Facebook has reached yet another milestone by crossing the 100 million mark in India. The social network now aims for 1 billion users, and has ensured that the fresh achievement doesn’t go unnoticed. To be able to celebrate 100 million users in India, it has shared two ‘Facebook Stories’ that highlights how the social network helps people.
The first story from its part highlights the drought conditions in Maharashtra and how a group of volunteers decided to create the “Drought Help Group” on Facebook to help farmers. The founding member Jaydeep Pathare alleged, “Usually we have our rainy season from June to September, but last year, there was very short rainfall and conditions became dire. There were reports of deaths and it was very difficult for a large number of people to find drinking water in drought-affected areas. Cattle deaths were reported. There was a rise in farmer suicides.”
The Drought Help Facebook group then decided to connect drought-affected people to other citizens who wanted to either donate money or help some other way. The group would appoint village coordinators who could report what help was needed in the village so that urban donors could provide it. The group isn’t registered with any government or private institution, and doesn’t accept any money from them or pay volunteers. It managed to raise around $120,000 in funds. Through the efforts of the Drought Help Group, nearly 1 million people from seven districts of Maharashtra got ample water till the next rainy season, and a large number of cattle and wild animals were saved.
The second story is about two girls – Nikitha and Nivedha – who started making hair accessories while they studied at India’s National Institute of Fashion Technology. Soon, friends and family started loving their work, and the girls started with a small business of their own with a brand called Pigtails and Pony. They started selling the accessories at flea markets.
“We decided to keep going to flea markets to sell our work, and more and more people started asking us how they could get in touch with us or where we would be selling next,” held the author of the story, Nivedha Charles. Soon they created a Facebook Page as a way to update people about their new items and where they would be setting up stalls to sell them. People soon started placing orders through Facebook.
Talking about this milestone and its significance for India, Kevin D’Souza, Head of Growth & Mobile Partnerships, Facebook India, delineated, “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share, and to make the world more open and connected. We recently announced internet.org, a global partnership with the goal of connecting the next 5 billion people around the world, to make the same access and opportunity available to everyone. It is with this in mind that we look towards like-minded partners who want to innovate, and share the same vision as us, to understand better how internet access can be increased to reach millions more people across India.”