[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of Guest Posts by Nitin Tailor and Anvita Dixit, where they share their experiences during Jagriti Yatra 2013]
Nitin Tailor, Facilitator Jagriti Yatra 2013
As CEO & co-founder of Serve Happiness, Nitin oversees strategy and management for the company. Nitin has a proven record in academia, technology startups and social sector in Europe and INDIA. Nitin received a bachelor’s in Computer Engineering from DDIT, Gujarat and attended IIIT Bangalore where he earned a M.Tech in Information Technology.He is also an Linnaeus Palme scholarship awardee during which he attended Malmo University, Sweden.Nitin is both an Startup Weekend and Startup 2020 alumni and his teams had been runners up and winners at these programs. He always find happiness while working towards bringing positive change in society.Taking first step towards this He led and set up HMP Foundation (A Non Profit Organization) to improve health and education for poor people in rural areas. In his free time Nitin loves to do cycling, traveling and playing cricket with kids.
It’s truly said : Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Being a small town boy and born in beautiful natural surroundings of mountains, rivers and farms in Rajpipla, I always love traveling, explore new places and learning new cultures. As a small child, traveling is just merely seeing sights and enjoying new places with friends. As I grow, traveling adds more perspective in my life. Yes, you can learn a lot by traveling. I still remember my first train journey to Ahmedabad. It was my first memorable experience to travel with strangers but during whole journey I learned a lot.
Time as well traveled on its own pace and one day I got chance to travel Europe as part of my selection as international student during my Masters at IIIT Bangalore. I have traveled 5 different countries during my stay in Europe. After returning back to India, I really thought to bring some change and taking first steps towards it, have setup an NGO in my district to improve health and education by leveraging latest technologies.
Traveling India was always in my wishlist but I never know I would get such an great opportunity to feel the breadth and depth of my nation in such wonderful journey. I have heard about the Jagriti Yatra from few friends. They were very much excited while talking about this. I have applied writing lengthy essay about my work and luckily I got chance to be part of this wonderful Jagriti Yatra this year as facilitator. Also, got full sponsorship for the same. I am really excited to be part of this life changing experience.
Anvita Dixit, Participant Jagriti Yatra 2013
Anvita Dixit is an Assistant Program Officer in the Reproductive Health Division of Population Council’s India office. She has studied, traveled and volunteered in social development programs in over 17 countries. She spent her childhood in India, schooling at the International School of Geneva in Switzerland and then went on to pursue a BSc in Psychology and Sociology and then an MSc in Health Psychology at the University of Sussex in England. She is passionate in pursuing research in adolescent sexual and reproductive health and health communication including social marketing. She is also interested in improving health delivery through innovative approaches such as public private partnership.
I was always boastful of the rich culture, language, traditions, spiritual knowledge and potential for new business ideas that my country holds. India has always been known as the land of jugaad but that has changed in the recent years. We have had some revolutionary business successes that have set great examples.
I left India as a child and moved back as a young adult after 10 years of being away from home. I was feeling proud of all the exciting opportunities I knew about my country, only to realize there was much to learn. I felt a strong thirst to do two things at this point: to travel through the country to get insights into culture and exploring the alive energy in innovation for social development.
Throughout my life I have been proud of the raw and rich potential of India for new ideas and experimental business models. I wanted to learn more about the innovative initiatives that contribute to socio-economic development of the country. I wanted to explore the success stories and get inspired from the challenges they faced. I was impressed with and pulled towards the new generation socially aware youth in our country and wanted to be a part of a movement.
A platform like the Jagriti Yatra, seems like the exactly right place to start. I am eager to connect to the immense energy of the socially aware and motivated youth and their initiatives. This would be the perfect platform for me to travel through India with the motive of gaining insights into its realities, while being involved in team building and exciting sessions of training, debating and discussions with open minded and enthusiastic people on a long train journey.
This program will open me to learnings from successful social entrepreneurship and I’m ready to open my heart to inspiration which would enable me able to create and intervene in the social issues we face today that affect my life everyday.
What is Jagriti Yatra?
Jagriti Yatra, mainly sponsored by Tata groups, is an annual train journey that that takes hundreds of India’s highly motivated youth (with some participation of international students) between the ages of 20-25 and experienced professionals with age above 25, on a eighteen day national odyssey, introducing them to unsung heroes of India. The aim is to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship – both social and economic – within India’s youth by exposing them to individuals and institutions that are developing unique solutions to India’s challenges.
Vision of Jagriti Yatra:
They rightly called it as ‘Awakening the Entrepreneurial Spirit’. The vision of Tata Jagriti Yatra is to inspire young Indians living in the middle of the Indian demographic diamond ($1- $3 per day) to lead development by taking to enterprise. India is going to be the ‘world’s youth country’ in the next decade and motivating this portion of our demographic population is of utmost importance.
What is ELD (Enterprise Led Development):
India’s demography represents a diamond more than a pyramid (unlike C.K.Prahlad’s description of pyramid in his famous book ‘The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid’). The middle of this diamond consists of 50 crore Indians, who are no longer destitute but often lack the means to earn a living. Government jobs are few and far between, and for these young Indians enterprise is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Instead of relying on charitable aid or government grants, enterprise led development seeks to create sustainable and scalable enterprises in the middle of the Indian demographic diamond. Tata Jagriti Yatra is one of the key strands of Jagriti to create national awareness about this program, and to build leaders who will follow the path of enterprise led development in India.
Jagriti team has a robust selection procedure to ensure the participation of the best of the bests. Jagriti Yatra-2010 has witnessed around 20000 applicants out of which only 400 have been be selected. The application form consists of a series of essay questions designed to ascertain the candidate’s ability to think outside the box, his/her understanding of the challenges that face India and the commitment to solve them through enterprise. He/she is also asked to describe own contribution to the society till now by any initiative. It is a subjective evaluation of the raw entrepreneurial potential within a candidate by a selection panel of 20 experts. The Facilitators (explained below) are further judged on their professional experience and ability to coordinate and manage youth activities. They have to write three more essays. All are followed by telephonic interviews. Double-digit number of essays, pooh! If somebody comparing this with US B-school application essays- yeah! you are right.
Here are two types of yatris in the train- Participants and Facilitators.
Participants are young candidates in the age group of 20-27 who want to ‘be the change they want to see’ and have the potential to become entrepreneurs and change-makers.
The facilitators are experienced professionals who are keen to join the movement for enterprise led development. The Facilitator manages a critical dual role of a coordinator and mentor of Yatris. The responsibilities of a Facilitator can be summed up as:
- A Facilitator is a bridge between the participants and the organizing team
- A Facilitator manages his/her group throughout the journey
- Helps them form a cohesive group of learning
- Initiates discussions amongst his group of participants
- Shares knowledge and guides interactions in the group
- Helps the participant make most of the Yatra by managing individual learning as well as collaborative learning through rich informal interactions between the participants of the Yatra
Sponsorship for Yatra
The full expense of the Jagriti Yatra is around INR 50000 & USD950 (for international applicants). If you are feeling awkward looking at the figures, this is the time for you to take the first lesson of social business. Please come out of the typical Indian mind-set of ‘social service’, and make yourself understood that one IIM , IIT or Stanford alumni won’t invest his/her time and brain for something free of course.
Places we will be visiting:
Well, We know this is the envy part. With whomever I am sharing the good news; everyone is excited about this part –wow! So many places to travel ! So, while sharing the news I am leaving no stone unturned to explain about the difference between the pyramid and diamond and what is the idea behind the Enterprise Led Development. Ok, we will travel more than 9000 kilometres with the starting the ending points being India’s commercial capital. I am super excited to visit so many states where I have never been until now. Let’s Start the journey of Change!
Impact of Jagriti Yatra
The Jagriti Yatra’s vision is to inspire the middle-income youth to work towards nation building activities. About 45 enterprises are created by Yatris every year and about half of those are in small town and villages spread across different sectors including education, health, agriculture, livelihoods, technology etc. The participants not only gain knowledge from the different models they study together, but gain soft skills that enthuse through and behavior. JY is an opportunity for them to gain an understanding of the highly varying cultures of India, improve interpersonal skills through the series of interactive activities, as well as go through a process of self-exploration by facing the challenges of this intense travel on wheels. The facilitators, many of who are already budding entrepreneurs find like-minded people and create a large network while being exposed to a greater understanding of different factors that can build and break even the best initiatives.
We will keep on updating our yatra experiences with this unique concept. We will explore options to pen down our experiences of each and every moments and learning during the Jagriti Yatra.