About You and Your Work

Your bio:

When I was 3 years old, I lost the ability to walk and was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.  My parents focused their energies on getting me an education despite the fact that society (rural India) was unable to support or accommodate my special needs. I became a Chartered Accountant and had a blossoming private practice. In 1992, I left this practice to become the CEO of Amar Seva Sangam, a non-profit-organization dedicated to people with disabilities in India. The organization benefits more than 20,000 people with disabilities per year through center and community based programs that focus on education, rehabilitation, vocational training and advocacy.  I have been honored with numerous awards, media appearances and have become a household name in many parts of India. My life's mission is to prove that disability is a condition, not a constraint and that all people should have the opportunity to reach their potential. 

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Project name:

Amar Seva Sangam

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One-line project summary:

Leveraging technology to improve development of children with disabilities by empowering community based workers and caregivers.

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Present your project.

The first years of a child’s life are critical as it is the most active period for establishing neural connections. Therefore, it is both a period of great opportunity and great vulnerability for the child’s development. Children with delayed development and their families in rural communities in low and middle income settings are unable to access services and strategies to improve their child’s development due to a lack of rehabilitation specialists and expertise.

 This project connects community rehabilitation workers and parents with rehabilitation specialists using the mobile Village Based Rehabilitation – Early Intervention (mVBR-EI) app so that children with delayed development and their families can be given strategies to improve their development in their own homes.

 This solution can be adopted globally in any low resource setting. It will elevate humanity because it will empower parents and the most vulnerable children will be given an opportunity to reach their potential.

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What specific problem are you solving?

The Global Burden of Disease Study published in the Lancet in 2018,  estimated that there are 52.9 million children younger than the age of 5, with developmental disabilities across 195 countries globally and that global burden of developmental disabilities has not improved since 1990. The study estimated that in India alone, there are nearly 2.3 million children under the age of 6 with development disabilities. 

According to the WHO, “If children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families are not provided with timely and appropriate early intervention, support and protection, their difficulties can become more severe, often leading to lifetime consequences, increased poverty and profound exclusion."

In countries around the world, access to early intervention therapy are often limited to urban areas where families have access to Early Intervention rehabilitation centers with specialized services and rehabilitation specialists. Access is very limited in rural areas particularly in low resource settings.  The reasons for this include a shortage of rehabilitation specialists, wide geographic distribution of families and a lack of accessible transportation which makes it challenging for families to access therapy even if Early Intervention centers were established in rural areas. 

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What is your project?

Our project removes barriers to access by bringing early intervention (EI) therapy services to a child's own home. It is a technology enabled change from a center based, therapist owned, high cost solution to a home based, caregiver owned, cost effective system of EI services delivery.

 We have developed an app called the mobile Village Based Rehabilitation - Early Intervention (mVBR-EI) which provides case management and connectivity to specialists to provide high quality services to children.

 We hire and train local women to become Community Rehabilitation Workers (CRWs) and form geographical teams to connect them with physiotherapists, special educators, speech trainers and occupational therapists.

These teams screen all children under age 6 in defined a geographical area for developmental delays in primary health centers and nursery schools, using a validated tool in the mVBR-EI app. Children that are screened positive are assessed by the multidisciplinary team of CRWs and specialists who identify child strengths, family-centered goals and set an individualized EI plan into the mVBR-EI app.

This plan is followed by parents/caregivers daily with weekly support visits by CRWs to a child’s home to empower caregivers, promote therapeutic activities into the child’s daily life and enable their inclusion in society. 

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Who does your project serve, and in what ways is the project impacting their lives?

Our project serves pre-school children with developmental disabilities and their parents in low-resource rural areas of India. The program was developed with extensive feedback from parents. It provides therapy for children with developmental-delays resulting in higher school enrollment. It empowers caregivers resulting in better interaction with their children, reduces their stress and promotes child independence, allowing more time for their livelihood. It creates community awareness which enables inclusiveness and sensitizes the government with evidence based results for policy changes and scale up. 

The program follows a family-centered approach whereby families identify child’s strengths and family goals and co-create treatment plans with rehabilitation specialists. Through the course of this intervention, we also conduct formal stakeholder consultation through qualitative interviews and focus-groups by external researchers. In addition, feedback from parents are collected every 6 months, through a caregiver assessment tool in our app which measures program engagement, family empowerment, caregiver strain and parent-child interaction and families with poor outcomes are flagged for service refinement. These mechanisms have driven rapid-cycle evaluation improvements in the program. 


The program has Early Intervention Parent Groups in which parent leaders are elected. They act as a collective force to advocate for program changes and increased societal inclusion.  

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Which dimension of The Elevate Prize does your project most closely address?

Elevating opportunities for all people, especially those who are traditionally left behind

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Explain how your project relates to The Elevate Prize and your selected dimension.

Our project elevates opportunities for children with delayed development who are traditionally left behind by empowering them and their families to allow them to reach their potential. It also empowers women in the local community by providing economic and career development opportunities through employment as community rehabilitation workers. This elevates opportunities for both these service providers and for children with disabilities who they work with.  The project also elevates the entire community through community awareness programs which is aimed at reducing disability stigma and producing a more inclusive society. 

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How did you come up with your project?

Since joining ASSA in 1992, my work had focused on fundraising and expanding our services within our campus, which included an inclusive school, special needs school, disabled child and youth hostel, vocational training center, spinal cord rehabilitation center, and outpatient physiotherapy center.

 I realized that we needed to empower people with disabilities to have a stronger voice to advocate for their community needs. With this in mind, in 2000, I led ASSA in initiating community based rehabilitation (CBR) programs including self-help groups, community awareness programs, micro-loan and livelihood initiatives. The goal of these initiatives is to bring services into local communities and empower people with disabilities to eventually take on the leadership and ownership of these programs to guide their own destinies.

 During this period I could see hundreds of children being left out of rehabilitation in their initial years due to lack of awareness about and access to early intervention services in rural areas and social stigma about childhood disability. We set up an Early Intervention Center in our campus in 2011 but it was not accessible to many families. Hence, we shifted to the CBR approach and decided to reach children and families in their own homes. 

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Why are you passionate about your project?

When I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 3, my parents assembled a team of therapists and educators to stimulate my body and brain at that early critical stage. I went on to become a successful chartered accountant and now head an organization that advocates and provides services for thousands of people with disabilities.  

In 2010, I attended a conference on childhood disabilities and was introduced to the term “Early Intervention”. It then dawned on me, that my family and I had in fact received early intervention as a child and that’s what had led to my success. 


I was lucky. I lived in an urban area where rehab specialists and educators were available and my parents had the financial resources. However, these experts are often not available in rural India preventing parents from accessing early intervention services. 


As a child who couldn’t walk, there were many barriers for my schooling and I was seen as a burden. My parents fought for me to get an education and to that I owe my life’s success. I have made it my life’s goal that no child should be denied early childhood development opportunities and schooling because of disability. 

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Why are you well-positioned to deliver this project?

When I joined ASSA in 1992, the organization was providing services for 50 children with disabilities with a budget of $1500 yearly with 23 staff. As the CEO, I have grown the organization to serve more than 20,000 people with disabilities yearly, with an annual budget of $1.7 million and with 447 staff.

I lead the re-drafting of ASSA’s constitution and established a Governing Body and Advisory Board. I led the efforts to acquire over 40 acres of land to develop a model township for people with disabilities and established an institutional framework for its operations.

I lead the designing and development of several institutional based rehabilitation programs including the Home for Disabled Children, Physiotherapy Center, Inclusive School, Vocational Training Center, Disabled Youth Hostel, Center for Special Education, Early Intervention Center, Spinal-Cord Rehab Center, Computer Training Center and University Learning Center which service over 5000 people yearly.

I lead the development of innovative community-based rehabilitation programs that serves more than 15,000 disabled individuals through self-help groups, micro-loans, rehabilitation programs and livelihood development.

I sit on the Tamil Nadu State Disability Advisory board, where I have successfully advocated for improved accessibility for people with disabilities in railways, buses, schools and public spaces. My advocacy has led to important changes to legislation impacting people with disabilities in India.  I am also the "State Icon" for inclusive election where I represent the interests of persons with disabilities to make the local, state and central elections accessible to all.

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Provide an example of your ability to overcome adversity.

Having muscular dystrophy is the greatest adversity I have overcome. I never accepted my disability and became a professional Chartered Accountant at age 23 and CEO of ASSA by age 30 . 

One particular example of overcoming adversity was the challenges I faced in my goal to scale-up our home-based early-intervention program through public sector partnership and funding. I tried different departments in the state and national governments including Health and Education and finally found supporters in the Disability Department of Tamilnadu. Even though we had the Disability Department support, the file wasn't moving forward, as it was awaiting approval from the finance department and state-planning commission. 

Rather than waiting for this slow moving process, I broke the regular protocols and approached the Finance Minister and State Planning Commissioner myself. These officials wouldn't communicate via email or return phone calls. Therefore, my team and I spent many hours waiting in their office for an opportunity to catch them between meetings. Our persistence and dedication moved them and they learnt the details of our project. They not only moved the file forward, but the State Planning Commissioner has asked us to work with them on creating a framework for state-wide scale-up.

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Describe a past experience that demonstrates your leadership ability.

Wherever I feel justice and equity is required for the disabled community, I launch myself in support of that cause. One example was the Mumbai Marathon that started in 2004 which offered a platform for charities to raise funds.

After initially accepting my registration, they rejected my participation as a wheelchair user for safety reasons and lack of infrastructures for disabled people to participate. I advocated strongly to the organizers to make the event more accessible for all. When that failed, I used the media to highlight the lack of inclusiveness of this event.

Through these effort, the marathon organizers formed an inclusion committee with ASSA and several other NGOs working in the disability sector. In 2005, we created a separate event called the “Champions with Disabilities”. I am a regular participant since then and I raise about 10% of ASSA’s total funding through this event. From 2005 till 2020, I have been honored every year with the highest fundraiser award and in 2020, more than 1200 persons with disabilities participated. From initially being a thorn in the side of event organizers, I am now an official “Icon” of the event and they invite me to regularly give motivational speeches. 

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How long have you been working on your project?

6 years

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Where are you headquartered?

Ayikudi, Tamil Nadu, India
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What type of organization is your project?

Nonprofit

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More About Your Work

Describe what makes your project innovative.

Currently, the only early intervention (EI) therapy that is available in India and most low-income settings globally is center-based programs where services are provided by rehabilitation specialists. Our program is the ONLY high fidelity home-based early intervention therapy program in all of India. It is innovative because therapy is provided by community rehabilitation workers without specialized training, but since they are guided by rehabilitation specialists through the mVBR-EI app, child outcomes are robust. Therapy is provided in their "real" environment, as opposed to centers with specialized equipment that doesn't reflect the reality of their lives.  

Our longitudinal cohort study comparing outcomes for children in center-based (therapy provided by rehab specialists) vs. home-based (therapy provided by CRWs guided by rehab specialists through the mVBR-EI app) showed no statistically significant differences in developmental outcomes. However, school enrollment rates, family empowerment and caregiver strain, all had better outcomes in home-based group compared to center-based group. In addition, costs are significantly lower (home-based: $290 USD/child/year vs center-based: $1103 USD/child/year). 

Our program has a robust monitoring program through the mVBR-EI application including tracking of workers travel and therapy times, child developmental scores and caregiver outcomes. The program dashboard provides the management team with real-time feedback and allows for monitoring and evaluation of outputs and outcomes.

There are no other apps available in the world for home based early intervention case management and the program and app are modifiable and scale-able to meet the needs of various low resource contexts globally. 

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What is your theory of change?

Strategies

(1) Train service providers 
(a) NGO/ASSA: CRWs, rehabilitation specialists.
(b) Government: pre-school teachers, nurses, 


(2) CRWs and rehab specialists use the mVBR-EI app to:                                 
(a) Screen for all children (<6 years) for delayed development and enroll children who screen positive into the EI program.               
(b) Perform comprehensive assessments at baseline and every 6 months for children with delayed development using the WHO’s International Classification of Disability and Function model and standardized developmental tools to co-create goals and therapy plans with families.        
(c) Provide regular EI therapy services for children and their families within their own homes.                                                                                        (d) Train and support caregivers to integrate EI therapy into child and family’s daily life.                                                                                      (e) Provide medical consultations for children in the program and assist with acquisition of adaptive technology.                                                              (f) Create peer support networks for parents of children in the program. 

(3) Conduct community awareness programs 

Targets

(1) Service Providers:
(a) Increased knowledge of early childhood development (CRWs, rehab specialists, pre-school teachers, nurses).
(b) Identification of delayed development (CRWs, pre-school teachers, nurses).
(c) Provision of early intervention services in the home (rehab specialists, CRWs).
(d) Improved knowledge of accommodation and integration strategies for children with delayed development into schools (pre-school teachers).
(e) Increased planning and problem solving skills (CRWs, rehab specialists, pre-school teachers, nurses).

(2) Caregivers:
(a) Increased knowledge about their child’s strengths, abilities and disabilities.
(b) Increased ability to support their child’s activities of daily living. 
(c) Increased use of therapeutic activities. 
(d) Formation of peer support networks.


(3) Child: improved development (motor, mobility, communication, social, emotional, self-care, cognition, academic).
 
(4) Community: Increase knowledge and awareness of early childhood development, disability and early intervention therapy.


Outcomes

(1) Service Providers:
(a) Improved quality of service and competence. 
(b) Increased job satisfaction and retention.  

(2) Caregivers:
(a) Decreased strain / stress.
(b) Improved empowerment.
(c) Improved parent-child interaction.
(d) Ability to support child and improved environment to facilitate child participation.
(e) Peer support amongst caregivers.


(3) Child: 
(a) Improved childhood development outcomes.
(b) Functional independence.
(c) Increased societal integration and participation (including school enrollment).


(4) Society: 
(a) Decreased societal stigma.
(b) Increased social integration of people with disabilities.

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Select the key characteristics of the community you are impacting.

  • Women & Girls
  • Infants
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Persons with Disabilities
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your project address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • India
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • India
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How many people does your project currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Since April  2017, we have served 1369 children that have gone through the mVBR-EI app assisted Early Intervention program and there are currently 811 children actively enrolled.

Since April 2017, we have screened 55,729 pre-school children for delayed development and 43,056 people in the community have been served through awareness program and have shown improved knowledge and decreased stigma.

All programs have been offered to families at subsidized or no charge to them and we target low income families. Number of beneficiaries  by yearly Family Income (in USD): 0- $350: 46 families,  $351 - $660: 245 families, $661 - $1320: 642 families, $1321: 117 families (Note: 319 families not documented). 

Since April 2017, we have trained 3744 health and education workers in identifying children with delayed development, providing early intervention therapy services and integrating children into the schools and classrooms. 

In one year, we will screen 100,000 pre-school children for delayed development, serve 3600 children with delayed development through EI services and reach 100,000 people in the community through community awareness programs (cumulative from 2017). 

In 5 years, we hope to screen 2.7 million pre-school children for delayed development, serve 90,000 children with delayed development through EI services in India and other countries and reach 1 million people through awareness programs.  We will not be direct service providers for all these children, but will be training, knowledge and technology partners for other institutions, both government and non-governmental to use our model and app to reach many of these beneficiaries.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

Our goal over the next year is to scale-up our program from 13 blocks (geographical areas) in 1 District to 36 Blocks to cover 3 full districts in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. For this, we have secured funding from Tamil Nadu Government, Grand Challenges Canada, Handi-Care Intl. and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative.  We will be the implementing agency; we will hire service providers and conduct the entire program. In addition, over the next year we will focus on establishing an organizational framework for business development, so that we have the infrastructure in place to expand our services through partnerships. 

Our goal over the next 5 years are: 
1. Upgrade our app to meet needs of lower resource contexts globally. App upgrades will including provisions to allow caregivers direct use of the app for case and context management, tele-rehabilitation services and expansion to cover children age 6-18 with disabilities. 
2. Scale-up our program to  at least 2  other global south countries through partnerships.
3. Scale up our program through central government and NGO partnerships to at least 10 districts in different parts of India. 
4. Scale-up our program to the whole state of Tamil Nadu through government and non-government partnerships.
5. Introduce and study a community base tele-rehabilitation model whereby early intervention services are supported through video conferencing with rehabilitation specialists, with the parents and community members taking a greater role in management of the program. 

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

(1) The major barrier for accomplishing our goals is the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions on movements, gatherings of group of people and social distancing rules pose a major challenge on our training and awareness programs and restrict home visits of our community rehabilitation workers and rehabilitation specialists which form the backbone of our program.  

(2) Our app is designed for community rehab workers to use with the guidance and support of rehab specialists, which are in short supply, but still available in our state. A barrier to our approach is that there is a massive shortage of rehab specialists in other states in India and other countries, where we hope to replicate / scale-up our program. 


(3) Our app does not cover school age children with disabilities. 


(4)  We have been an implementing agency for years. There will be a paradigm shift in our approach towards being a facilitator and knowledge partner by collaboration with NGOs and Govt.  This requires different set of skills, capabilities and resources. To achieve this, we need to recruit talent and establish an institutional framework for new scale-up strategies.  Since our head office is in a rural area, recruiting talent is a barrier as many professionals prefer to work in urban centers.


(5) A barrier to achieving all our goals is raising money. 

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

We plan to overcome barrier #1 by integrating a tele-rehab model for both training and service provision. Our training program will integrate online modules and training sessions to minimize in-person gatherings and we will shift to a tele-rehab model whereby phone calls and video conferencing will allow our service providers to support parents and guide them through therapeutic activities with their child.  

To overcome barrier #2, we plan on making a new version of our app that includes content management that guides parents in providing therapy and supporting their child with disability with less direct input from rehabilitation therapists. This new version will also have enhanced tele-rehab features for distance communication between specialists and parents. 


To overcome barrier #3, we will upgrade our app and integrate its use to cover children above the age of 6 with disabilities. 


To over barrier #4, in order to recruit talent, we will set up offices in urban centers and/or set up our talent in home offices to overcome barriers of rural recruitment. We will equip this new talent with the knowledge and resources needed to achieving our goals. This team will work on marketing,  partnership development, training and support which will be vital to achieve scale-up. 


To overcome barrier #5 we will raise funds through grants to establish our organization as a Center of Excellence in Early Intervention and create a strong marketing campaign targeting other organizations to onboard them as partners to use our product (mVBR-EI app) and services (training and support). 

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Our funding partners include Tamil Nadu Government, Saving Brains / Grand Challenges Canada, Handi-Care International, Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative, Vodafone Foundation, World CP Day, City Union Bank, Amar Foundation, United Way Chennai and MIT Solve.

Our research partners for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are University of Toronto and McGill University in Canada. Each of these partners has assisted us with different M&E questions and we share non-identified data, from which they are able to provide data analysis and impact evaluation reports.  Through these collaboration, we have presented our findings through publications and conference presentations.


We have partnered with Harvard Centre for the Developing Child through MIT Solve to help us refine our theory of change and M&E plan. This was done through online modules and an in-person workshops.


We have partnered with the Saving Brains Leaning Platform for training with M&E, scaling up and research dissemination.

Through our partnership with Essl Foundation, Fundación Descúbreme and Ashoka through the Zero Project Impact Transfer Program, we received training, mentoring, tailored support, networking, and visibility to further replicate our innovation and impact in other geographies, in collaboration with local replication partners.


We have partnered with World Vision, Enablement, Hesperian and Light for the World to form a consortium to explore upgrading our app for use in other countries in Asia and Africa. We are currently focused on India, Ethiopia and Cambodia.  


Our major scale-up partner is Govt of Tamil Nadu, who we are working with to achieve state wide scale-up of our program. 

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Growth-grant model

ASSA will expand and scale up in new areas as direct the implementing organization with the funding and resource mobilization from government and private/corporate funding. We are currently using this model. 

Licensing Model

ASSA will license our application usage to other government and non-government organizations (NGOs) offering them an efficient case management and project execution system. We will be the training and knowledge partner. Organizations can source the cost from families or through grants and government support. We are currently in negotiation with a few NGOs for this licensing model.

 

NGO-Partnership Co-creation Model

ASSA will modify the app and help co-create the program to meet the needs of other NGOs. We would provide operational training and logistical support based on a negotiated cost.  The co-creation will be owned by ASSA, with free license to use by partner NGOs for the partnership period. The NGOs will implement the program and are responsible for funding the program. We are currently forming a consortium with international NGOs to further develop this co-creation model in Africa and Asia.

Subscription Model

The app will be provided to rehab professionals at a monthly subscription fee for use in providing therapy.

Government Implementation model

The government will integrate this program into their existing public sector health and education systems and will fund it themselves. Any co-created asset will be funded by Government and jointly owned. We will be responsible for co-creation and knowledge transfer and support based on a negotiated agreement at a cost.

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

We have multiple routes to achieve financial sustainability, based on the business models that were described above. 

Under Licensing Model, we will get usage fee for the use of the App. Additional fee will be charged for training the personnel of the licensee.

In the NGO-Partnership model, we will be charging other NGOs for our product: mVBR-EI app and services: training, support, modification of app and assistance with co-creation of program to meet local needs.  This will allow us to generate revenue. 


In the Growth-grant model, we will seek to raise money through donations and grants through existing and new funders in the public and private sectors. In particular, tapping into corporate social responsibility initiatives in India and existing government partnerships will allow for financial sustainability. 


In the Subscription Model, we will generate revenue by charging the end users, which are rehabilitation professionals using our app. Once we upgrade our app to become directly usable by parents, we could charge parents who can afford it a subscription fee and subsidize the cost for low income families. Thus, this model generates revenues for financial sustainability.  

In the Government-implementation model, the government will integrate this program into existing public sector health and education systems. They will fund the operational aspect of the program (ie service providers salaries, etc.) and we will charge them for our product: mVBR-EI app and services: training, support, modification of app and assistance with co-creation of program to meet local needs. This will allow us to generate revenue. 

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If you have raised funds for your project or are generating revenue, please provide details.

All funding has been in the form of grants and are described below in USD: 

Oct 2014 – March 2017:
Grand Challenges Canada $85,000
Handi-Care Intl. $106,000

From April 2017 – March 2020:
Saving Brains / Grand Challenges Canada-  $ 425,000
Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative-  $ 350,000
Handi-Care Intl. - $110,000
Vodafone Foundation - $21,000
City Union Bank - $13,500
Amar Foundation - $2,000
United Way of Chennai $ 6,200
Tamil Nadu Government - $ 13,100
MIT Solve- $ 32,500
World CP Day - $ 1,400

April 2020 - March 2021: 
Government of Tamil Nadu - $ 283,000   
Grand Challenges Canada - $ 283,000
Handi-Care Intl. - $32,000
Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative - $ 253,000 

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If you seek to raise funds for your project, please provide details.

We seek to raise grant money in the amount of $350,000 USD in order to establish an Early Intervention Center of Excellence within Amar Seva Sangam and upgrade our app over a period of two years. 

This Center will include: 

(1) Management Team
(2) Marketing and Relationship Development Team
(3) Training Team (to train other government and non-government partners)
(4) Technology Team 
(5) Finance Team
(6) Monitoring and Evaluation Team
(7) Research and Development Team
(8) Support Team – Logistics and Legal Supports 

The app upgrade will include:

(1) Content management that guides parents in providing therapy and supporting their child with disability                                                        (2)  Enhanced tele-rehab features for distance communication between specialists and parents.                                                                          (3) Expansion to cover children age 6-18 with disabilities. 


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What are your estimated expenses for 2020?

Total Budget for April 1 2020 to March 31, 2021: $898,728 USD

Program costs: $609,712

Administration Costs: $215,683

Technology Cost : $73,333

   

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The Prize

Why are you applying for The Elevate Prize?

I feel that the Elevate Prize can help with our barrier / opportunity of updating our app and program to integrate more tele-rehab services, integrate more content management tools to assist parents with rehabilitation activities for their children with disabilities and to upgrade our app to cover school age children. We hope that Solve MIT Elevate Prize will connect us with technology and disability content management partners, additional funding opportunities and direct funding to overcome these barriers and seize this opportunity.

Another barrier and opportunity revolves around adding a partnership agency to our business model with a focus on scale up, creating partnerships and collaboration initiatives for mVBR-EI app and our home based EI model. The media and marketing campaign embedded in the Elevate Prize would help our mission of getting the word out to other organization working in early childhood development and the disability field. This message will translate into new government and non-government customers / partners who would replicate / scale up our model of home based early intervention using the mVBR-EI app. The Elevate Prize would also help with talent recruitment, additional funding opportunities and direct funding to establish this institutional framework.


The Elevate Prize can also help us with partnerships for Monitoring and Evaluation and research to measure outcomes of a potential tele-rehab model compared to our traditional in-person approach.

The Elevate prize will ultimately help me to get closer to the dream that no child should be left behind because of their disability.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Funding and revenue model
  • Talent recruitment
  • Mentorship and/or coaching
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

We need to form partnerships in order to spread our innovation globally and this will truly elevate humanity by allowing children around the world to reach their potential. Implementation partners could be governments that try to integrate our innovation into their existing health and education systems or NGOs. These partners will use our app and we will train them in the logistical, rehabilitation and technology aspects and support them. In addition, an adaption and co-creation process will be necessary with each partner, so that the program aligns with the needs of each geographical context.  

We seek partners that will help enhance our innovation by improving app content for end-users (both parents and community workers) and broadening its scope to cover school age children. 


We seek partners to help us with Monitoring and Evaluation / Research, especially when we implement tele-rehabilitation / education. 

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

We would like to partner with Harvard Center for the Developing Child and Can Child who can assist us with monitoring and impact evaluation. 

UNICEF, World Health Organization, Special Olympics, Humanity and Inclusion, Hesperian, Enablement, EnableME, World Vision, Asia Pacific Regional Network on Early Childhood, Early Childhood Development Network  are organization that we can partner with for rehabilitation and education content development for future app upgrades.


UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, USAID, Skoll, Co-Impact, Schwab Foundation, Omidyar Foundation,  World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dubai Cares, Porticus, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation, World Vision are funding partners who can help us scale up the app and the program globally. 


We would like to partner with any organization -  government, non-governmental or private that is interested in replication, scale-up and / or co-creation of home base early intervention programs for children with delayed development in low resource settings supported by our mVBR-EI app.

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