Ford Empowers Women and Saves Lives in Rural India

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(added few years ago!)

Henry Ford believed vehicles like his Model T would improve lives through greater mobility. More than 100 years later on the other side of the world, a young Indian mother named Mageswari connects that vision with the birth of her healthy baby boy. Mageswari, 19, lives in Kodamaathi, a tiny village in rural India where Ford Motor Company just concluded a nine-month pilot program that entailed helping pregnant women overcome geographical and technological barriers that prevented them from receiving adequate healthcare.

Called Sustainable Urban Mobility with Uncompromised Rural Reach (SUMURR), the program made use of a Ford Endeavour SUV that was designed to handle the most difficult of terrains and traverse areas previously unreachable by four-wheeled vehicles. After arriving in rural areas, health professionals used laptops and cell phones to connect with doctors and medical help in ways they never have before.

As a result, SUMURR made safe childbirth possible for 41 pregnant women; women like Mageswari, who – with the help of the Ford Endeavour – was able to make it to the hospital in just enough time to give birth. “If not for Ford Endeavour, I might have tried to reach the hospital in a two-wheeler,” she says. “I do not know what might have happened.”

The intervention area of Kalvarayan Hills has a higher infant and maternity mortality rate compared with most other pockets of Tamil Nadu – a key indicator of the need for prenatal care in the region. Mageswari’s situation illustrates the kind of need that was addressed by SUMURR, and that’s where Ford comes in, according to David Berdish, manager of Social Sustainability.

Berdish says Ford is acting as an agent of change for a better world by forging innovative public-private partnerships with government, academic institutions, nonprofit stakeholders and company resources to support positive social advancement.

Tags : Henry Ford, Model T, Ford Motor Company, Sustainable Urban Mobility with Uncompromised Rural Reach, SUMURR, Kalvarayan Hills, David Berdish

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