Crafting jewellery, creating confident craftswoman: Abira Creations


We are at Abira, a business set up by one of our alumni- Priyanka Khandelwal. Abira creates fashion jewellery, but more importantly, creates independent, confident craftswomen. We are received with great enthusiasm by the Abira team- Abiras as Priyanka calls them.

Priyanka, tells us about how she began her enterprise. She was working with Anju Bansal in a jewellery-making business that sourced products from China. Priyanka, wanted to create this high quality jewellery in India by training women from lower economic backgrounds and with no previous experience. This was a big challenge, which she overcame by working together with the women she hired and trained. When Priyanka hires her Abiras, she looks for nothing more than the desire to work hard. The year-long training program builds on inherent skills and channels the women into jewellery-making, quality-control, marketing, accounts etc. But what is unique is how Priyanka develops the women’s personalities by teaching communication skills , teamwork and leadership. This for-profit organisation has the soul of a social enterprise.

The work areas are clean and cheerful. The walls are full of professional shots of the Abiras, modelling the jewellery they have created . They look stunning. The photographs too, are taken by one of them- an Abira training to be a photographer. There are 25 women working with Priyanka today and she plans to grow her business by also training women to be carers for the elderly as well as for children.

Priyanka invites the Abiras to speak. Each is surprisingly articulate and confident. They speak emotionally about how financial independence through jewellery-making is just a part of what they have gained at Abira. They have found a voice, they have found companionship and they have found the ability to live their dreams. We are moved by their heartfelt words. The impact Priyanka’s enterprise is creating is obvious.

I am reminded of the solar engineer grandmothers of the Barefoot college at Tilonia whom we meet during the Yatra. It’s the same joyful spirit and confidence that we see here. No coincidence, as the Barefoot college was a great inspiration to Priyanka when she joined the Jagriti Yatra in 2013 as a Yatri, and again in 2015 as a voluntary organiser – a part of the engine room club ERC.

The Jagriti Yatra, is an intense experiential program that inspires future young entrepreneurs to build India through enterprise. It takes the form of a 15 day pan-India journey of learning and inspiration. Each year at least 40% participants are women and 65 % from tier 3, 4 districts. After the 15 days, we organise mentorship workshops to sustain and build on the Yatra learnings. In March, we organise the Jagriti Sakhi Udyogini – events to promote women-centric enterprise, as well as networking and mentoring among Yatra alumni.

The audience today is mainly composed of Yatra Alumni and interestingly, there are more men than women. An informal discussion begins and I see networking in action. One Yatri recommends the latest NSDC programs to Priyanka. Another suggests mentors for her next horizon- training women for senior- care. Yet another puts her in touch with a potential investor. Many ask questions to understand her financial model and growth strategy and share lessons from their own ventures. All are energised by what Priyanka has created.

The event ends with delicious wada- paav, the Yatri Geet and a feeling of joy. The Yatra spirit is rekindled. I congratulate Priyanka on what she has created and wish her luck. Her response is simple – “ It’s all the effect of the Yatra”. The effort of hundreds of selfless volunteers that make the Yatra, is validated once again. The journey goes on.

Jagriti taught us the lesson of collaboration

Anmol Agarwal Yatri-2015
Anmol Agarwal, Yatri-2015

One of the greatest and vital experiential learning that was witnessed in JY15 is the importance and relevance of collaboration in life. Be it collaboration of rural people for developmental activities via Goonj or be it public private partnership at Akshaypatra. Jagriti emphasizes on the importance of team work by making 450+ yatris come together on a platform to work together and create an innovative ideology. It was very pleasing to see ‘yatris’ from diverse background across the globe  coming up together with crazy and innovative ideas. This has certainly fared well to the aim and objectives of JY as a lot of bonding actually took place and running well post Yatra too. Collaboration is the amalgamation of two different ideas, prospects, products and also it gives rise to a separate and a distinct unique ideology . It aims to strengthen the positive aspect of a person and also eliminates the negative aspect of it via synergy. An effective collaboration always leads to a win win situation but a competition may not constitute to an evolution or transformation of an idea or a person. Collaboration also provides a sense of stability and confidence to the people. Competition provides a sense of insecurity and instability to the people and organization as a whole. Competition has been instrumental in providing better and effective quality to people and also enhanced results. However it cannot match the advantages of collaboration of providing unity, diversity and integrity in the society.

 – Anmol Agarwal

Yatri -2015

जागृति यात्रा- एक यादगार सफ़र…

आदित्य पाटनी, यात्री- 2015
आदित्य पाटनी, यात्री- 2015

एक सुखद सफ़र अंतहीन यादों का, अनगिनत हसीन पलों का, जो जीवन भर हमारे साथ रहेंगे। उद्यमिता के द्वारा भारत निर्माण 475 यात्रियों के साथ रेल के सफ़र में जिसकी शुरुआत 24 दिसम्बर को रात 12 बजे सपनों के शहर मुम्बई से हुई। नया जोश, नई उमंग, अनजाने साथी पर सभी एक ही लक्ष्य को पाने के लिए दृढ़ संकल्प। गांधी जी के सिद्धांतों पर आधारित जागृति यात्रा हमारे राष्ट्र को जानने की, पहचानने की और सबसे अहम हमारे भारत वासियों द्वारा किये गए राष्ट्र निर्माण के अतुल्य कार्यों को जानने की और उनसे आगे बढ़ने की सीख की।

जीवन का अनूठा अनुभव भारतीय रेल के 18 डब्बों की रेल हमारा घर बन गया। खाना-पीना, गाना-बजाना, मौज-मस्ती, यारी-दोस्ती और भी बहुत कुछ। दोस्ती भी ऐसी मानो बचपन से ही साथ है।जहाँ हर यात्री एक प्रेरणा स्रोत है। विज्ञान, प्रौद्योगिकी, कला, शिक्षा, साहित्य, चिकित्सा आदि अनेक क्षेत्रों से विविधता वाले सह यात्री। कोई कश्मीर से तो कोई कन्याकुमारी से  कोई कच्छ से तो कोई सिल्लीगुड़ी से। पर विविधता में एकता मध्य भारत में उद्यमिता का विकास। ग्राम विकास, कलकेरी संगीत विद्यालय, अरविन्द आई केयर, अक्षय पात्रा जैसे राष्ट्र निर्माण के कार्य हमारे लिए सीख है कि अगर कुछ करने की चाह है तो हर मंज़िल आसान है। कोई भी कार्य छोटा नहीं है, नीवं जितनी मजबूत होगी ऊपर बनने वाला मकान उतना ही मज़बूत होगा।

2015 की वो आख़िरी शाम, ओडिशा के गंजम ज़िले का गुमनाम आदिवासी गाँव, स्कूली बच्चों के साथ नाच-गाना, अनगिनत खुशियाँ, मुस्कुराहटें उन नन्हें-मुन्ने बच्चों के चेहरों पर हमारे लिए एक प्रेरणा, जीवन के आभावों में भी खुश रहने की आनंदमय जीवन जीने की, आगे बढ़ने की हमारे लक्ष्य की प्राप्ति के लिए। जागृति यात्रा 2015 जो एक यादगार सफ़र बन कर हमारी ज़िन्दगियों मेें शामिल रहेगी और हमें आगे बढ़ने की प्रेरणा देगी ।

– आदित्य पटनी की कलम  से !!


A day in the life of an Udyam Corp

Being a part of the nation building process is exciting as well as challenging, and at the same time it gives a feel of contentment. That explains why the job of an Udyam Corp attracts passionate individuals who want to use their skill set and professional expertise in building a better nation.

Wondering who is an Udyam Corp? In simple words, Udyam Corps are the ground soldiers in Jagriti Entrepreneurial Network. Their workspace shifts from under a banyan tree in a rural village to lavishly created corporate institutions. They deal with top notch business magnets as well as spend time with struggling rural farmers. They enjoy high professional growth while contributing to nation building on a greater level.

Udyam Corps are those selected employees who work at the grass root level in chosen locations, to promote the enterprise eco system by facilitating the support system for small and medium businesses. They act as connectors between grass root level small and medium business owners to top level managements. Furthermore, they make sure to utilise the wide and diverse network of yatris of Jagriti Yatra in every aspects of business formation and the entrepreneurial journey that follows as well.

A day in the life of an Udyam Corp is never confined to a designated office space. They work and interact with people on locations where Jagriti Entrepreneurial Centre focuses on. Enhancing local collaborations is one of the primary responsibilities of Udyam Corps. The rural folks often lack opportunities to intermingle with people from the outside world and that keeps them in dark. Udyam Corps create opportunities for the villagers to meet with successful individuals, and also to know about the advancements happening around the world in their field of work.

While creating awareness about entrepreneurship, Udyam Corps ensure that they cultivate a strong bonding with the people to help them out in excelling in their field of business. Apart from analysing the business model, they help them in value chain analysis, cost benefit analysis, pricing, etc. In short, they act as a business consultant for the unprivileged people in Middle India, and that is where the analytical excellence and professional exposure of the Udyam Corps matter. The job of Udyam Corp is extended to ensuring that proper support reaches the entrepreneur on terms of funding, technology, resources, etc.

To be an Udyam Corp you need to have a strong passion towards developing Middle India, other than professional experience and academic excellence. Leadership qualities, organisational management, capability to adapt to challenging situations, etc also matters. By boosting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, JEN hopes to meet the goal of enterprise led government.

‘Revolution should be evergreen’

Destination 4: M S Swaminathan Foundation, Chennai

‘The talk over green revolution is ending. Now it is time for evergreen revolution.’ As goes the message from the father of green revolution, M S Swaminathan. The fourth destination of Jagriti Yatra, on its sixth day, was at M S Swaminthan Research Foundation, Chennai, during when the founder himself gave a lecture on agriculture revolution.

His message for the yatris goes as, ‘Jagriti Yatra is a wonderful idea, as you get the glimpse of India, the diversity and pluralism, and the pluralism is the strength of India. Diversity of people, languages, cuisines; we must nurture it, protect it, promote it. Make the best of everyday you have left on the yatra.’

Yatris had a great opportunity to visit the institution dedicated to research on sustainable agriculture and rural development. It was started in 1988 with an aim to accelerate use of modern science for agricultural and rural development for development and dissemination of technology to improve the lives and livelihoods of tribal and rural communities.

Yatris who have selected agriculture as their vertical of interest had an unforgettable day spending on the premises of the research institution. The speech was enlightening as well.

The yatra has crossed over five destinations by now, and the excitement of yatris is not setting down and that makes Jagriti Yatra the journey of life time.

Focus on healthcare on third role model visit

Destination 3: Arvind Eye Care, Madurai

The importance of health care can never be minimised on any conditions and in a developing country like India the government cannot alone meet the health care needs of its people, given its growing population, income status and inadequate infrastructure. That is why entrepreneurial ventures in healthcare sector is really a need of the hour.

Dr. Venkataswamy, founder of Arvind Eye Care, wishes to establish an alternate health care model that could supplement the efforts of the government and also be self supporting. The third destination of Jagriti Yatra 2015 focused on the health care sector, and yatris spent a day analysing and understanding Arvind Eye Care and AuroLab.

Situated in the temple city of Madurai, Arvind Eyecare has become the final word for best eye care treatment for almost four decades now. Aurolab, started in 1991, is a pioneer in the production of high quality ophthalmic consumables at affordable prices to developing countries.

A visit to Arvind eye care and the interaction with the founder made the third role model visit of Jagriti Yatra wonderful and inspiring.

अरविन्द आई केयर :- एक संस्मरण

जब तक मैं यह लिखूंगा, तब तक जागृति यात्रा का आंठवा संस्करण ‘मंदिरों और कवियों के शहर’ मदुरई में अपने पड़ाव‘अरविंद आई हॉस्पिटल’ से निकल कर चेन्नई की ओर अग्रसर होगा ।

Arvind eye careArvind eye care1

मुझे २०१० में जगृति यात्रा के माध्यम से ‘अरविंद आई केयर’ से रूबरू होने का अवसर प्राप्त हुआ और फिर २०११ में  पुनः इंजन रूम क्लब (engine room club) के साथ मैं यहाँ आया । दोनों मौकों पर मुझे अरविंद आई केयर के संस्थापक डॉ. वेंकटस्वामी के बारे में जानने का अवसर मिला और यही मेरे लिए यात्रा में सबसे ज़्यादा प्रभावशाली अनुभव रहा । टालने योग्य अंधापन हमेशा से ही भारत की स्वास्थ्य सम्बन्धी समस्याओं में मुख्य रूप से चिंता का विषय रहा है | भारत जैसी विकसित होते देश की सरकार के लिए भी अकेले इससे निपटना काफी नहीं है। इन सबको ध्यान में रखते हुए डॉ. वेंकटस्वामी ने एक ऐसे वैकल्पिक स्वास्थ्य प्रतिरूप की कल्पना की जो न कि केवल सरकार द्वारा चल रही मुहिमों का संपूरक हो अपितु आत्म-निर्भर भी हो । इसी को ध्यान में रखतेहुए  डॉ. वेंकटस्वामीने 1976 में 58 वर्ष कि उम्र में GOVEL ट्रस्ट एवं Aravind Eye Hospital की स्थापना की ।  (अस्पताल का नाम श्री अरबिंदो के नाम पर रखा गया ।) उनकी कहानी सारे बहानों को नष्ट कर देती है । उनका कथन “बुद्धिमत्ता एवं क्षमता होना ही काफी नहीं हैं, वे कुछ सुन्दर करने का एहसास भी होने चाहिए” मेरे लिए प्रेरणा स्त्रोत है।

Arvind eye care2

अरविंद आई केयर में कदम रखने मात्र  से ही एक ऐसा अनुभव प्राप्त  हुआ जिसको शब्दों में बयान करना मेरी कल्पना से परे हैं । यहाँ मुझे करुणा, सौहार्द, आभार, विनम्रता,  निष्ठा,  दूसरों  की  निःस्वार्थ सेवा,आध्यात्मिक चेतना और आधुनिक तकनीक का परस्पर सामंजस्य देखने को मिला। मेरे आस पास का सम्पूर्ण वातावरण सकारात्मक ऊर्जा से भर गया । नवचेतना का संचार हुआ। शायद दुनिया को देखने का मेरा नजरिया बदल चुका  था । वहाँ से जाते जाते मेरी नज़र एक चिट्ठी पर गई, जो एक उपचार के लिए आए रोगी ने लिखी थी :-

arvind 4

Arvind 5

                                                                                               – मयंक जैन (पूर्व यात्री)

Public transport solution app from our yatripreneur

#meettheyatripreneur –Prashanth Garapati

Prasanth Garapati, an IIIT student, was one among our youngest yatris in Jagriti yatra 2013. It is hardly two years, and he has embarked on an entrepreneurial journey with a wonderful solution provider mobile app for the problems you face in public transport system.

Commut, the ride sharing app, helps customers to book a seat in the 12 seated vehicle or mini-bus, and enjoy the ride at one by fourth of the price they pay while hiring a cab. The mini bus runs on predefined roads and stops at a predefined place which has been selected as per the suggestions from the customers. The running slots as of now are 8 am to 11 am and 6 pm to 9 pm in the evening.

Commut was able to get around 50-60 communters within 2 months of inception, and among which 70% are women. In order to ensure the safety of the commuters, Commut has integrated route tracking system in the app. Moreover, the drivers are appointed after verifying around ten documents along with a background check. The drivers get paid every as per the rides.

Prasanth is joining Jagriti Yatra 2015 as a resource person to motivate youngsters to forget the fear of failure and work towards their goals in life. He says, “The best takeaway for me after completing the Jagriti Yatra is to be the change if you want to change your life. I was deeply moved by the impact created by the role models before twenty or thirty years ago. Moreover, the help from the network of yatris made my journey easier.” He will travel and interact with yatris on the train for four days to give inspiration to yatris.

Isn’t entrepreneurship a spiritual process?

Destination 2: Art of Living, Bangalore

Jagriti Yatra is the journey of awakening, and the awareness leads to set greater goals in life and work passionately towards creating a better world. The second destination of Jagriti Yatra 2015 is Bangalore, which is well acclaimed as the Silicon Valley of India. This year the location was the Art of Living (AOL) centre in Bangalore, which turned out to be an amazing experience for the yatris.

The interactive session with the spiritual guru Shri Shri Ravi Shankar was indeed thought-provoking, and a real motivation for the yatris to lead a life of excellence. With its humble beginning as a small school in a sleepy village in 1981, Art of Living Foundation has now established its presence in 155 countries and empowering millions of people to live a peaceful life. A day on AOL and an interactive session of one hour with Shri Shri Ravi Shankar has made the day memorable for the yatris.

Here is the takeaway from the interactive session with the guru which is a piece of motivation for every passionate youth, “To be in a comfort zone is a sign of old age. What other feels difficult, it is entertainment for the youth.”

The noon session was also reviewed as equally motivating, as it started with a session by N. S. Parthasarathi, CEO of Mindtree. It followed with a panel discussion about Digital India, in which Shradha Sharma, Founder of Yourstory, took the role of moderator. Rahul Yadav, the brain behind, was among the panelists, and the yatris listened to the story of his entrepreneurial journey.

JEN, a new edge to building middle India

Jagriti Enterprise Network (JEN) is yet another initiative by the core team of Jagriti to go a step ahead in its goal of building India through enterprises. It aims to institutionalise the wide and diverse network created out of the yatra each year and contribute a share to the development of middle India by enhancing the enterprise ecosystem. It enables the enterprise ecosystem accessible in small towns and villages through its network of facilitators at the district level.

JEN is closely linked to the JEC, which stands for elaborated as Jagriti Enterprise Network. In short JEC is the brick and mortar institution while JEN is the blood and sweat of Udyam Corps, and works for a common goal of building India through enterprises. Udyam Corps is the selected employees of JEN and they act as facilitators to bring in the support of the entrepreneurial network to the people in the underprivileged areas. They act as a support system for small and medium enterprises to get access to the top level management of organisations.

JEN aims to boost the entrepreneurial activity especially, in middle India by implementing a district level development framework and works at the grass root level in each district. JEN works with rural entrepreneurs by providing incubation facilities, giving access to funding sources, finding out the potential markets and helping to accelerate the business growth by proper planning and strategy implementation. Furthermore, local collaboration as well as exposure to the outer world is provided.

Hardly a year after its inception, JEN is now supporting three business projects in Deoria, an undeveloped village in the outskirts of Uttar Pradesh. By taking support of the JY network spread across the country, JEN has been able to help entrepreneurs to find potential markets to sell their products. JEN has a five member team dedicated to boosting the enterprise ecosystem in the selected locations initially and have already secured support from organisations like Tata Trust.

Amit Raj, who spearheads the JEN, was a facilitator during Jagriti Yatra in 2014. He is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Mines, Dhanbad, and has proven expertise in leadership, business development, and technology led business transformation. He has been working with Infosys for almost a decade in Australia, before he joined with JY. However, his entry into the JY family was pretty coincidental, although he was looking forward to volunteering opportunities in social sector back in India.

According to Amit, the attitude towards starting an enterprise among the communities in middle India has a long way to go. The major challenge JEN faces is to change the mindset of the people and they provide awareness programs for starting enterprises to meet the goal. As part of expanding the awareness about entrepreneurship, there are 12 yatris from Deoria in Jagriti Yatra 2015.

The mission of JEN is to nurture around 1 lakh entrepreneurs by 2022, when India celebrates its 75th Independence Day.Both JEN and JEC is part of a national mission of creating four centres of enterprise in four chosen cities, namely Deoria in Uttar Pradesh, Kajrat in Maharashtra, Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and Ganjam in Orissa. JEN looks forward to support around a hundred of enterprises and thereby provide employment for 1000 people by 2017.