It began with a research grant, on which we traveled to India for 4 months and worked with many orphanages and slum schools to understand the lives of orphans. One day, while working with a slum school, a boy skipping school passed by. The director called upon him and Shahed’s only reaction was to give us a blank smile; he was high from sniffing a green marker he had stolen from school to escape his hunger. We realized that issues of literacy are complex and blindly building schools won’t make Shahed’s life better.
In 2007 Indian government received $1.83 billion in aid. Yet, India dropped from 122nd in ‘92 to 132nd place in ‘08 UN HDI index, the lowest in over 10 years. India harbors 43% of the world’s malnourished children like Shahed. Lack of data on which problems are causal and urgent chronically impacts society’s ability to answer on-the-ground needs. So we created Needmap to make sure that governments, donors, and organizations can visualize the urgency and prevalence of needs before investing into losing or low return strategies, and instead invest wisely into approaches that work.