We come to the end of another year, once again, marked with natural disasters, manmade crisis and political disturbances. Yet there has been no dearth of kindness and goodwill and there have been numerous instances of hope and people in action, reaching out to the millions who suffer. We, at ACEE, have put together a list of noteworthy men, women and their organisations for coming forward and being a beacon of light and hope to the world around them. Some are young, some are old, some are start-ups and some are steeped in the work that they do, but nevertheless, all their contributions are significant and the need of the hour. Hats off to their efforts!

Sukanya Sudarson

1.Aditi Gupta

Aditi Gupta, founder of Menstrupedia which is a comic guide on menstruation. Menstruation is a tabooed topic in India and Aditi who has been working towards spreading awareness on periods and hygiene says the whole narrative on periods needs to be challenged and that is the purpose behind Menstrupedia.

2. Anu Sridharan

Anu Sridharan, the founder of NextDrop, a social enterprise which is simplifying urban water collection in India. With its “Smart Grid ‘Lite’” solution, the enterprise collects and shares water delivery information with city residents and water utilities. In this way, NextDrop makes the waiting-for-water a simpler process.

3.Ashwin Mahavadi

Ashwin Mahavadi started Advaita Organics to create a more efficient and sustainable agricultural supply chain that increases farmer incomes. They solve problems using technology and make agriculture sustainable, even as they make organically grown, pesticide-free agricultural produce, an inherent part of the daily urban lifestyle through easy access.

4. Brij Kothari

Brij Kothari, founder of PlanetRead, a non-profit involved in scaling ‘Same Language Subtitling’ efforts in India and other countries. His team has innovated, researched and nationalised the use of SLS on Bollywood film songs on TV, for mass literacy in India.

5. Harish Hande

Harish Hande’s SELCO Solar Light provides sustainable energy solutions and services to under-served households and businesses in India. It is also promoting small rural enterprises based on diverse applications of solar power across several states of the country.

6. Madhu Pandit Dasa

Madhu Pandit Dasa from the The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF), which has established itself as the world’s largestmid-day meal provider reaching out to 1.66 million children across 12 states in India. Under his leadership TAPF has scaledrapidly, setting an ambitious target to feed 5 million children by 2020.

7. Poonam Bir Kasturi

Poonam Bir Kasturi has given ‘waste’ a fresh perspective and converged her three passions – design, waste and craft. Founder of Daily Dump, she has fused design thinking, traditional pottery and the science of composting to develop numerous aesthetic products and services that enable urban homes to compost their waste at home and help keep India clean.

8. Safeena Husain

Safeena Husain’s dream of empowering rural girls in India through education led her to form Educate Girls (EG) which mobilizes public, private, and community resources to ensure that girls, especially between the ages of 6-14, go to school (enrolment), stay in school (retention) and access quality education (improved learning outcomes).

9. Shaheen Mistri

Shaheen Mistri founder and CEO of Teach For India, who through their Fellowship program, provide an opportunity to India’s brightest and most promising individuals, from the nation’s best universities and workplaces, to serve as full-time teachers to children from low-income communities in some of the nation’s most under-resourced schools.

10. Dr. Vikram Sheel Kumar

Dr. Vikram Sheel Kumar is an engineer and pathologist who developed one of the earliest video games for health on wireless mobile device. His organisation Dimagi equips community health workers with mobile phones running Dimagi’s mHealth platform: CommCare. The software allows health workers to instantly track patient data from previous home visits, thus improving the quality of maternal and prenatal care.