Alka Kamat

As Bill Gates wrote recently, the world is definitely getting better.  However, much needs to be done as the difference between haves and have nots continues to widen.  I feel lucky that I have so much to share.  I think education and particularly "knowledge" is an ultimate equalizer. Hence my contribution is about creating access to the knowledge.

(1)  eSymptoms.info: Easy, illustrative, shareable Medical Disease Information in Native Languages.

I co-founded eSymptoms in 2017 Summer with my sister, Uma Kamat, more of what we saw necessity. 

While traveling through Florida in May 2015, we came to know about a possible Zika out-break in Florida. When we googled Zika, we got some authoritative information from CDC (Centers for Disease Controls), WHO (World Health Organization) & NIH (National Institute of Health). But this was only in English and it was more meant for a medical professional, rather than a common person. 

We saw this as an opportunity to create quick reference MedCards for Disease Symptoms, Prevention & General Information in multiple Indian Languages. Medcards really simple graphical images which are easy to understand, illustrative with sketches and shareable on mobile. Key is to make them available in native languages.​

 

 

 

We plan to work on 10 most common Indian diseases and 5 mosquito vector diseases, in top 10 Indian languages in 2018. We have completed mosquito vectors diseases in Hindi (42%), Marathi (7% of population), & English (25%). In 2019, we look to work with African and Asian countries. 

While we want to fund these efforts through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), we currently are boot-straping it through our pocket money and scholarships.  We want always to keep access free for farmers, maids, army and police. We envision Corporate paying for their employees through CSR.  

(2)  Teaching Basketball to Primary Kids (Catch Them Young!) Jan -Jun 2017:

Given our Basketball team building experience at MBIS, Uma & I decided to train students of our primary school on Saturday and spoke with MBIS Sport Director. She was very supportive and helped us understand that while it was a great initiative, it was also a serious commitment. About 15 kids from PYP (Std 1-4) joined our Saturday classed (830-1130 AM).  We did total 20 sessions.

 

We learnt how to plan the basic vs advanced training,  how to plan a 3 hour training session for 8-12 years old, mix it with exercises, water intervals, and how to handle and motivate kids, etc. It was particularly appreciated by the parents and sport teachers. We heard that program was continued this year, after we left the school.

(3)  Celebrating "World Thalassemia Day" at Indian Red Cross Center, Pune (May 2015, May 2016):

Pune Red Cross Center has been celebrating the World Thalassemia Day for some time. As it falls on a family member birthday, we used to celebrate it with Red Cross. I worked with my sister Uma & Prof Kulkarni of the Red Cross to manage the painting competition for the thalassemic kids. 

(4)  Snehalaya, Pune (August - December 2016):

Snehalaya is a project undertaken by the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales of Pune Province in collaboration with the Sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ, exclusively for the Welfare and Rehabilitation of Children with Cerebral Palsy and multiple Disabilities. While teaching Biology to few of the kids, I started appreciating my interest in human biology. I wrote the final exam for Onkar, who could not write legible.  This five month experience helped me appreciate the lust for life, we humans have! I volunteered at Snehalaya on Saturdays (9-11am). 

(5) Santulan, Pune (August 2015 - April 2016)

Santulan is a non-government organization (NGO) in Pune, helping the marginalized kids of the stone quarry workers. In Grade 9, I took the opportunity to tutor few children in Math, English & Basketball. Most children were in Grade 4th and 5th. I also helped them with exam paper writing skills. I learnt from  these marginalized kids how to appreciate my life and to live in the moment.  No wonder, I used to look forward to Saturday mornings due to the simplicity of those few hours.