Today, we are all on a journey carving our routes through the thick and thin of social norms. We are approaching the end of 2017 and have been talking about CHANGE. Change that facilitates growth, development, and progress. The undeniable idea of which has led to inventiveness along with contributions, the core of which has risen spirits and the desire for which has changed a number of lives, all for positive.
One such initiative of “Building India through Enterprise” found its roots in the year 1997 in the name of Azad Bharat Rail Yatra, further having the name changed to Jagriti Yatra, a program set up under Jagriti Sewa Sansthan, a non-profit charitable organisation headquartered in Mumbai. The 15 days journey on rail stretched through diverse territories commencing with the sole goal of meeting a country of small towns and villages, India. Getting on this journey needed you to enlighten your spark. It promised to inspire, teach, build and discover India by making a change in the lesser known places. It strived to improve the quality of lifestyle in a stagnant environment, making an impact. The successful program continued to contribute for years and is once again ready to embark its 10th edition inaugurating on the 24th of December, 2017.
In a time like today that’s all about partnership, Jagriti Yatra proudly associates itself with leading companies and brands that are undertaking exceptional deeds for sustainable development. One such enterprise that makes its mark prominently is Schneider Electric who with their ambition of providing sustainable energy in the remotest corners of India are striving to attain the goal by combining innovative technologies and business models, investment and training. Schneider believes that the requirement and availability of energy is the very right of all and thus commit to producing energy efficient products along with access to clean energy.
In the 10th edition, Jagriti Yatra and Schneider Electric shake hands with a purpose of eradicating energy scarcity and implementing solutions that are sustainable in nature. The sharing of responsibilities like creating solutions, providing effective, sustainable technologies, and ensuring suitable economic conditions for the availability of the energy is now the common goal. Jagriti Yatra will contribute to Schneider’s noble initiative called “Access to Energy,” which is a programme that facilitates access to lightning and communications for 50 million inhabitants by 2025.
Acess to Energy Program
Yatris, the future leaders of our nation will be encouraged and motivated to apply for any of the below-defined areas depending on their interest and preferences:
Innovation – Ideas for energy generation by using renewable sources or other non-polluting methods
Energy program implementation and sustainability – Defining better ways to overcome the challenges and improving sustainability quotient of the program
Energy Education – Imparting training, or skill development programs
Jagriti Yatra and Schneider Electric together wish to promote skill development, increase employment and provide universal access to energy in the coming 15 years.
At Jagriti, we want to inspire a new generation of young women to become equal partners in Building India through Enterprise. Women, as we all know, are the building blocks of society and Jagriti is determined to make them stronger. We believe women are very hardworking and brave when it comes to facing difficulties in life and Jagriti is just giving them that extra push/support to bring that change. Over the past 10 years, we have steadily grown to around 48% participation by women in our flagship rail yatra. This year we are determined to reach 50% mark for women participation.
A vision of Jagriti Yatra is to change lives of women in every village, support them, train them, provide much-needed resources and network:; create entrepreneurs in every household. ‘Jagriti Sakhi Udyogini’ a great initiative of Jagriti is to promote women as equal partners in our mission to ‘build India through enterprise’. Designed as a day-long mentorship workshop, it allows aspiring women leaders from Jagriti alumni network to interact with mentors and experts and learn tools for building enterprises. Proud to be a part of the Google for Entrepreneurs’ challenge, we are one of the forty start-up communities taking new approaches to increase the representation of women in our community.
“Inspire. And get inspired. Change. And lead change in others. Learn. And share your life’s lessons. Build and help build India through Enterprise”
Another initiative started by our Yatri called ‘Why not Women’ during 2014 yatra. “The Why Not Women project was inspiring! Our yatris Mathilde and Berengere resolve to enhance lives of women entrepreneurs around the world. They bring with them a world of passion and bouts of energy to change the way the world works. Their perspectives on the world economy, mass migration and governance from a western point of view stirred refreshing and interesting discussions on the yatra.
After effects of Yatra:, women experience significant empowerment, feeling more confident about their social and managerial abilities after the journey. Also, their abilities for risk propensity, social boldness and creativity are enhanced.The ignited spark of rebellion to refrain from accepting the existing poor state of Tier 2 and tier 3 districts and taking an initiative of change through feasible and sustainable solutions has been one of the many outcomes in the form of a visible difference after the yatra.
Let’s hear it from some of our Women yatri’s and see how Jagriti Yatra changed their lives:
Aditya Valli 2k16 yatri “Before yatra I was inclined to do something in Health and Sanitation of Women, Jagriti yatra pushed me to make it happen. From the fellow yatris, I learned how to start an organization from scratch and even after 1 year I look up to those friends whenever I need any help. My venture on Menstrual Health is about to launch and I can’t thank JY enough for all the guidance.”
Prasanna Kapoor, 2k13 yatri, is working on building tourism through art and culture through her family run venture “The Buransh – a Himalaya study centre & retreat” in Kausani, Uttarakhand. Her association with Jagriti yatra supported her in developing skills in furthering her entrepreneurial mindset and competencies.
Krati Gahlot ,2k16 yatri . hail from Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
“I would not say it has transformed my life but ever since then every day has been a learning experience as the inspirational stories of Yatris keep showing up even after the yatra ends. My biggest learning from the Yatra is that determination, hard work, integrity and a passionate team is what you need to succeed as is evident to the success of JY. I would like to continue my association with the yatra to keep on learning from this unique movement.
Like Aditya, Prasanna and Krati, JY has inspired hundreds of Women to come forward and live their dream life.
Jagriti Yatra’s mission ‘Building India Through Enterprise’ is at the core of all its efforts. It is a 15 days and 8000 km national train journey which gives selected 500 entrepreneurial youth, out of 15000+ who apply. It is an opportunity to meet the role models and entrepreneurs who are developing unique solutions, to India’s development challenges. Aravind Eye Care (Madurai), Anshu Gupta (Goonj, Delhi), Bunker Roy (Barefoot College, Tiloniya), Joe Madiath (Gram Vikas, Odisha), Narayan Murthy (Infosys, Bangalore), and Harish Hande (SELCO, Hubli) are a few to name. Nation-builders such as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Sam Pitroda, Meera Sanyal, and R.Mashelkar have participated in the program previously and have highly praised the efforts being put in by the team at Jagriti Yatra.
Jagriti Yatra: Awakening the entrepreneurial spirit
During the last 10 years, Jagriti Yatra has created a network of more than 4000 alumni, spread all across the globe. The power of its alumni network can be understood from the fact that Jagriti Yatra has created over 1000+ enterprises in last 9 years across myriad sectors of healthcare, knowledge, agriculture, housing, water, tourism and others. The overall impact of the enterprises has benefited over a million people.
Recently Jagriti Yatra, with support from Coca-Cola India, organised another program called Sustainable Enterprise Award India 2017, to help district entrepreneurs, working in the areas of Water, Agriculture and Recycling across India, out of which over 300+ enterprises from remote areas of India, participated. The top 3 teams were awarded seed money worth 3.5 lacs, to support their enterprises.
With the extensive network of alumni and supporters on its side, Jagriti ventured into creating a district-level enterprise incubation program, Jagriti Enterprise Centre – Purvanchal (JEC-P), in one of the most underdeveloped regions of the country, eastern Uttar Pradesh in 2015 through which 500 local jobs have been generated and 2 million rural women have been impacted through a digital literacy program across 9000 villages of eastern Uttar Pradesh. But Jagriti’s ambitions don’t stop here: If the last 10 years were about building this huge network of entrepreneurs, the next 10 years focus building the enterprise ecosystem in Tier 2 & Tier 3 districts of India to support these entrepreneurs.
Jagriti’s story is tied to the growth of our country. This year is the 20th anniversary of Azad Bharat Yatra, the 10th anniversary of Jagriti Yatra and the 70th year of Indian Independence.
Azad Bharat Rail Yatra
Bringing the tool of Enterprise Led Development to all the Tier 2 and Tier 3 districts of India over the next 10 years, is the focus point of the team working at Jagriti Yatra. After 10 years of traversing the nation spawning young entrepreneurs, Jagriti Yatra has established a well-penetrated network into the far reaches of our country and around 4200+ Yatris spread across the world that carries the same insights and learnings from this unique experience. For most, Yatra is just the beginning of the journey. This unique experience is a starting point of a lifelong pursuit of the singular aim of bringing hope and wellbeing to the deepest corners of our nation. Our approach to creating a unique mass experience for formative minds in a panoramic concerted transnational setting leaves not only a deep impact but creates a critical mass of enduring partnerships. Jagriti Yatra is the beginning of the journey that sets you off on a lifetime of pursuing your dream of transforming lives through enterprise.
Every organization develops certain core values that guide its members through the long and dark nights of its evolution. Jagriti’s own traits as an organization will manifest in several ways which one gets to observe during the Yatra.
The most endearing one, we believe, is the way we work as a team. We are a big family. “Once a Yatri – Always a Yatri” – This inclusion binds us together. We respect every opinion, yet don’t hesitate to challenge and debate them thoroughly. Once agreed though, we ferociously collaborate. We depend on each other blindly and trust our team members completely. You will see this play out in how our Engine Room Club team goes about doing their job. They are disciplined, thoroughly committed and highly trained in their skill of delivering to you a fantastic experience. They truly live our principles of running a professional enterprise. Every successful enterprise needs to have a strategy of creating an ‘ERC’ that becomes the lifeblood of their operations. As the Yatra has evolved we have made a major part of the journey into an exercise of enterprise building. Complementing the experiential learning of Role Model visits and Yatri Interaction is a business planning exercise called Biz Gyan Tree.
Executed within the hyper constrained, time-limited, resource squeezed, sleep deprived rocky and rambunctious environment of Yatra makes it quite close to the reality of a business environment. Again, what pays off is discipline, focus, ability to collaborate, create and sometimes simply executing well something that is already quite well proven. Biz Gyan Tree is a taster for Yatris to decide if the enterprise is indeed their cup of tea and if so how they would make it their passion of a lifetime. One of our outreach programs has successfully grown into a national platform.
The Jagriti Ambassador for District Entrepreneurs (JADE) was founded to seek out deserving candidate from third-tier districts to go on the Yatra. The JADE team has successfully introduced over 500 Yatris in 2016 which for us represents a significant contribution in identifying deserving talent that would have otherwise not had this opportunity. The JADE program promises to become a connector for every Yatri to take the message out not only to encourage future yatris but potentially identify talent and network for their own programs in the future. Every Yatri should become a JADE member and benefit from this unique opportunity to both contribute as well as learn. Finally, the Jagriti Enterprise Network and the Jagriti Enterprise Centre are recent projects that promise to transform the targeted districts of Purvanchal. Jagriti starts with the Yatra and promises to last a lifetime – for many a lifetime, it will take to transform our nation. How I look forward to partnering with you on this wonderful journey of a lifetime! Yaaron Chalo!
Inside the train was a different story altogether. A mini India (or a mini world, as we had international participants from various countries) was a dynamic hub of exchange of ideas, cultures, knowledge, habits and skills. It is a molten pot of gold of vibrant activities going on 24*7 between people from rural and urban backgrounds.