McLeod Ganj: Mountain Cleaners, a voluntary organisation is appealing to the public for their support in a competition to win essential funding. The group, which is now a registered trust was founded in April 2009 after organizing mass cleans ups in McLeod Ganj, the home of the Dalai Lama. They started weekly waste collections from popular trekking destination Triund in 2009 and from Guna Devi Temple this April. The group also started clean up hikes to Kareri Lake. However, this group has only 3 paid members of staff and relies on volunteers and donations to continue its work.
The Mahindra Group, an Indian multinational company with operations in over 100 countries across the globe has created a platform called Spark the Rise to propel innovation, entrepreneurship, and positive change in India. Mahindra is giving a total of 52 grants, with monthly grants of 4 lakh, the three runners-up each receiving 20 lakh and the grand finale winner receiving a whopping 40 lakh. People and organizations with ideas/initiatives that can inspire positive change have to submit their project and promote it. In each of the 6 rounds, 5 projects with the highest amount of votes and 3 projects selected by a panel of judges win funding to turn their dreams into reality.
One of the winners in Round 1 was Vikrant Baibhaw and his team from Varanasi who are providing an alternative to polythene bags. They offset the cost of providing non woven recyclable bags by selling advertising then donate a percentage of profits to ‘Helping Hand Society’ that provides education for underprivileged children.
In Round 2, the judges awarded a grant to a project with only 2 votes that is helping rural schools and colleges by creating a national campaign to dramatically improve teacher and student productivity, by providing free trials of d.light solar lanterns.
Mountain Cleaners are one of only two projects representing Himachal Pradesh in Round 3 of the contest and are appealing to individuals, schools and businesses to support them in their campaign to win funding. Jodie Underhill (UK) founder of the group said “Voting takes seconds and each and every vote could be the difference between winning and losing.We have an amazing opportunity and all we need is for people to support us by voting and spreading the word. We’re doing this because we love Himachal, but unless the people get behind us and show us their support we can’t help. With a single vote people can help us to build an organisation that could one day potentially benefit all of India.”