This architect from IIT-KGP helps make fun play areas for kids out of used tyres!

But wait. Listen, watch, enjoy. Let them play. And just be ready to help them take their next step. Don’t interrupt. Don’t insert yourself into their game without invitation. Please don’t say ‘oh what are you playing here?’ and totally disrupt a lovely moment. #bringbackplay

Pooja Rai, an architect from IIT-KGP quit her job as a product manager with Stayzilla to follow her passion of creating innovative, sustainable solutions using her technical background in architecture.

She, along with four other batchmates, started Anthill Creations, with the vision to mobilize communities by creating low-cost, sustainable play spaces from recycled tires & scrap. They transform spaces into creative areas for children. These play spaces are created for children of all age-groups, with a specific focus on early childhood learning.

Anthill created the first low-cost playground made of old tyres at the IIT Kharagpur campus. This was at the Disha Seema care centre in IIT Kharagpur, West Bengal. They built this playground for underprivileged kids & received assistance from Michelin tyres & college alumni. Contributions from batch mates and juniors made this DIY project a huge success.

“While in college, I worked closely with Disha Seema Center, which was a residential care centre for underprivileged children from surrounding villages.

There was always a dearth of resources, and while the Center was committed to delivering education to these children, my friends Nupur and Paul and I often discussed the lack of play space.

Luckily for us, during his internship, Paul had discovered the wonders of using upcycled tyres for construction during his internship. Our thoughts converged into a single solution — why not make a recycled tyre playground? It was totally D-I-Y, low-cost and a fun way to bring smiles into the lives of these children.”


AAO Hostels

Love travelling but on a low budget, then choose a Backpacker’s Hostel. One such Hostel was set up by our yatris, and had named it AAO HOSTELS.

Mahendra Pyati
Founder, AAO Hostels

Mahendra Pyati, Yatri 2009 along with his friend Saurabh Jain, Yatri 2011 piloted this idea in Nashik for a month and formally launched in Bangalore in 2015 as a private limited company. Pyati, who is a traveler by passion, has felt the dearth of such shared accommodation in India. He observes that such hostels are very few in number in India unlike 50-60 such hostels in a European city. “The idea to start up was there since some time, but it got kick started when I was travelling in the Yatra”, says Pyati, who is an IT professional as well. He adds, numerous discussions in the Yatra have also helped him.

It offers decent accommodation (20-bed) with a host of services and helps travelers have cultural exchange too. On an average, about 400 people visit this centrally located hostel in Koramangala, Bangalore every month. Set up with a limited budget, AAO Hostel’s journey has been smooth and registered profit in its first year. It has won funding from the Karnataka Government’s Idea2POC fund in a hackathon titled ‘Pitch to the Government’ in September 2016. This would enable them to scale up. They are currently building up an e-commerce platform for such hostels in India. Pyati says that they are willing to help others to set up their own hostel ventures and are also working with the Karnataka Government in bringing up a policy for Hostels.

The next time you visit Bangalore, don’t miss to check in AAO HOSTELS as it’s an ideal place for Budget, solo travelers, and Backpackers! Travel More, Stay in Hostels More.


Alysha Tharani
Founder, Raw Dreams

“If you dare to dream and go against all odds, then get RAWed”, says Alysha Tharani, the youngster who set up Raw Dreams Consultancy.

With an aim to encourage different aspirations of individuals, be it education, or career. With the help of Leadership Consultancy guides or mentors, Raw Dreams facilitates young minds of 13-28 year old into making informed potential investments in their careers. She wants to solve the mismatch between market demand and supply of skilled, innovative and futuristic human resources.

Alysha Tharani shares, “One of the aspirants was interested in becoming an astronaut, Raw Dreams guided him to participate in a competition that paved his path to Mecca of astronauts. Because of his exemplary performance, he was invited to NASA to meet all the existing and aspiring scientists. He definitely has better clarity and direction to pursue his goal now. For those who are not very clear about their career options, we guide them based on their interests.”


As a young girl, Alysha was fascinated by animals and studied BiPC(Biology, Physics and Chemistry) in plus2 and graduated with a liberal arts degree. Later on, she worked with business consulting firms and founded an Event Management company. She pursued Future India Fellowship and travelled in Jagriti Yatra 2009. What she studied was completely different from what she was aspiring to do. She realised that as a child, she had no clear guidance or awareness to follow her heart and found the same dearth for guidance for students even today. Alysha says Jagriti Yatra made her less hesitant and gave access to a wonderful network. All of these experiences led to the birth of her venture in 2014.

With its base in Hyderabad, Raw Dreams has extended its operations to Chattisgarh and Maharashtra and reached over 4000 people till date. If it was her innovative idea that gave a challenge in the initial phase, the current challenge is to build the network of mentors and to let this human intensive organisation expand.

Rawdreams can be reached out at:-

Website –

Facebook Page –

Melange of inspiration, enlightenment and empowerment

The eighth edition of Jagriti Yatra is reaching towards its conclusion. However, the eleventh destination for role model visit includes a combination of takeaways for the yatris. Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan, needs no introduction, and Bunker Roy, the individual behind this innovative and successful business model, has been acclaimed as one of the most influential personalities in the world.

Changing the rural world is no easy task. A study on Bunker Roy and Barefoot College reveals how a person of unique vision can transform the lives of thousands in a village. It is indeed an incredible example of how a person’s dream can make people belonging to rural communities self-sufficient and sustainable. Apart from it, the mission of Barefoot College lies in the belief that empowering women opens door to sustainable development, and that makes it exceptional for last 40 years of functioning in this shady area of Rajasthan.

To realise the impact of Barefoot College, one should pay a visit to Tilonia, and that is why yatris find this day as gifted one. They got the opportunity to visit schools, manufacturing units etc in the village apart from interacting with teachers, students, volunteers during the morning session in Tilonia. Afternoon, yatris had an interactive session with Bunker Roy, in which he shared a few gems of inspiration.

बिज़ ज्ञान ट्री – सम्मान समारोह

5 जनवरी 2016, दिल्ली – कमानी ऑडिटोरियम

दिल्ली का कमानी ऑडिटोरियम 5 दिसम्बर को  उस पल का साक्षी बना जिसका इंतज़ार सभी यात्रियों को इस 15 दिन की यात्रा के दौरान बेसब्री से रहा । मौक़ा था 3 दिसम्बर को देवरिया, उत्तर-प्रदेश में हुई बिज़ ज्ञान ट्री की प्रतियोगिता के विजेताओं को सम्मानित करने का । इस मौक़े पर सर्टिफिकेट देकर विजेताओं को सम्मानित किया गया ।

कार्यक्रम की शुरूआत जयन्त सिन्हा, (राज्य मंत्री वित्त)  एवं प्रकाश जवाड़ेकर (मंत्री पर्यावरण, वन एवं जलवायु परिवर्तन) द्वारा यात्रियों को सम्बोधित करने से हुई ।  बिज़ ज्ञान ट्री प्रतियोगिता के प्रशस्ति-पत्र (सर्टिफिकेट) वितरण में मुख्य अतिथि के तौर पर पुंज लॉयड संस्था के संस्थापक जे. पी. चलसानी जी उपस्थित रहे ।

कर्नल भाया, डोमिनो (वाऊ संस्था) द्वारा विजयी प्रतिभागियों को प्रशस्ति पत्र वितरित किये गये । विजयी प्रतिभागी इस प्रकार रहे-

टीम ‘आईरा’ (AIRA) को  कृषि एवं कृषि व्यवसाय आयाम के लिए, टीम ‘बूंद’ को  जल एवं स्वच्छता आयाम, टीम  ‘बंज़ाराज़ फुटवियर’ को  विनिर्माण आयाम( मैन्युफैक्चरिंग), शिक्षा एवं ज्ञान आयाम के क्षेत्र में ‘कुशल’, ‘स्किल मिल’ एवं ‘विलसिटी’, कला-संस्कृति एवं खेल के क्षेत्र में ‘दिति’, स्वास्थ्य आयाम के लिए ‘हेल्थहब’  को प्रशस्ति-पत्र देकर सम्मानित किया गया।

सबसे अधिक रचनात्मक विचार के लिए  ‘बूंद’ , सबसे अधिक इनक्लूसिव विचार जिसमें सभी ज़रूरी तत्वों का समावेश था, इसके लिए ‘मित्रा’, सबसे अधिक सहजता से प्रत्यारोपित किये जा सकने वाले विचार के लिए मोस्ट रेप्लिकेबल पुरस्कार से बंज़ाराज़ फुटवियर और सबसे अधिक संभावित विचार (मोस्ट फ़ीज़ेबल आईडिया) के लिए पुनः टीम आईरा को सम्मानित किया गया ।

इसके अतिरिक्त बीस वर्षों से व्यवसायिक क्षेत्र से जुड़े प्रेरक व्यक्तित्व शिव खेमका ने यात्रियों को नेतृत्व क्षमता के विषय में सम्बोधित किया और पाँच प्रतिभागियों को नेतृत्व क्षमता के लिए  खेमका अवार्ड तथा नक़द पुरस्कार से नवाज़ा गया ।

पूर्व यात्री तृप्ति दोषी द्वारा देवरिया में विकसित किये जा रहे जागृति एन्टरप्राइस सेन्टर के आर्टिक्चर पर प्रेसेन्टेशन दिया गया । तृप्ति को आर्किटेक्चर डिज़ाइन करने की ये कला विरासत में मिली है । उनके दादा जी के भाई ने अपने समय में राजघाट का आर्किटेक्चर डिज़ाइन किया था ।

पैनल चर्चा में उद्यमिता के उत्सव विषय पर बोलते हुये 3 पूर्व यात्रियों  रॉबिन चौरसिया (क्रान्ति), सुप्रिया (माई पार्लियामेन्ट) और गुणवन्त (शिक्षालय) यात्रियों से रू-ब-रू हुये । रॉबिन क्रान्ति संस्था के माध्यम से सेक्स वर्कर्स के बच्चों और मानव तस्करी के शिकार बच्चों पर काम कर रही हैं और उन्हें सशक्त बनाकर समाज की मुख्य धारा से जोड़ने का प्रयास कर रही हैं । उनके अनुभवों को सुनकर सभी यात्री स्तब्ध रह गये ।

साथ ही इस पैनल चर्चा का समन्वय जागृति की बोर्ड सदस्य रेवती प्रभु द्वारा किया गया । रेवती ने दिल्ली से इस यात्रा में शामिल होते हुये सभी यात्रियों का स्वागत किया और उनसे मिल के ख़ुशी जताई ।

Tracing the ancient history in Nalanda

Destination: Rajghir, Bihar

As the seventh location of Jagriti Yatra 2015, the yatris went to Nalanda, which is a perfect location to get the feel of rich ancient history of India.

At this beautiful valley surrounded by rocky mountains and greenery, yatris attended an informative session explaining the aspects of entrepreneurship and the must know points before you start a venture on your own. Gopa Sabharwal, Vice Chancellor of Nalanda University, resided over the function.

However, in the morning session, yatris visited the ruins of Nalanda, one of the oldest Universities in the world, which is now turned to a tourist destination.

To experience rural India, to understand Gram Vikas

Destination 6 : Gram Vikas, Ganjam, Odisha

It is the last day of 2015, and it is the seventh day of Jagriti Yatra. For the yatris, it is the day to visit the village near Berhampur, a city near Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

The goal is to visit Gram Vikas, the brainchild of Joe Madiath, an organisation started almost thirty years old. The founder himself believed in bringing about sustainable improvement in the quality of life and marginalised rural communities in and around Orissa.

Gram Vikas currently serves more than 250000 people in 701 habitations of 21 districts in Orissa. It is a perfect example of how a person’s passion and perseverance can change the life of thousands. On the visit, Joe Madiath was keen on sharing the challenges and opportunities he faced during the ongoing journey with the yatris. It was enlightening and inspiring for the yatris to roam around the village, involve with the school children and enjoy the serenity of Gram Vikas.

Drawing inspiration from Akshayapatra

Destination 5: Akshayapatra, Vizag

Yatris was welcomed by the scorching heat in Vizag on the 6th day, which is the fifth destination of Jagriti Yatra 2015. The tight-packed day started with the visit to Akshayapatra Patra Foundation, the NGO that runs mid day meal programme across India. The story of Akshayapatra inspires anyone, and for the yatris, the visit turned to be enlightening.

Embracing the slogan, ‘No child in India should be deprived of education because of hunger’, Akshayapatra feeds around 1 million school kids every day all over India across the states Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, and Uttar Pradesh.

Eliminating class room hunger, feeding millions of kids by using the modern technology machines, covering 10000 schools per day, the list goes on. The yatris had an amazing opportunity to learn about the role model as well as to visit the kitchens of Akshayapatra and understand the machineries used.

The day had more to its credit as the yatris had an exciting opportunity to visit the Navy Dockyard at Vishakhapatnam post noon. The day ended with another panel discussion on agriculture in which eminent personalities discussed their views.

Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya, where art and tranquility meets

Destination 1- Hubli

It is day 3 of Jagriti Yatra 2015 and the train has reached Dharwad, a silent town, well-known for its musical culture, in Karnataka. We have our first role model visit to Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya (KSV) and a case study related to solar electrification project in the locality.

Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya

A visit to Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya would certainly inspire anyone to face problems as process and work towards one’s goal, even when it is chasing the incredible. Founded by Adam Woodward, along with Mathieu Fortier and his wife Agathe Meurisse 13 years ago, Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya (KSV) is now a life changer for more than two hundred children belonging to lower income group.

Children in KSV get academic education with high prominence to music and performing arts in the residential campus which is spread across three acres of land at absolutely free of cost. The tranquillity and beauty of the place gets elevated with simple houses made out of traditional materials, and it creates a serene environment for the children to live and learn peacefully.

Volunteers from all over the world come to this art school and put in dedicated effort to make the children excel in their life. As Mathieu puts it, music has the infinite power to transform a child’s life. It helps to impart certain values like self confidence, concentration, and self-esteem in the child’s mind at an early age. They would certainly try to excel in life.”

Mathieu is absolutely right once we know about Krishnan, a 23 year old teacher of KVS. A gold medallist in music from Karnataka University, he is one among the super successful former students of KVS. Here is what he has to say, “I came to KVS when I was 14 year old. Since then I was able to change my perspective about the world and learned better communication skills while I studied music and that is something I am passionate about. Now I want to give back what I learned and so I joined as a teacher here.”

The first destination itself was thought-provoking and inspirational for the yatris as they were able to spend a day with kids and volunteers of KVS. Furthermore, they had a memorable session with the founders of KVS, which would certainly be an inspiration to work towards a greater goal throughout their life.