We have set out on a journey to end poverty in India and the path on this journey is long. We have always believed that for a problem as vast and challenging as bringing an end to poverty, we need heroes of all kinds.
Some of these heroes wear helmets.
Earlier this month, we partnered with Scout My Trip who agreed to go on a 300km journey from Mumbai to Pabal to meet a young man who opened up a goat farm with the help of 44 social investors who contributed to his loan request on our platform.
As part of the campaign, they visited Vigyan Ashram — one of our 40+ partners and a rural entrepreneurship school — and even had a meeting with a few of our 11000+ community of social investors in Pune.
They regularly posted updates on Facebook and Twitter and the buzz created online brought in other supporters who ultimately helped us raise Rs 1.03 lakh helping 19 women entrepreneurs from rural India.
Here is the journey as it happened.
An Ashram For Entrepreneurship
Setting out from Mumbai at the crack of dawn toward the rising sun in the horizon, Vineet and Deepak made it to Pabal by afternoon.
Pabal, a small village on the outskirts of Pune, is home to Vigyan Ashram. Offering a practical, vocational skills based education to students, the ashram follows the motto of learning while doing, bridging the gap between interest and application.
The ashram has developed various modules which have allowed students (many of whom may not have completed a formal education but clearly have the drive to set up businesses in villages) learn how to use basic technology.
Pawan Soni, the project manager at the ashram, gave a quick introduction to all the activities taking place and took the bikers around the institute that offers its courses at a competitive rate of just Rs 92k.
Students can enrol in a year-long Diploma course in Basic Rural Technology (DBRT) or take up shorter training courses ranging from 3–6 months in irrigation technology, computer design, water waste management, solar panel installation, poultry farming etc.
Vigyan Ashram aims to make its students employable and provide them with skills that will help them start small enterprises of their own. The most promising students are also provided with mentorship and financial assistance.
Meeting Jayesh, A Young Man With A Vision
After a fruitful couple of hours spent at the Ashram, the bikers met Jayesh Dhayerkar, an alumni of the institution.
The next morning, the bikers met Roopesh Kohad, Srivatsa Mahesh and Chaitanya Nadkarny, key members of the Rang De Pune chapter.
Volunteers in our chapters actively spread the message of social investment — often juggling family life and full-time jobs — working hard to bring about positive change in the country.
Two years ago, Srivatsa ran barefoot in the Pune marathon to raise funds for rural entrepreneurs. Roopesh, a computer engineer from IIT Delhi, has been an active Rang De social investor while Chaitanya Nadkarny has provided leadership coaching sessions to the Rang De management team.
Their individual journeys have been diverse but they are all keen to be involved in development.
Chaitanya strongly feels that we should embrace the novel concept of ‘ISR’ — Individual Social Responsibility — as poverty is a problem that requires everyone’s participation.
Just as the bikers reached Mumbai, we received news that the target — raising 1 lakh for borrowers in Maharasthra — had been reached.
The road is a magical place and most bikers conquering long distances come away with a sense of personal achievement. But we hope that our partners and their backers enjoyed riding for something bigger than one’s individual self and rode with a purpose for a cause and for the benefit of our country.
The journey might have just been 300 kms long but the journey we undertook, covering the gap of between people, is infinitely longer but with so many supporters along the way, we are confident we will never run out of fuel.
We regularly facilitate online campaigns to raise funds for rural entrepreneurs. Would you be interested in partnering with us in any way? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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To comply with RBI regulations, Rang De’s lending operations are moving from rangde.org to our brand new platform rangde.in. Visit rangde.in to continue social investing.