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This App Never Let’s You Forget A Friend’s Birthday: An Interview With The Founder

This post is part of a series of content focusing on covering inspiring work of Indian youth, brought by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with Potentiaa

Have you ever forgotten a friend’s birthday, in spite of having reminders on your calendar or Facebook account? — here’s an app that will take care of this problem permanently.

AutoBudder, developed by Kartik Mandaville, Abhinit Kumar Ambastha and Saurabh Suman automatically wishes your friends on Facebook with a customized message at sharp 12.Autobudder has been used by over 1.7 million people globally

autobudder

Kartik is also a Fellow at Kairos Society and had been selected for Google Code Of Summer(GSoC) in 2011- Google Summer of Code is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects. GSoC is considered as one of the most prestigious program’s for coders and developers. Kartik is a graduate of Manipal Institute of Technology, and is currently pursuing a MS at Carnegie Mellon.

Check out his profile on Potentiaa. Lets find out in the words of Kartik, about his innovation and the idea behind it.

Your Eureka moment. That first instance which inspired you/ motivated you to do something.

The simple idea of wishing people automatically struck me when I had 5 friends to wish :) Then, I bounced the idea on some of my friends and received a very negative, demoralizing response. Depressed by the feedback, I left the idea for a couple of months and then one fine day I decided “Enough is Enough, let’s do something”. From then, its been an amazing journey.

How did you proceed? What did you do next? Knowing the next step is so important. What was your reasoning about the next step?

Once I knew what I wanted to make, then I started gathering the knowledge to make it. ( Reading Facebook API documentation etc). I entered in a couple of competitions to keep me going and found two friends to work with me. The most important thing is to “Just do it”.

autobudder

How did you seek help from external sources? Family, friends, the mentor or that video online- what was the role of the external world in helping you take the next steps?

Ironically, I did not have help except my two friends in the first few months.

What was your first break? How did you feel? What can you tell the readers about it?

The first break was when we got published in Times of India. Imagine being told “Hey, I saw you in the paper today”. Instant recognition followed and we reached to over 2 million people. My college started publicizing in the website and in the admission brochure. The feeling is just awesome and I can still picture myself back then.

What kept you inspired? Who/ What do you draw inspiration from?

Consistent increase in user base, revenues, recognition and awards kept me working. Instead of idolizing one person, I am inspired by a group of people known as “Entrepreneurs”.

What is your formula? What are your attributes and qualities that allow you to do what you do? More importantly did you inculcate any of these? How difficult is it? How did you inculcate any?

Smart hard work towards your passion is the key. The ability to believe in myself amongst all odds kept me going. The saying “There is no shortcut to success” is indeed true. I would encourage people to keep doing. You can fail many times but you need to succeed just once.

What did you learn while doing what you did. How has our thinking changed? Why do you think this process ‘of doing’ was important? If you had not done what you did, do you think you would have developed this thinking?

Constant introspection and understanding your weakness is very important. I spend around fifteen minutes daily before sleeping thinking about the day, how could it be better and why did I do what I did.

I learnt the mantra of success — “Smart Hard Work” and being “Opportunistic”.

What about your failures? How important were they? What did you learn? Why are they important? How did they make you feel?

I would say my failures probably taught me more than my success. Each new venture/project made me more mature.

How did your college and school education shape you?

The most important takeaway from my school was the desire to “be someone” and my best friend who has been one of the most important inspirations for me.

What message would you give to readers. What if someone wants to be like you? What would you tell them, and how would you ask them to proceed?

Haha, I would say don’t be like me instead become much better. On a serious note, read about successful people and try to figure out “What made them successful ?” “Why can’t I be that person ?”
My first computer in 5th class introduced Bill Gates to me and I was like “Wow ! That guy’s famous , I want to be him”.

What’s your idea of fun? What do you do for fun?

A good group of friends (preferably in opposite fields) is what keeps me going over the “edge”. I watch movies, hangout, experiment with food, swim and love to travel.

What sacrifices have you made? What is your take on them?

I made sacrifices by taking the “road less travelled”. Looking back, I would say that I may have had less “fun”. There were times when I thought — “Why am I doing this, why I can’t just get a good job and relax, why I can’t be like other people and party” but then in the end everything balances out.

How has your personal life changed? What would you prefer- do you like these changes or would you prefer to not have them?

Hmm, maybe less time with family, friends, girls, less parties and with family. I love the Western Culture of being independent and doing what you want. There is absolutely no need to talk to all your relatives, friends. You need to be selfish.

Anything else that you want to add?

Start appreciating the small things in life — like thank your parents, friends or perhaps the guard who keeps you safe. Just a simple thanks can bring a smile to their face and gain their confidence which in-turn will keep you ticking.

There are people who follow and there are people who lead. So, who do you want to be ? The choice is yours — both are equally important and play a big role.

You must be to comment.
  1. Mingyang Song

    Great!!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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