five years ago, Mahesh, then a student of PESIT, Bengaluru, came up with the idea of growing spirulina, a dietary supplement that will help the malnourished regain their nutrition. After PESIT, Mahesh went to Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysore, to study about spirulina and found that it is 100% natural, cost effective and can be the best solution for malnutrition as India is also the largest exporter of spirulina in the world. The studies gave Mahesh the impetus to his idea and he became a full-time spirulina cultivator in Tumakuru district of Karnataka.
What is Spirulina and how it is helpful?
Spirulina is a single celled organism with spiral physical configuration that comes from the blue green freshwater algae. Mahesh says “ If you consider protein, milk has 4%, beet, jowar has 8%, meat and egg have 14-18%, while spirulina has more than 65% protein. Vitamin A deficiency is the major problem in India. Spirulina has 25 times more Vitamin A than carrots. Iron content is 50 times more in spirulina than in spinach. It has DHA, and also has vitamin b12, which is not available in any plant source.”
“I wanted to take spirulina to the common people. So I took the initiative to a local orphanage with 110 kids. I found every week that at least 8-10 kids were going to the hospital due to issues caused by malnutrition. But after taking Spirulina every day, no body went to hospital for the next three months,” Ramesh told The Logical Indian.
He founded the Spirulina Foundation and connected with Department of Women & Child Development to improve the nutritional status of malnourished children and lactating mothers. Then, it transformed to an idea of a social enterprise. “With the help of Karnataka Government, several initiatives were laid in Tumakuru, Hassan and Raichur districts. The project was also reached out to the flood hit areas of Uttarakhand in 2014, where there was a dearth of food.” said Ramesh.
The Government of Karnataka introduced a new scheme called Bala Poshna, which aims to provide spirulina as a nutritional supplement to 25,000 kids suffering from acute malnutrition as part of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
The Logical Indian congratulates and commends Mr Ramesh for paving a way to help end malnutrition, and hopes more people join in to change and save lives.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.