Srujna: For a dignified life

Someone wisely said, “Travel far enough, and you’ll eventually find yourself.”

This is what happened with Vaishali, a textile designer, when she decided to quit her unsatisfying job and travel.

12249592_10154337271154554_76184448215590372_nIn 2007, she backpacked across India (before it was a trend), and met with “the real, genuine people of the country.” She volunteered with a rural NGO in Himachal Pradesh for almost a year, where she got to understand the challenges faced by them first-hand.

It was here a seed was born. She wanted to help underprivileged women break the vicious cycle of poverty, domestic violence, and illiteracy. She finished her MBA in Social Entrepreneurship, where she heard of Jagriti Yatra.

“I was very inspired because impacting lives was what I’d always wanted to know more about. I had no direction, but I had hope. At Jagriti, I interacted with a lot of peers, and met with role-models. It was an eye-opener, knowing that you could make this much impact, especially without being a societal outcast, which was very unheard of, back in 2009, in the kind of community I hail from. It gave me friendships and memories that have transcended time and distance. They’re always around…they were the first guests on my wedding list.”

2010: After coming back from Jagriti, Srujna was born.

It is a not-for-profit that aims at assisting underprivileged women through skill-training, business training, and linking them to markets and opportunities. Since 2010, it has generated jobs worth INR 1.6 Million for more than 5000 underprivileged women.

“I know it seems like we are helping them but the truth is, they are the ones changing our lives.” 

– Vaishali

13700184_10155013941849554_9220242840951257641_nWhile starting Srujna in Maharashtra, she met women who knew how to sew, knit, and embroider, but did not possess the business skills to make it a viable, sustainable source of income. Her professional knowledge helped them in production, and reach a wider audience. Her vision through Srujna is to create a world where every woman has the resources and the ability to live a meaningful life.

“They get confidence from this. They derive their identity from this. Surprisingly, money is a secondary concern for them. I knew right there and then that this is what I want to do the rest of my life. Even now when I think about what we do, the impact we are making, the point of it…it all boils down to their stories in the end.”

– Vaishali

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.

RAW DREAMS

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.”

Rawdreams

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 – therawdreams.com

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/GetRAWed/

Predict your PNR status

No more sweating when in waiting list, just use Trainman

Jagriti Yatra is a 15-day journey in a train that you end up thinking of as home; that leaves its 500+ tenants changed forever.

In fact, the Indian railways is used by 22 million passengers to travel across a 1,15,000-km network, every day.

To put it in perspective, 120+ countries in the world have their total population LESS than 22 million.

The railways’ website alone receives over 10L hits per minute.

And hundreds of thousands of these million passengers every day deal with a waiting list instead of a confirmed seat. How many times have you faced the same situation? Going home for Diwali vacation? Oops, waiting.

Important interview for a college?

Oops, waiting.

What do you do? What if it doesn’t get confirmed? Should I go ahead and try for a flight anyway? Or do I leave my fate up to chance? The problem that every second common man has to face on a daily basis.

Well, not anymore.

Vineet Kumar Chirania, a 2011 yatri has developed an app called Trainman that provides the intelligence to tell you the probability of your ticket getting confirmed. It is intelligence, combined with information. The app provides you everything you need about your train ticket – using your PNR number, it will tell you the average delays and coach positions, as well as any changes. It also uses a large dataset of the train itself with higher accuracy of prediction.

With daily visits of over two lakh, the startup is partnering with some other players to offer services such as food delivery and bookings.

And all of this started with another train journey, a trip called Jagriti Yatra.

Inspired by his colleague who took the Yatra in 2009 and came back a changed man, Vineet took a chance and signed up.

The idea sparked then. He was in a comfortable job, but his interactions with other entrepreneurs aboard the Yatra train shifted his perceptions about putting expertise to use. He describes it as a crash course MBA.

For him, the Yatra brought him face-to-face with problems of different strata of society. In Patna, he learnt the value of sustainability, while in Rajasthan, Bunkar Roy(Barefoot College) taught him about empowering the common man. The most important part, however, was learning not to take people – and their stories – for granted. The lessons that he learnt whilst on Jagriti Yatra, paved the path to Trainman.

Here’s to your story, Vineet! May you create many more of them.

Unsure about your ticket confirmation, don’t sweat, just visit www.trainman.in or download the application your application store(available for all the mobile platforms).

– Written by Shriya Garg