A group of 55 students of class 10 from a Mumbai school has set up a crowdfunding initiative has to provide assistance to small farmers in Marathwada. The initiative would help the farmers to set up a basic brick and mortar storage facility which has been designed by a startup based in the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
This storage facility will enable the small farmers to store all their production for almost a week amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The students involved in the initiative are from the Bombay Scottish School, Mahim who have planned to raise ₹16 lakh that will provide aid to more than 100 farmers of Marathwada to establish a Subjee Cooler designed by Rukart Technologies.
"While a unit can be set up at ₹30,000, many farmers do not have the funds at their disposal owing to the effects of the lockdown on the markets," Hindustan Times quoted Vikas Jha, founder of Rukart as saying.
He also spoke about their plan to finance for half the price then farmers would agree to pay the other half.
During a workshop at Bombay Scottish School with "Fuel a Dream," which is crowd-funding platform, the students discovered the trouble faced by the farmers. Each student will raise ₹30,000 to help at least two farmers to set up Subjee Coolers.
Several students have already met their required objectives and even surpassed their targets which will help to fund more farmers in the coming days. Auroni Gupta, a student associated with the campaign claimed that social media played a major role in the contributions.
"I honestly went into the campaign thinking I'd barely touch the goal of Rs 30000 and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I'm currently at ₹1,29,100. The first day, I texted and called close friends and relatives about the campaign," Auroni said. Till now, ₹13.87 lakh has been raised by the students.
The SubjeeCooler just needs watering once a day and operates on the principle of evaporative cooling. Jha said that the temperature of the cooling chamber is lower than the temperature of the ambience by a margin of 5-15 degrees Celsius and maintains the high relative humidity of above 85%-95% inside the cooling chamber. The vegetable crops stay fresh and preserved inside the chamber for five-eight days due to the low temperature and high humidity.
Ranganath Thota, Founder of "Fuel a Dream" who also teaches the skill of crowdfunding to students said, "Rukart and a Pune-based non-profit Swayam Sikashan Prayog, got in touch with us about the farmers in Marathwada. We have been doing workshops with students across the country and the students at Bombay Scottish showed interest. That's how the initiative took off."