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अलीगढ़ ::एएमयू कुलपति जमीरउद्दीन शाह का सेवा काल सेना के इतिहास में स्वच्छ, अनुशासनप्रिय एवं वीरता की गाथाओं से परिपूर्ण है।

Not Just a News,its a lifeline for root india! YES this is MeraSMS a nonprofit initiative

Ramaki Devi, a single mother, has two sons, and a daughter who is just one-and-a-half months old. She lives in a tiny packed room made up of racks of plywood and curtains, in a slum settlement behind the beautiful, lavish parts of East Delhi. Ramika moved to Ghaziabad from Bihar after her marriage with Santosh, now her ex-husband, in search of better paying work. While life has otherwise been tough for the young woman, at least motherhood has been relatively easier with the recent birth of her daughter. She can now speak to a virtual assistant whenever she needs to check on something related to her or her child’s health, immunization or find a nearby maternal care facility. Women in India’s urban slums often suffer from complications during pregnancy and childbirth that can have severe consequences for their health. And a significant cause of maternal and infant deaths is lack of access to preventive care information. Now, a free voice assistance service is helping these women get the requisite information to avoid such circumstances, and live worry-free. 

The mothers receive information on prenatal and antenatal care, immunization reminders and other preventive information tailored accordingly using the mother’s geostational or infant’s age. It also tells them when and where to get the treatment they need, and gives them access to doctors and changemakers who can offer free-of-cost assistance. But not just that, Ramika’s voice assistant also educates her about the various banking and education-related schemes by the state government that were launched for slumdwellers like her, but the enrollment process came with certain structural barriers preventing her to benefit from them. Now, she can get the required information and support to benefit from the desired welfare scheme by sending a missed call from her feature phone. MeraSMS is a nonprofit initiative, powered by a group of young technology activists, which operates a SMS-based social network to “connect the urban poor to vital information, who is otherwise stuck in the information gap”, as states Mridul Manas, the 17-year-old behind the project. “We like to think of it as the Yelp for needs-based assistance. Just that it specifically works for the neglected populations in India’s urban slums who still lack access to internet or the smartphones. It works because it’s based on SMS.” Since, majority of India’s urban poor still lacks access to digitalization, MeraSMS’s unique platform uses SMS platform, powered by cloud-data on the back-end, to bridge the gap between migrant slum dwellers and the various NGOs, government policies and changemakers. The platform allows slum-dwellers and community leaders to report their needs for amenities such as education, shelter, water or other needs. These reports are used to ultimately connect the family to a nearby nonprofit organization offering the required assistance. “Sometimes the nonprofits practice inclusive and friendly induction, hence sending voice messages to the target families are enough to make assistance delivery happen. However, most of the times especially when we deal with a government welfare scheme, certain kind of on-ground assistance is required for the families while we work collaboratively with target institutions to deliver the assistance”, explains Mridul. Fortunately, registering for MeraSMS is very simple. A primary mobile number, be it of the mother or family, requiring the assistance, or community leader in the slum complex, and a consent signature is all that is required. No monetary subscription is involved. Since their launch in June of 2016, the MeraSMS team, mostly comprising of high school and college students, has managed to get over 640 mothers into the network. The unique service ensures that urban poor families always have friendly counsel to turn to, amidst the challenging circumstances posed by the information gap. 

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