The joy of living comes from cherishing confusion(s) in life. It keeps us alive, feeds our curiosity, trains our cognition, and always helps us explore new possibilities in the form of an ever-learner. My 3 Idiots moment came in real this mid-June, and I felt the same as what Aamir once said “Bachpan se chahta tha ki IIT ya IIM mein padhoon, aaj yahan baitha hun, bahut maaza aa raha hai sir”. But in my case, no one asked the definition of a machine, so I was safe. I was able to enjoy my 2-days of dream coming true inside the classroom, and largely outside with a diverse community joining me for a Campus Immersion Program.
As part of Phase 3- Social Impactpreneur Program by IIMV Field, I & Gulshan Kumar Sharma participated in the Campus Immersion Program that happened last month at the permanent campus of the Indian Institute of Management Visakhapatnam. It was a great learning, sharing, and networking experience for me. Getting to see social entrepreneurs doing great work in diverse areas was encouraging. This became the moment when I got to learn many theories, industry insights, and experiential stories, that were very relatable to my experiences from this sector & social entrepreneurial journey so far.
The Knowledge & Masterclass series was helpful to give insights into some significant thematic areas of Volunteerism, the Art & Science of Crowdfunding, Understanding & Measuring Impact, and digital brand building. All these learnings were shared through the narration of lived experiences, years of insightful gains, and open perspectives by IIM Visakhapatnam professors and guest speakers. The Open House helped me to get a chance to ask my queries and get personalised discussions with the faculty members.
For any discipline to grow, it is very important that its academics and profession, both expand themselves hand-in-hand. And for a perpetual learner, it is significant to absorb new understandings, develop diverse perspectives, and unlearn their experiences. Coming back to our immersion, here are a few takeaways from the Open House, Knowledge & Masterclass series:
1. Fueling the drive and driver: For any organisation/ initiative to keep going, it is essential to nurture the needs of the founding team, purpose, and the target group. Starting point is to have clarity on “Why we are doing, what we are doing?”. This will feed the team with their purpose and a clear vision so they can explore small steps aligned to go get closer every time. The next big thing is to attract people who believe what we believe. They can be volunteers or extended teams coming together for a cause. And to sustain all this, it is important to know who is benefitting from the work and who can be the potential group paying for the cause. The crowdfunding is a slow, significant, and powerful way to run an initiative by democratising its needs & participation. All this has the potential to redefine the power of people, process, and purpose.
2. Reaching the unreached potentials: Identifying the right group of people and reaching them is the foundation for starting & growing an initiative. But this has always been tricky initially! The digital platforms for example LinkedIn have been a game-changer in this regard to build a professional community base. Knowing what story/message needs to be shared and when to engage communities with innovation, truthfulness, and simple manner, is the key to outreach people for aligning towards the cause. In a short time, it may be exhausting & disheartening not to get the expected results but consistency pays off to build the brand and grow the mission with the community.
3. Impact with Immersion: Working in the social sector should be starting with a deep-long immersion with communities and at regular intervals it should repeat to be grounded with the understanding of communities. Every community is different and requires different sets of strategies. Once the participatory implementation plan is built it will be easy to execute and measure the impact with certain tools.
I could relate to all the experiential lessons brought into the classroom with my previous experiences working in this space. And the sessions turned out to be full of reflections for me, reemphasizing the previous learnings, and structuring them. Grateful to the professors, the IIMV team, and our SIP peer community.
At our Sarva SANDHI Foundation stall, we presented different publications, fact puzzles, last year’s work report, and Fellows’ journey progress for our SAMARTH Fellowship Program. All this attracted the attention & interest of IIMV students, faculties, staff, guests, and peer social entrepreneurs. It was a great honour for me to be able to share about our SAMARTH Initiative in front of such great and distinguished faculty. A few myths around experiential learning through Fellowship-kinda opportunities were busted and our team was able to spread awareness in the larger community of the university campus.
Being among the only three service-based innovations, focused on education & skill development, and with the aim to create greater livelihoods in the social sector made our initiative stand out.
All the takeaways from the 2-day Campus Immersion Program seem easy to understand, tricky to absorb, and complex to translate into actionable efforts. But the excitement and satisfaction always remain in building ideas into efforts, then to choices, and following to bring possibilities to happen. With a greater sense of knowledge and self-accountability, all these bring me back to my passion for democratising experiential learning in India for youths like me.
Aspiration: I really enjoyed the learning, sharing, and co-creational environment at IIM Visakhapatnam for the 2-days of Campus Immersion Program. The positive vibes of the campus, highly interactive sessions, friendly peer community, supportive professors, and the enriching diversity it offered all in one place. All this comes with a common purpose of learning and growing.
I always wished for this kinda learning space as a student, and now aspire to be able to facilitate such experiential learning platforms for youths through our SAMARTH Initiative at SSF. This internally keeps me awake, satisfied, and staying a lifelong learner.
A step forward in your action,
is ten steps ahead in your dreams,
and just a start for reality!