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How I Quit My Job At Wipro And Raised Over Rs 2.5 Lakh For School Kids In Bihar

By Naman Bansal:

When I quit my job at Wipro and decided to spend a year of my life in rural India, I was determined that no matter what, I shall only do what I truly believe in. At 23, like many others, I was also a victim of our imperfect education system, which expects us to follow a pattern laid down by the next door ‘Sharma ji ka beta’.

Well, I knew for sure that I will not follow a set pattern in my life and will take more risks and challenge myself to explore my mettle. In the initial months of my rural fellowship I travelled from one government school to another to look closely at the education system in Bihar. One thing that struck me immediately, was the lack of effort to make classroom teaching fun and interactive. It was then, that I decided to do something I believed could create a long term-impact – Project Palak.

The aim was to enhance creativity and impart essential life and computer skills to the children using storytelling, an ancient art. When I told the idea to the NGO I was assigned to during the fellowship, they suggested I try something else, due to lack of funds. So, I was left with two options – give up and choose another project, or take up the responsibility to initiate my dream project. I chose the latter.

I had no money to start with. But I knew of Shalini, a Fellow from a previous batch who had crowdfunded a sum of close to INR 250,000 for her initiative in rural Odisha, and the impact that she had made with it. Hence, I decided to take on the responsibility of raising funds on my own.

The journey of crowdfunding wasn’t easy. I prepared for two months prior to starting the campaign. From January to March, I pitched the idea of Palak throughout my network. I started first with close friends, sharing my vision with all of them. During repeated conversations, I convinced them that this was an opportunity of a lifetime, and to be part of something significant.

I also did the math – if 50 people contributed 1,000 each, I could raise INR 50,000. Multiply it by five of their friends (people I do not know), we could raise INR 250,000. Most of my close friends agreed primarily because they believed in my passion. The second set of people I spoke to were peers from school and college. These were the people we usually spend great times with but drift apart from because of reasons unknown (life, maybe). This, I believe, was the best part of the whole campaign, as it gave me a chance to renew old friendships. Almost all of them responded positively and gave the assurance that they would support the campaign. This is a thing that fascinated me about this whole activity. You renew what you had lost. It was magical. Personally as well, I was approached by old friends, even some who I had fallen out with, and even teachers who I had not spoken to for years.

Additionally, I started a Facebook page called ‘Flying Ambitions‘, and a blog to showcase my work and build up the story, before launching the campaign. Regular updates through writings, photographs were posted and appreciated by netizens. From January to February 2016, I built up the momentum, following which I set up a campaign page on Ketto, a popular crowdfunding platform. However, the build-up struck the right chord when I was invited to give a public talk at Reserve Bank of India, Pune in front of the senior management from the organisation.

It so happened that Mohit Prateek, who regularly followed my blog, would share links with Mr. Manas Mohanty, a General Manager at RBI at the time, who after reading one of my writings, invited me to deliver the talk. A chain reaction started from there and the impact it had on the campaign. was huge.

After delivering a two-hour talk, I was assured help in my endeavour. A few months later, the same set of people linked me to RBI, Patna and decided to contribute four computers to Project Palak. In addition, three members from that audience contributed 50,000 INR when the campaign started in March! Inspired by my project, Vishal Singh, a filmmaker made a documentary, which helped us give the initial kick to the campaign.

Once the campaign started, I barely had time to sleep. I was constantly updating our progress on social media, talking to all those people who agreed to contribute, networking with anyone who wanted to talk to me and motivating newer people. Four months of hard work and contributions from 190+ people ranging from 100 to 20,000 INR per person, and we managed to raise a sum in excess of 240,000 INR. My friend Sanjal, through her contacts managed to raise a sum of 50,000 INR. These small contributions proved that small is actually really big. We had done what seemed literally impossible!

Posted on Facebook by Flying Ambitions.
Posted on Facebook by Flying Ambitions.

All through the campaign, I adopted a ‘no gifts’ policy. This, I believe, worked in my favour as people who contributed believed in the idea. They contributed without expecting anything in return except for happiness from the work that their contributions would bring in the lives of children. It is because of their belief that, today, we have been able to set up a computer-cum-storytelling space in Haripur Krishna Middle School. In this creative space, over 30 children are learning computers and using stories to make classroom learning fun and interactive, just as education should be.

Posted on Facebook by Flying Ambitions.
Posted on Facebook by Flying Ambitions.


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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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