This story was submitted as part of the #Pledge1Gives GivingTuesday campaign, which celebrates the many ways our member companies are having an impact around the world.

2020 – The year that has changed the entire world. Corona has redefined each and every aspect of our living. The philanthropic activities and socio-economic projects are no exception to the changing landscape. Infostretch Ignite has responded to the Corona challenges and recalibrated it to the new realities. The growth of Infostretch family and passion of Infoneers has ensured great progress in 2020 and a firm footing for aggressive growth in 2021. 

Let’s have a quick recap of 2020:

  1. Mission Ahaan – Commitment Redefined: 

Infostretch Ignite expanded its Project Ahaan with the opening of an additional new centre. The unique model of providing education and recreational activities to street children continued to expand. Corona created new challenges as the families had to relocate to rural areas. The social distancing and closure of physical spaces created further disruption in the learning process of the children. Team Ahaan’s Ashok Karania and Geetanjali Sahni and our NGO Partner Shwas’ Kinjal Shah continued the interaction with multiple visits to understand the ground situation. A slow and cautious restart was made with new ideas – creating ambassadors within children, connecting with digital mediums, usage of painting and creative ideas, more offline work etc. Once the lockdown eased, the frequency of visits increased. With the closure of schools and changed  life, Ahaan team played an important role in continuity of education, managing anxiety and stress in children and ensuring positive attitude for the challenging times. 

  1. Project Navrachit: 

Infostretch Ignite opened a second centre for the construction workers with Navrachit Balvikas Trust. The Corona pandemic created a challenge for the construction workers as well and the first challenge was to address the immediate loss of livelihood questions. Infostretch Ignite provided food and general supplies for the less privileged families and helped them deal with the immediate crisis. As the lockdown eased, the team worked on providing education and engaging activities to children via digital and non-digital mediums. Ignite Team’s Xama Trivedi and Devang Tripathi have ensured the success of the initiative even in pandemic situation. 

  1. Mission Roshni: Working with Visually Challenged Families: 

Infostretch Ignite identified the new areas of intervention. One of the biggest affected communities were the visually challenged families. Corona robbed them of their meagre economic activities and lockdown brought never-seen-before challenges. The very survival was at stake. Infostretch Ignite collaborated with Omkar Andhjan Mandal, a grassroot organisation, to work with the visually challenged families and help them. The initial intervention was to ensure steady supply of food and general rations. It was followed with engagement for families and children in different activities like painting, games and exploring new vocational skills. Corona continues to be a challenge as we explore new economic avenues for these families. 

Infostretch Hackathon Winners donated their prize money to the cause of visually challenged families and helped in food and ration kit distribution. 

  1. ConquerCorona – Digital Campaign for Infostretch Members:

Infostretch Ignite was working with the external world but it was equally important to ensure the Infostretch family was doing well. Corona Lockdown and Work From Home have been the new normal. All of us are learning to deal with Corona Anxiety and stress every day. Infostretch Ignite created a campaign called Conquer Corona to ensure every Infostretch member was staying positive during these challenging times. To defeat Corona with positive attitude, healthy mind and fit body. The message was simple: find time for exercise and mindful activities to make our immune system strong.  

The campaign leveraged the power of digital and social media. It was created as a challenge where one had to upload one video of self doing exercise and challenge 3 more people to do the same. It was a massive hit and achieved its purpose of spreading the message of staying fit and being mentally strong. 

  1. Mission Senior Empowerment: Priya Living Centre

Infostretch Ignite team has been working with the senior citizens in Priya Living Centre in USA. Ignite US members Mona Shah, Ketki Mathuria, Avani Makwana, Falguni Shah, Bina Patel, Rhonda Wallace and others have been spending lot of time and engaging with the centres through different initiatives. 

Our gifted and talented Infoneers and family members showed their “creative sides” by colouring, drawing and writing letters to Senior Citizens that live in and around the Silicon Valley.  Many of these seniors have little access to family members due to Covid-19 and social distancing regulations. Our Infoneers brought “loads of sunshine and love” in their lives through their paintings and letters. Senior citizens were touched with our gesture and the entire idea was  an overwhelming success.

Infostretch Ignite Team brought joy to the lives of senior citizens through a specially designer musical event “Zindagi Ek Sunahara Safar”. Our leaders and energetic champions created a magical evening for the Priya Living elderly members to celebrate Diwali and to celebrate the festival called “Life”! Manish Mathuria, Rutesh Shah, Mona Shah, Ketki Mathuria, Padmini Murthy, Avani Makwana, Deepak Parmar, Dharminder, Shraddha Agarwal, Kinjan Shah, Bina Patel and others created a lasting Diwali memory for the seniors. 

Ignite Team has been is planning to work with other senior citizen shelters. Our support goes beyond the sharing of our time and helping with different activities. 

  1. Mental Health Matters:

Our world is changing disruptively at a rate faster than ever experienced in the entire humankind. Our life is getting busier, demanding and more stressful. This affects our productivity, relationships and happiness. Left unattended, it creates anxiety, depression and serious mental health issues. One in four people suffer from mental health issues globally. The most alarming is the rise of mental health issues amongst the youth. The time to address the mental health challenges is NOW!

Keeping this thought in mind, Infostretch Ignite introduced a new initiative to create awareness around mental health and well- being. Infostretch Ignite is working on the following ideas: 

  1. Mental Health Awareness Session 
  2. Collaboration with National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) – Joint Activities, NAMI Walk
  3. Online Forum for Sharing and Connecting
  4. Curated Content 

Ignite’s Mental Health group collaborated with National Alliance on Mental Illness and participated in the NAMI Virtual Walk on Oct 10, 2020. The walk was successful in raising funds as well as awareness – Feelings & Thoughts Are As Important As Our Fitness! Cheers to Ignite Team’s Ketki Mathuria, Niraj Pendal, Kavneet Kaur and others. 

  1. VOSAP Art for Heart 2020 Collaboration:

Infostretch Ignite Team had partnered with VOSAP for showcasing their wonderful initiative “Art From Heart” Contest 2020 to Ignite NGO partners in Gujarat. 

The Contest was a great success. The Contest took VOSAP’s global theme to the grassroots. It created awareness and initiated conversations around disability amongst kids and youth. A message of hope, sensitivity and empathy was communicated beautifully. 

Salient Features:

  1. More Than 200 Registrations 
  2. Workshops For Awareness on Disability & Contest
  3. Surprise For All Participants
  4. Partner NGOs – Robinhood Army, Shwas, Omkar Andhjan Mandal & Navrachit. 
  5. Prizes For All Individual NGOs 

The highlight of the campaign has been the association with Omkar Andhjan Mandal.

Omkar Andhjan Mandal organised a workshop for children of the visually challenged and less privileged members for ‘Art From Heart’ initiative. The location was Indira Nagar, Lambha, a place on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. On a hot summer afternoon, the children assembled and discussed the topic of disability. Infostretch Ignite Team’s Ashok Karania, Geetanjali Sahni and Omkar Andhjan Mandal’s Vikram Rajput interacted with children and chatted about different disabilities, impact on lives and how to help the specially abled brethren. This helped to take VOSAP’s global theme to the grassroots. It provided a new perspective to the people on the fringes – who usually take disability for granted. It opened up conversation and dialogue amongst the generation next. A message of hope, sensitivity and empathy was communicated beautifully. 

  1. Happy Periods: Building For Scale 

Ignite Sheroes-driven Happy Periods Campaign goes national! After the overwhelming run in the inaugural state of Gujarat, Ignite’s highly popular Happy Periods Campaign saw its successful launch in Pune, Maharashtra. The highly enthusiastic Ignite Happy Periods team continued their interactive and engaging sessions in multiple schools. Happy Period’s success was attitudes to its unique format: The delicate topic of menstruation being discussed through a mixture of fun activities, experience sharing, open Q&A and distribution of ‘Happy Period’ kits. The campaign is paused as schools are working in digital format and the nature of workshop is best suited to personal and intimate interactions. But the Happy Periods Team of Zil Shah, Mansi Dave, Ashwani Singh, Pooja Shah, Aarti Tanna, Krunal Sagan, Geetanjali Sahni and others are planning new avatar of the Happy Periods campaign. 

  1. Infostretch Movember – Mo2:

Movember is an annual event of growing of moustaches and beards during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues like prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s suicide.  Infostretch Ignite brings the Movember movement to Infostretch. 

Infostretch Movember is about discussions and actions for promoting men’s health. The inaugural edition of Movember was a grand success with strong participation from Infoneers across the globe. The second edition is under action in November 2020 – The second edition has more prizes, launch of running club and top-down participation! The energy, the creativity and the overall awareness created is amazing!

  1. Ignite Running Club

Taking the spirit of Movember to next level, Infostretch Ignite introduced Infoneers to one of the most effective way to boost our health – Running! Ignite Running Club is our commitment to make Infoneers healthy – through sessions, WhatsApp group, solo runs, group runs, sharing, tips and other means! The joys of running are manifold and nobody knows it better than super talented Infoneers – marathoner Harish Nair and dashing Hoshedar Daboo who are spearheading the initiative. Harry and Hoshi are champion runners who have a first-hand experience of the benefits of running and they are committed to boost Infoneers health and well-being through Ignite Running Club

  1. Corona Compliant: 

In lieu of the extraordinary circumstances due to Corona Virus situation, all employee participation activities of Ignite have been paused. The partner NGOs are taking ground actions as per situation – street kids live in many centres and our partner NGOs are taking all precautions. Ignite also supported other causes like:

– Ignite Pune’s Rohini and team have been working local Samaritans like Sanchita for supporting the basic necessities of visually impaired, differently abled and less privileged citizens. 

– Infostretch Hackathon Prize Winner Med-Techies donated their prize money for the old age home in rural Gujarat – Jalaram Gharda Ghar

Ignite Team’s actions and initiatives in 2020 prove that extraordinary circumstances require us to renew and recommit ourselves to our causes with more energy and zeal. Giving up is easy, staying and supporting is the difficult but right thing to do. The leadership, team spirit, innovation and commitment of Infoneers has been very vital to ensure that the Ignite vision keeps shining bright and the larger community goals are achieved. Corona Time is the time for reprioritising, consolidating and getting ready with new flights of imagination and giving back!