We Can't Do It Alone , We Need Your Support

We Can't Do It Alone , We Need Your Support
To Provide awareness regarding Girl Child Education , Menstrual Hygiene ,Girls Toilet , Sanitation and Safe Drinking Water , to thousands of families to make there lives Healthy and Happier !!! Please Support Our Fundraising Campaign To Reach Out To 25,000 Targeted Families In 5 States of India PLEASE MAKE THIS PICTURE YOUR COVER PAGE JUST FOR A DAY AT LEAST ! DONATE & SHARE

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Gap in purchasing power among income groups in India




One of the biggest challenge India has to deal with is inequalities. Indeed, according to a report (Credit Suisse,2015) the richest 1% Indians owned 53% of the country’s wealthwhile the share of the top 10% was 76.30% which means that 90% of India own less than a quarter of the country’s wealth. Moreover, the scenario is quite dramatic if we consider that this trend has been increasing for the last decades. In fact, in 2000, the share of the richest 1% in national wealth was 36.80% and that of the top 10% was 65.9%.A report from the Work Bank on the Water and Sanitation Program (1999) and an article from the Hindustrantimes (2015) shows us a pivotal point that needs to be seriously discussed. This is the government willingness to reduce inequalities among the population and particularly, the inconsistent electoral promises.
Indeed, despite the propaganda, food and fuel prices continue to soar, the agrarian crisis is deepening and the rural India’s average daily wage rate is falling drastically as well as the consequent rising unemployment is leading to a lower purchasing power and an overall fall in the domestic demand. Moreover, basic needs such as drinking water is 10 to 20 times more expensive for poor people than it is for rich. Government subsidies accounts for 40 billion Rupees per year, but most of the benefits go the better off and the investments are far below of what is needed.
Indian Government uses purchasing power parity (PPP) index instead of per capita income in order to indicate the wealth distribution among India so to give to international investors confidence and a sense of stability by depicting a misleading picture . Indeed, 



with the first criteria, the per capita income in 2006 was $830, while with the second criteria was about $4000. By using the PPP index India ranks 7th among the most developed economies in the world in 2018. However, several issues need to be discussed.
India is living in a dual economy. Indeed, it belongs at the same time to the first world and to the third one thus, we have twoPPP indexes according to the different world that we are looking at. The gap among those two is overwhelming and talking about mean or per capita referred to India as overall is complex as well as pointless exercise.
Most of the time the poorest are treated as an “accident”. An hindrance to the economic development, a class almost forgotten.  According to the UNDP,  80,4% of the population lives with less than 2$ per day, only 61% of the population is capable of read and write (73,4% are men and 47,8% are women). Infant mortality rate is 56 every 1000 births and undernourishment has reached the 20%.
The picture we can draw is the following. India is a country that is pursuing a double trajectory with strong contradictions. On one side, the country is moving towards an ever industrialized trend on the attempt to reach a place among the most industrialized economies of the world while, on the other side, the country is “ dragging behind the water” the poorest part of the population to whom  economy could be considered Medieval.
The so called “trickle-down theory”  which states that economic benefits provided to upper income level earners will help society as a whole as their extra wealth will be spent into the economy, providing wealth for lower income earners and creating jobs, in realty is not working. Indeed, it deepened the PPP gap among rich and poor.
A study carried out by McKinsey, based on the National Council of Applied Economic Research in India has identified five main categories.
1.    Deprived ( less than 90.000, below 1700€)
1.    Aspirers (90.000-200.000, 1700-3800€)

2.    Seekers (200.000-500.000, 3800-9000€) 
SStrivers (500.000-1.000.000, 9000-18.000€)
  Globals (over 1.000.000)   



The graphic depict the % of people belonging to the a certain income class. Income inequalities are barely reducing if we consider the economics growth India is facing (real GDP growth rate is 7.5%, 5th in the world) or at least at very lower rate compared to the “miracle” is confronting itself. This lead to the conclusion that growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty. Indeed, two French economists, Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel, compared India’s income disparities nowadays and during the colonialism era in an article called  «Indian income inequality, 1922-2014: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?». Results were dramatic. Currentincome inequality is as broad as during the British Empire and according to a study carried out by the Pew Research Center in 2015 the real Indian middle class is only 2% of the whole population.Deepak Nayyar, Professor Of Economics at the New Delhi University, argues that the misleading presumption that economic growth and economic efficiency are necessary and sufficient to improve the living conditions of people is still deeply entrenched in economics labour has changed the nature of labour since it reduced thebargaining power of trade unions. Inflation management has turned into obsession for manycountries so much so that governments have been forced to adopt deflationary macroeconomicpolicies that have reduced employment. Financial liberalization has created huge publicand private debt so that a new renter class has emerged and the concentration in the ownership offinancial assets has worsened the income distribution. Moreover, global competition has led largeinternational firms to consolidate market power through mergers and acquisitions which hasbecome more oligopolistic than competitive. Competition for export markets and foreigninvestment between countries has lead to an unequal distribution of gain from trade and investment(Nayyar 2003).
Globalization has created opportunities for some people and some countries but for many others hasbrought about risks and threats as well as an increase in both poverty and inequalities. Thedistribution of benefits and costs are uneven and unequal. There are some winners, mostly in richcountries and many losers in both the industrialized and developing world. It is possible to depictwho the winners and the losers are if we consider human beings, firms and economies. From thefirst category, we find as winners asset-owners, profit-earners, those with professional, managerialand technical skills while losers are asset-less, wage-earners, debtors, uneducated, semiskilled orunskilled people. Concerning firms, large, international, global, risk-taker and technology-leaders
triumph over small, domestic, local, risk-averse and technology-followers. Lastly, in economies,capital-exporters, technology-exporters, net lenders, nations with strong physical and humaninfrastructure are the winners, while capital-importers, technology importers, net borrowers andthose with weak physical and human infrastructures are the losers (Nayyar 2003: 72-80).When people cannot join the paradise of consumerism, alienation and frustration prevail. Thisexclusion is socially harmful. In fact, some seek refuge in drugs, crime, violence, religiousfundamentalism and cultural chauvinism. However, outcomes are not always as extreme. It couldintensify social tension and provoke social fragmentation within countries.

CONCLUSION
To an equal extend, income and purchasing power inequalities can be projected to water inequalities. The very first fundamental need.  Government cannot turn a blind eye on this issue. Indeed, the problem could be tackled in different ways.
1.    Make inequality a political Campaign. In fact, those inequalities are neither acceptable nor sustainable any longer among the population.  Water needs to be available to the whole population at the same price, frequency and quality. Thus, making development inclusive is pivotal if not essential. Safe drinking water and sanitation are fundamental to human development and wellbeing and inadequate access to clean water undermines people’s nutrition and health through water-borne diseases and chronic intestinal infections. In this way, rich and privileged people will be healthier while the deprived and unlucky ones sicker and a with lower life expectancy.

Introduce land reforms and raise taxation for the wealthy. Preventing monopoly of control over water, forest and mineral resources will be of greater help. Moreover, the equality of opportunity needs to increase through good quality and universal public provision of essential amenities and social services. In addition, raising public resources could happen by taxing the wealthy more and by increasing the taxation 1.    of corporations which took enormous advantages from the boom and doubled their share, but they have not been taxed accordingly.
Moreover, by depriving people from drinkable water the globally recognized human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is infringed. A Fully implementation of those rights is required. What is the rationale of some people having more rights than others to enjoy basic needs?.

-Stefano 
WASH Intern 

REFERENCES:

Anil Padmanabhan (2015), “India’s next big challenge: inequality”, [online]<https://www.livemint.com/Opinion/lJIQmqwIltTJSqruSaVsAO/Indias-next-big-challenge-inequality.html>[Data access: 10th July 2018].

Antonio Armellini (2017), L'elefante ha messo le ali: L'India del XXI secolo.
Lucas Chancel Thomas Piketty (2017),«Indian income inequality, 1922-2014: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?».
Matteo Miavaldi (2017),In India la disuguaglianza economica รจ tornata ai livelli dell'Impero,[online]< https://eastwest.eu/it/opinioni/elefanti-a-parte/in-india-disparita-di-reddito-ai-livelli-del-british-raj > [Data access: 10th July 2018].

Nayyar, Deepak (2003), Globalization and Development, in H.-J. Chang, Rethinking Development
Economics, Anthem Press, p. 60-80.

Lyla, Mehta (2015), “Without ensuring universal access to water, there can be no food security,[online]<https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/may/15/water-access-food-security-land-issues-nutrition-policymaking> [Data access: 10th July 2018].

Holly Young (2014), “13 ways to tackle inequality in India,[online]<https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/apr/22/india-elections-tackling-inequality-advice> [Data access: 10th July 2018].



Friday, 6 July 2018

RETHINKING DEVELOPMENT


1.    INTRODUCTION
It needs to be clear from the beginning that there are different ways of organising an economic system and countries should be able to do this in a way that suits them best - economically and socially. However, in the last 30 years, we have been told that there is only one way - the American-style free-market way (Chang : 2003). Alternatives do exist.
Neoliberalism has become the hegemonic form of governance in the international arena, even though there is increasing dissatisfaction due to its terrible economic performance, particularly in developing countries such as India under strong pressure by major institutions and rich countries that, through aids and loans, set difficult conditions and make them their puppets. Neoliberal globalisation is basically a system that ensures the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. They feel a great pressure to adopt a set of 'good policies' and institutions' to foster their economic development. ‘Good policies' are the ones prescribed by the ‘Washington Consensus’ and promoted by major international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the US Treasury Department. They include liberalisation of international trade and investment, privatisation, deregulation and restrictive macroeconomic policy. These policies and institutions are currently being recommended to developing countries but are not the same as those adopted by the developed countries when they themselves were developing.
INDUSTRIAL, TRADE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICIES (ITT)
                          
In Kicking Away The Ladder, Chang uses history to assess the range of strategies deployed by NDCs when they were in catch-up position. As Chang (2002a) highlights most countries used industrial, trade and technology policies (ITT) in order to promote infant industries. Some countries, such as the US and UK kept on pursuing activist policies even after they had successfully achieved their desired position. Governments made wide use of tariff protection, duty drawbacks and subsidies in order to encourage exports, public investment programmes and industrial subsidies, especially in infrastructure but also in manufacturing. By giving financial support for education, training, research and development, governments were willing to develop domestic technological capabilities in order to gain competitive advantage (Chang 2002a: 18).
These were the policies used by NDCs. Today, they are paradoxically and simultaneously the very ones NDCs strongly disapprove, if not ban through multilateral and bilateral agreements.
What we are experiencing today was already happening at the time of unequal treaties when powerful Western countries, particularly Britain, forced poor countries such as India and Japan to accept conditions which could never have been advantageous to them (Chang 2002a). They were asked to open up their market and brutally cut back tariff barriers even though they were not at the same level of development. These requests could only have been fair and useful to foster progress if applied to countries at the same level of development. Thus, “levelling the playing field" should be a primary concern.

An example for the history will help us to understand the dynamic. When USA accorded over 40% average tariff protection to its industries in the late 19th Century, its per capita income in purchasing power parity (PPP) was around three-quarters that of Britain. Compared with this, India set the trade-weighted average tariff rate at 71% just before the WTO agreement while its per capita income in PPP terms was only 1/15 that of the USA. However, following the WTO agreement, India had to cut back its trade-weighted average tariff to 32% (2002a: 27-28). Thus, depriving the country of its tariff autonomy has contributed to further impoverishment and was a considerable handicap (Chang 2002a:52-55) in addition to a reduction in tax collection.

The currently recommended package of 'good policies'  which include free trade and other laissez faire ITT policies, clashes with the historical experience since they were not used by the countries that are now recommending them when they were at the same level of development (Chang 2002a). The US and UK, the two nations which supposedly climbed the edge of the world economy through free-market and free-trade policies, are the countries that have mostly used subsidies and protection (Chang 2002a: 59). England went from being an exporter of raw wool to Low Countries to being the world leader in that sector and the hegemony power of the world becoming the promoter of so called "bad policies" that are claimed to be hindrances for development. Thus, it happened that when NDCs reached the technological frontier and joined the league, they used a set of policies in order to leave behind existing and potential competitors. Britain, due to the length for which it retained the position of ‘frontier economy’ is the most obvious example however, other countries deployed the very same strategy when they could. In fact, the same disappointment may be express today, when American trade negotiations glorify the virtues of free trade to the developing countries by forgetting history and how they became such a powerful country.
In a substantial article, Kasrils (2013), a South African politician, blames himself and the South African government for having opened up the doors to further deprivation when Neoliberal policies were "embraced" in South Africa. As he states:

[...] Extremely tight budgetary obligations were instituted that would tie the hands of any future governments; obligations to implement a free-trade policy and abolish all forms of tariff protection in keeping with Neoliberal free trade fundamentals were accepted [...].

He recognized the huge mistake South Africa and, more broadly Africa, made. However, who pays the price, as he said, are the poor people, those already deprived and India perfectly fits in this scenario.
Industrial upgrading is necessary for economic development and it will not happen purely through market forces but require government interventions. Indeed, Indian Government should provide direct and indirect subsidies to small entrepreneurs as well as to essential assets.
A striking examples has been provided by Japan. In fact, it protected its infant car industry (Toyota) with high tariffs for nearly four decades, providing lot of direct and indirect subsidies, and virtually ban foreign investment in the industry before it could competitive in the world market (Chang:113). Nevertheless, tariff protection was not, and is not, the only policy tool available for a state in order to develop new industries or upgrade old ones. This is the case with Germany and Japan. Indeed, policy mix is fundamental according to the objectives that a country wants to pursue and the conditions it is facing. There is no ‘one-size-fits all’ model for industrial development - only examples from which to learn. Surely, every country should be allowed to have its tariff autonomy and decide upon their policy (Chang 2002a: 64-66).
Concluding this section, As Chang pointed out ( 2002a : 126-127) the restrictions imposed by the WTO on the ability of developing country to pursue their own activist ITT policies is a “modern and multilayered version of the unequal treaties” that Britain and NDCs deployed towards semi-independent countries at that time. Today we are still denying those countries the ability to pursue the policies they want and we have gone a step further. As Monbiot points out (2008) Britain, like many other countries discovered the enthusiasm for free trade only after it had achieved economic dominance.
 DEVELOPMENT AS FREEDOM

The level playing field Chang advocates cannot happen unless people are allowed the freedom to ‘do and be’ says Amartya Sen. Acknowledging great disparities between and within countries and the lack of freedom people suffer, Sen proposes the main reason for economic development should be to help people break the chains that hold them back from living the life they value.
Sen’s major contribution lies in the “capabilities approach", the freedom to achieve various lifestyles. He feels economic development needs to be perceived as a process of expanding substantive freedoms and believes a successful society relies on freedoms from which its members can benefit (Sen 1999:75).
Developmental Economics is largely seen in terms of income maximisation. Thus, the main variables are GNP, unemployment rates, and income distribution, whereas Sen strongly criticizes the “utilitarian view” as it fails to recognize free agency - the ability to act on what one values
Reasons for feeling a lack of freedom to live life as one would choose are poverty, social deprivation, lack of public facilities, poor economic opportunities and the denial of political and civil liberties. These issues need to be eliminated through social economic development.
Socially based investments such as education and health care do not need to be postponed until a country has achieved relative richness. A poor economy may have less money to spend on health care and education but it needs less money to provide the same services which would cost much more in richer countries. This is a recipe for achieving a higher quality of life. Human development is not a luxury that only rich countries can afford to undertake. Education and health care greatly influence and foster economic growth since workers can work better and be more productive by using the skills they have acquired if they are healthy.
For those reasons, India’s needs of hygiene and education should be seriously taken into consideration. Indeed, the country currently has the largest population of illiterate adults in the world with 287 million (The Indu, 2016) and despite those poor performance the Government has been reducing the expenditure on education from the entire budget for the past three year by reaching the debatable point of 3.65% of the entire GDP. Even more questionable is the political choice imposed by the 14th Financial Commission to the Government of shrinking even further the funding for secondary and higher education. The scenario is quite dramatic as in higher education the enrolment ratio is below 24% for the 18-23 age group.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 launched the campaign to end open defecation by 2019 though subsidising toilet building. However, three main concerns can be addressed. Firstly, the poor quality of the toilet which is strictly connected with the small amounts of money allocated to promote better hygiene and trigger a behavioural change. Thirdly, the campaign has become only a matter of number and particularly reaching the target of 17 millions of toilets per year for five years.  Thus, the budget set, which accounts for £1.6m, brought ineffective and unsatisfactory results. Indeed, the implementation phase is pivotal in order to make a real difference at stopping the open defecation phenomenon . Especially, the Government should be willing to invest more so to make the campaign a political will. In fact, according to the World Bank estimates, the lack of sanitation facilities costs India over 6% of the GDP.

4. DANI RODRIK: CAUTION GLOBALIZATION DESERVES
As Dani Rodrik points out (1997), globalization can succeed and be sustained only if appropriate domestic policy measures are undertaken to soften the impact on groups that are affected and to equip all sectors of society to take advantage of the benefits of globalization rather than be undermined by it. Globalization’s advantages and disadvantages for important groups within the society as well as for the country as a whole need to be made clear. Basically, we have to consider globalization’s stakeholders before making any decision.
The most important challenge for the world economy is making globalization compatible with domestic, social and political stability by making sure that international integration does not contribute to domestic social disintegration. In fact, globalization increases the demand on the state to provide social insurance while reducing the ability of the state to perform that role effectively (Rodrik 1997:53).
Globalization that comes at the price of social disintegration will be a very hollow victory. If, global economic integration is not handled properly, the result will be bad economics and bad governance. Globalization has loosened the civic glue that holds societies together and has delivered a strong blow to social cohesion since fundamental beliefs regarding social organization come under attack. Moreover, social fragmentation is detrimental to economic performance (Rodrick 1997: 69-72).
Rodrik believes that the big challenge is to enable countries that are willing to enlarge in greater harmonization of domestic policies to do so, while allowing them to delink from international obligations in case those obligations come into conflict with domestic norms or institutions.

5. CONCLUSION
Neoliberal developmental policies have been poisoning the world with the establishment of its hegemony in most areas of our lives.
Such policies which were supposed to bring about development and growth, led to a miserable impoverishment of people's lives. It mostly happened because of its commitment and alignment with the interests of big businesses, transnational corporations and finance at the expense of people's real needs.

We could say that as Sen considers freedom both the means and end of development, neoliberalism does the same with global free markets. It only proposes and imposes one path that everyone has to follow, not caring that developing countries would be best served through different policies like limiting domestic vulnerability due to their fragile conditions and their inability to compete openly. No matter how developed a country is, they have no choice as M. Thatcher famously said. Neoliberal development theories are still alive and in the halls of economic and political power (Henry 2012). Manitob (2016) stresses that Neoliberalism is the root of all our problems. We can easily confirm those judgments by bringing out some current examples: the 2007/2008 financial crisis, the collapse of our education, the rise of Donald Trump in the US, and the results of so many recent environmental disasters in third world countries around the world. As Verhaeghe suggested, Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us. As every economic change profoundly affects our values and personalities, Neoliberalism is certainly no exception.

Solidarity has become an expensive luxury; the main concern seems to be to extract as much as you can and win over as many people as possible. We pessimistically have to admit that the freedom we perceive is the greatest untruth of the our day and age. We’ve "Never been so free, never been so powerless" as Bauman dramatically says (Verhaeghe 2014). The most harmful impact of Neoliberalism is not the economic crisis but the political crisis. Since the realm of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of action through political participation is shrinking as well. Neoliberal theory assumes that people can exercise their choice through spending; however some have more of the cake than other. Sen and Chang want to prove that new directions are possible and highly recommended if we want a shift to a better world, where development is meant as a process that goes beyond empty indexes with no trace of human beings but instead a fair and even course which in the last instance reallytells how happy we are and how well we live.
Instead, Rodrik show us the deep interrelation between globalization and neoliberal economy. Indeed, He is not saying that globalization should be avoided but simply wisely managed so that the bottom of the society, the larger part of a country, is safeguarded and doesn’t end up paying the price and swallowing the “bitter pill” as well in order for countries to maintain their autonomy.
- Stefano 



REFERENCES
CHANG, Ha-Joon (2002a): Kicking Away the Ladder Development Strategy in Historical
Perspective. London:Wimbledon Publishing Company.
KASRILS, Ronnie (2013): “How the ANC's Faustian pact sold out South Africa's poorest”.The
Guardian, Opinion, [online] <http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/24/ancfaustian-
pact-mandela-fatal-error> [Data access: 4th July 2018].
MONBIOT , George (2008): “One thing is clear from the history of trade: protectionism makes you
rich”. The Guardian, Economics, [online]
<https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/sep/09/eu.globaleconomy>[Data access: 4th July 2018]

MONBIOT, George (2016a): “Neoliberalism –the ideology at the root of all our problems”.
TheGuardian,Economics,[online]<http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalismideology-
problem-george-monbiot> [Data access: 4th July 2018].
MONBIOT,George (2016b): “Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That’s what’s wrenching society apart”. The Guardian, Opinion [online] <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/12/neoliberalism-creating-lonelinesswrenching-
society-apart > [Data access:4th July 2018].

NITYA, Jacob (2014): “Chain reaction: India needs hygiene education as well as new toilets The Guardian Economics, [online]<https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/oct/08/india-narendra-modi-toilets-education-hygiene]>[Data access: 4th July 2018].

RODRIK, Dani (1997), Has globalization gone too far?, Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC.

SEN, Amartya (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
VERHAEGHE, Paul (2014): “ Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us”. The Guardian,

SAPTARSHI, Dutta (2018): “Economic Survey 2018: Open Defecation In Rural Areas Down 45 Per Cent Since Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Launch”[online]< https://swachhindia.ndtv.com/economic-survey-2018-open-defecation-in-rural-areas-down-45-per-cent-since-swachh-bharat-abhiyan-launch-17061/
 > [Data access: 4th July 2018].
SUBODH, Varma (2017): “Share of spend in government expenditure, GDP on education falling for 3 years”[online]<https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/share-of-spend-in-government-expenditure-gdp-on-education-falling-for-3-years/articleshow/56991039.cms>[Data access: 4th July 2018].
THE INDU (2016): “India’s illiterate population largest in the world, says UNESCO. report”[online]<https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indias-illiterate-population-largest-in-the-world-says-unesco-report/article5631797.ece>[Data access: 4th July 2018]. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Hopes for the Future at HEEALS, and How We Can Make a Difference in the Present

Here at HEEALS we like to keep supporters – family members, friends, and social media followers – in the loop about what’s going on. That’s why we keep a regular blog and social media presence. A lot of the time we tell you about what we are doing or have done, and that type of communication is important! In this blog post, however, we’d like to expand a bit and tell you about what we would like to do in the future. All of these plans were drafted by the director here at HEEALS: Gaurav Kashyap, so if you’re reading through and notice any that speak strongly to you which you would like to get involved in, shoot him an email at communications@heeals.org. Keep in mind that none of these projects are happening currently- they are things that HEEALS would like to implement, but as of right now the NGO does not have the funds or the manpower. We’re always looking for more volunteers or even interns if you’re able to commit to working full time for a few months! So keep reading, and see if one of these projects is something you would like to help us work towards.


Let’s start by introducing the first project: toilet installation. India is the open defecation capital of the world, and this leads to a ton of health risks. Not only are people exposed to more diseases, but a lack of toilet facilities in schools can lead students (especially girls) to drop out early. This project calls for 107 toilets to be installed in locations across all of India. While this is a big project, it’s nice because it can be taken one toilet at a time, so it’s not necessary to raise a huge lump sum to fund the entire project right from the get-go. This plan was what inspired our current project- ‘Water Filters for Haryana and U.P.!’

On to the next project: Pads4Girls. Have you ever watched the movie PadMan? It came out in February 2018 and is based off of the true story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, who, after watching his wife struggle and use unsanitary materials because store-bought sanitary pads were too expensive, designed and built a low-cost pad making machine. The project Pads4Girls involves purchasing one of these pad machines, opening a factory and employing local women to make the pads. This can allow women without a job to grab hold of their own livelihood while at the same time making pads available in the market at a lower retail price. The pads would be sold at different prices depending on the financial ability of the buyer- anyone who is very destitute would be sold pads for next-to-nothing, while people who could afford it a bit more would be able to purchase at a price still below but closer to regular retail cost.
The last project that HEEALS aims to one day put in place needs to be a bit of a secret. This is because, just like the others, it is a brainchild of Gaurav. It is also, however, different from the others in the sense that no project of this sort has ever been done before. It is a project focused on education about sanitary hygiene that will travel all over India and will be funded by corporate sponsors. Not only will sponsors be getting to help with a great cause, but there is also a huge marketing and advertizing potential for them. If you are a business owner and are interested in learning more about what this opportunity to help the community and your business might look like in a few years, send Gaurav an email for more information on this exciting and innovative project!

Not only did we want to tell you today about the projects that HEEALS hopes to one day work on, we also wanted to take some time to expand on the values HEEALS holds. Our name is an acronym, and the letters stand for Health, Education, Environment, And Livelihood Society. As a society (or organization), HEEALS has done many workshops about health and education, and our water filters project which is ongoing right now also has a focus on this direction. The Pads4Girls project which will hopefully be undertaken once HEEALS gets a bit bigger is an example of how this NGO values supporting peoples’ livelihood. But what about the ‘E’ for Environment? While HEEALS doesn’t currently have any ongoing projects about environment, keeping our earth healthy is certainly something that we value strongly. On June 5, 2018 (International Environment Day), the HEEALS team planted ten saplings and put out two blog posts about keeping our earth clean- one about plastic pollution and another about open defecation in India. If you haven’t read them yet, we certainly encourage you to do so! HEEALS also has a catalogue you can browse through which is full of handmade and eco-friendly products. Any funds from items purchased from this catalogue go towards workshops in schools about healthy living. We are also a partner with BlueHorse Group, an organization which sells biodegradable products worldwide.

Are you looking for ways that you can do your part in keeping our environment clean? Is keeping good karma important to you? Are you just trying your best to leave a good mark on this world? If any of this rings true with you, this is a list you might be interested in. We’ve put together a few ways that you can do your part- without needing to dedicate hours every day. Using eco-friendly or biodegradable products in place of plastic (for more information on plastic pollution, follow this link) goes a long way- you’re not just making a better choice in the product you’re using, but you’re also setting a great example for everyone around you. Another amazing option is buying clothes second hand. By reusing clothes and buying second-hand or getting hand-me-downs from friends and family, you’re keeping these fabrics out of the landfill for even longer. If you outgrow a shirt and have no place to donate it, consider making it into a rag, rather than buying new cloth from a store! When one person makes choices like these, the impact (while very good) is minimal. But as more and more people start seeing the value in fixing rather than tossing and begin reusing in as many innovative ways as possible, the impact begins to grow even more.

If you live in the west, it’s possible that this next part applies less to you (but you should still read it). If you live in India, you probably pass second hand clothing shops on the side of the street all the time! These men carry their livelihood on a cart or in the trunk of their car, and then lay out these clothes every morning. Next time you need to purchase a new shirt, consider sifting through their pile to find one you like, rather than heading straight to the mall. Not only are you increasing the life cycle of these clothes before they go to the landfill, but you’re also helping a family to make sure that there’s food on the table every night. The man standing outside selling clothes off of the roof of his old beaten up car for twelve hours a day definitely appreciates the few rupees he makes off of every sale much more than the CEO of any name-brand store ever will. If we want to see a change in the world, if we want to see an end to child labour and help more individuals work their way out of poverty, it can’t be just talk. It needs to be personal choices and individual actions.

            So, bearing that in mind, HEEALS is calling you. We’re asking you personally, to make a commitment. If you’re reading this blog, we’re sure that you hold the same values as we do- the right to health, education, and livelihood, and the necessity of a clean earth. We’re asking you to consider what you can do today, this week, or this month, to make an impact. Don’t just read this blog, think about it for a few minutes and move on with your life. Actually begin making these changes! Choose reusable bags over plastic. Make your own coffee and skip the disposable cup. Ask for your drink without a plastic straw. Shop second hand! We’d love to hear about you doing these things. Send HEEALS a photo* of yourself doing any of them, or making another eco-friendly choice for a chance to be featured on the HEEALS social media sites! If you’re looking to volunteer, give us a call or send us an email! We’d be more than happy to have your help, or if you live too far away to work with HEEALS we can give you advice about other NGO’s or organizations which hold similar values as we do. If you’re looking to support HEEALS financially, send us a message and tell us whether you’d like to support workshops and the work HEEALS does in general, or if you’d like to commit to one of the projects that we’re hoping to initiate in the future.

            The point of this blog was twofold: to help you get to know HEEALS and our hopes and plans for the future a bit better, and also to encourage you to make those choices, changes, sacrifices even, that will help keep our planet cleaner and greener. We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to tell us about what YOU are doing for a chance to make an appearance on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Ciao for now!
~ Rachel


*Please send the photos to us by email at communications@heeals.org or send us a private message on Facebook!