Grow as you give
I come from a family of doctors. My mother, father, aunts and uncles have all taken to this profession. Dinner time was often spent discussing various diseases, their implications and their prevalence in the country. Such conversations have always been a source of my intrigue. As years passed and I became more aware, I did some research to find that Anaemia is one of the most prevalent diseases in the country with alarming statistics. For weeks, I tracked WHO surveys and government policies as my homework for what became the most rewarding experience of my life. I recorded low Haemoglobin levels in women and children in slums and government schools as well as in the far more elite circles of society. How fair of the disease to not discriminate on gender or background, status or creed. It just killed silently.
Then came my calling and I co-founded Raktsha, a student driven initiative to combat Anaemia in Delhi-NCR. Soon, I found myself swimming in puddles of work ranging from raising funds for the campaign to collaborating with path labs and pharmaceuticals to buying the correct equipment and getting trustworthy doctors on board. Sadarpur, Gheja, Nithari - our three target slums, various schools and preschools taught me that effective communication is key. While tie ups with giant pharmaceuticals boosted my confidence, enduring them taught me how to establish a goodwill in the market. Some decisions required my consent and I learnt to back them up with informed decision making. Over 80 awareness activities, 200 cured patients, several fundings and panel discussions later, I found myself emerge as a responsible citizen of the nation.
As I entered college, I was keen on expanding my existing skill set to accommodate business development as one of the cardinal driving forces behind my social ventures. This is when I was introduced to the idea of social entrepreneurship and thus, the idea of Enactus. After my recruitment into a workforce of 50 passionate leaders brainstorming to change the world, I realized that a project should not only be sustainable but should also seek to make underprivileged communities self-reliant. Patradya, a chapter of Enactus KMC that I'm closely associated with is designed to be a double impact generation model. It caters to provide employment to the displaced Afghan refugee community while seeking to eliminate plastic by the use of edible cutlery.
Working with a community with prominent language barriers and striking cultural incongruity was extremely challenging. As workshops passed and conversations sparked, they became family. From teaching them how to produce perfectly shaped edible bowls to welcoming their MasterChef suggestions in the production process, we’ve come a long way. Constant visits to the NGO they’re affiliated with has helped me win their trust. While regular flow of income from the sale of our bowls keeps them motivated to work, workshops on financial security, children’s education rights and healthcare ensure all their problems are duly assessed.
Lifting a socially marginalized community by gifting them a feasible business model while positively impacting the environment has given me a holistic approach towards creative problem solving.