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SEI Alums Partner to Expand Clean Water Access in India

Shilpi Roongta and Sheel Shah, both Northeastern alums who graduated from the College of Business in 2012, took Social Entrepreneurship during their time at Northeastern. Shilpi continued her pursuit by going on the Belize/DR field study in 2010, adding a Social Entrepreneurship minor to her degree and being an active SEI Research Associate and volunteer for Citizen Schools. A common area of interest for both of them has been Clean Water. They had even pursued bringing clean water to developing countries in their Social Entrepreneurship class. Their project group drafted a business plan for a company dubbed “Kare Karts International” that consisted of a BOGO model providing a cart that would offer easy transportation and filtering of water to the poor for each shopping cart purchased by grocers in the U.S. 

Shilpi is now a Consultant with Accenture and recently started a project with a global non-profit in New York City. Sheel is also in New York working at a start-up that focuses on social media advertising. While both have been laser focused on building their career, it was clear that each wanted to be a part of something outside of work to support change. It seemed only fitting that Charity: Water launched a campaign in September 2013 to bring clean water solutions to 100,000 families in Orissa, India. When Sheel heard what Charity: Water was doing, it sparked both of them to immediately create a campaign page to fundraise enough money to support clean water for 10 families in India (appx. $4,500).

With the tagline “Clean water should not be a luxury”, Sheel and Shilpi set out on a mission using email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach their goal by the end of September. Armed with a network of great friends, family and colleagues, the duo were able to surpass their goal, raising $5, 220. They are excited to share future progress updates from Charity: Water that include the exact location (we’re talking GPS coordinates) of the water project, pictures of the solutions and a general progress update to all contributors of the campaign.

 Charity: Water is one of a new breed of modern non-profits that focus on metrics, efficiency and image. They follow a model where they raise money for operations separately from programs. As disclosed on their website “Private donors cover our operating cost so that 100% of all public donations can go directly to water project costs”. To date, the non-profit has partnered with 22 global organizations to fund over 9,000 water projects. Founder Scott Harrison is known for gathering support from the tech and start-up scene as it is home to new wealth and innovation. Recently Charity: Water partnered with Google to implement remote monitoring systems to “ensure maintenance and repair needs are being met and clean water keeps flowing”. Harrison was also featured in the cover story of Inc. Magazine’s October 2013 issue for being a revered story-teller, a skill that has served Charity: Water well enough to raise $33 Million in 2012.

Although the campaign has ended for Sheel and Shilpi, both alums will continue to seek out opportunities to give back. As for Charity: Water’s September campaign, the organization has raised just over half of the $2 Million needed to reach 100,000 families in India. If you are interested in joining this effort you can create a campaign too. Check out their website