Amongst the many lessons the pandemic is teaching us, a major one is “false information is worse than no information". In the midst of the chaos of May 2020, we discovered first-hand how the spread of wrong information amongst the uneducated and remote rural communities we work with was leading to unnecessary panic, fear and anxiety. In a bid to curb this, Mitravaani was born.
Mitravaani is our 24/7 community cellphone radio service that provides credible and reliable information and news to digitally challenged communities. Along with our technology and service partner Gram Vaani, we offer this Telegu service totally free of cost to users, mainly targeting those who do not own smartphones and therefore have limited access to authentic information.
Mitravaani works on a IVRS platform and was launched on June 5th, 2020, our first anniversary, to spread credible Covid-related news, authentic healthcare tips and counselling. It has gradually expanded to connect under-privileged patients to volunteer doctors for quality Telehealthcare and answer genuine health-related queries. It also provides several other community betterment services like improvement of spoken English, broadcasting relevant local news and narration of inspiring real-life stories and value-based stories for children.
Villagers can also use it as a community media platform to express their views on various social issues, present any complaints they may have with public services. The process effectively translates into a voice-based discussion forum for the community, where people can share and discuss different topics with each other through voice recordings. This medium supporting local production and consumption of content is called community media, a voice-based media for local communities. The service has a much broader scope to reach out to the under-served section of the society.
This service holds ample potential to address various other pertinent issues faced by impoverished communities. It can be used as a community media platform for rural folk to express their views on social issues and complaints about public services. Plans are also in motion to expand and use Mitravaani as an outreach medium for other domains such as skill development awareness and farmer awareness, in under-served sections of society.
How Mitravaani Works
Give a missed call to our number – 9278707369.
Receive a call back from us within a few seconds.
You will be led to an automated menu from which you can select the number to take you to the desired service.
Key Highlights of Mitravaani, our IVR based Cellphone Radio [June 2020 to November 2022]
278+ audio content clips broadcasted on COVID/HealthCare awareness including prevention, protection, misconceptions, myths, self/family care, etc.
23179 outbound calls.
7776+ inbound queries/interactions and feedback.
From March 2022 to November 2022, we supported Decodis Company, a social research organisation, in a research to understand the usage of apps by the rural sector. On a later stage, this will help us guide rural people to understand the importance of cyber security and misuse of private data.
In May 2021, we initiated a free service to purchase and deliver fresh vegetables to underprivileged COVID+ patients in quarantine or isolation in the village areas surrounding Puttaparthi. We also started supplying medicines and serving Sai Protein to patients admitted at the Dharmshala Covid Care Centre in Puttaparthi. Both initiatives have significantly contributed to the well-being and successful recovery of dozens of poor patients.
Free online yoga and wellness classes
On May 18th 2021, the Foundation started free online wellness classes. Classes include yoga, breathing exercises and acupressure sessions and take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5 pm for 30 minutes. These fun-filled interactive sessions are aimed at improving the physical health and emotional well-being of participants and are open to all. We are thrilled that the classes are being attended regularly with such an overwhelming number of enthusiastic participants. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81089339228
Andhra Pradesh COVID Helpline
On May 6th, 2021, in partnership with Sai Krushna Trust, MITRAz Foundation set up the Andhra Pradesh COVID Helpline ( 040-48213300). This service provides verified news related to COVID-19 and authentic information on oxygen support, hospital bed availability and ambulance services. It also provides tele-consultation and counselling to Covid patients with the help of volunteer doctors and certified counsellors. We have helped hundreds of needy people since setting up this helpline and have been widely appreciated for this service.
Breaking the barriers – The story of a young man on the path of growth
He saw success around him, but he didn’t have access to it.
He knew the life he wanted, but didn’t know where to start.
He was undeterred by failure, but language was a barrier.
His thinking was defined, but his presentation was not refined.
Seldom do young men make a conscious transition from a position of disadvantage to a position of confidence, through tenacious, consistent efforts. The story of RG is one such. He was a student of the 3rd batch of our BFSI course. A small farming family, combined with an arid climate and water shortage, was a recipe for misery in the little hamlet Narasampalle. He studied in government schools and college. As would his lot often do, he landed in a job in Vizag that demanded him to work 12 hours a day for less than the minimum wage. He got to know about MITRAz Skills during one of our mobilization visits to villages. He was a very rough and crude person till he joined MITRAz Skills. After joining us, he was a very attentive and enthusiastic to learn as he realized this was the one great opportunity to come up in life. He was obsessed with improving his English language, according to him, it was the window to the world. Every new word he came across, he would note down and follow-up on the meaning and usage, as if it was a task on his to-do list!
At placement, he was selected in all three interviews! Joining Kotak Mahindra Bank, Penukonda, for a salary of Rs.15,000/- has turned his life around. From being difficult, he has grown to handle difficult customers with understanding and active listening. His boss is a happy man because RG takes the initiative to take the bank to new customers by actively pursuing leads and convincing conversations to open accounts. Life at home and in the village is not the same anymore. Written off earlier as good for nothing, his success had made them look at him with respect and pride. He now contributes two-thirds of his salary to the household. The emotional bonding in the family has improved. In his own words, ‘The single most takeaway from MITRAz for me was, I take responsibility for what I do. I work like an owner not like a labourer!’
The challenge in Skill Development is, often, not the imparting of knowledge, which is just a certain amount of information. It is to curate and mentor the underlying attitude towards life and learning, to mould the clay that is youth, into a shape of art. We learn, not how to earn, but how to learn. With RG, the Center has fulfilled this goal of a wholesome transformation. From enhancement of livelihood, he is moving towards a pursuit of excellence in life. We believe, that change, will take him places.