Convention of young leaders
The penultimate event marking the accomplishments of a year long journey of a social and financial education effort by MelJol, Khwahishe Unlimited, was held at Shri Bhatia Wadi, Ghatkopar on Friday, 29th June 2018.
The event saw a footfall of about 150 young participants from three cities of Delhi, Pune and Mumbai. Community leaders and Associates from partner organizations were also present along with other dignitaries.
About Entrepreneurship Lab
The Entrepreneurship Lab is an extension of the Aflateen program with a special focus on building entrepreneurial capabilities of youths aged 15 to 22 years. The aspired youth from the schools and communities are the most active learners of this extension module. This module aims at empowering the participants with an enhanced understanding of the world of Enterprises. Through this experiential learning they garner all the necessary attitudes and skills that can help them emerge and grow as successful entrepreneurs.
With the newer challenges of emerging developing economies, fostering of entrepreneurial potentials is realized to attain a pronounced importance. Entrepreneurs are key players in keeping the wheels of an economy running. They create employment possibilities and further strengthen the job markets. It thus becomes tantamount to socio-economic empowerment when new generations of such entrepreneurs keep evolving. With this aim the Entrepreneurship Lab strives to further the cause of social and financial education.
The event was a congratulatory gesture for the accomplishments of the Entrepreneurship Skill Development Program initiatives established across Mumbai, Pune and Delhi. These accomplishments could be attained only through the relentless efforts and participation of all the stakeholders. It was thus unsurprising to see all these stakeholders come together under the banner of MelJol to celebrate their success.
The event began with a welcome song by few young audience members, followed by a welcome note by Mr. Subrat Nayak, Deputy Director – National programme. Mr. Pramod Nigudkar, CEO- MelJol, gave a background of the work done by MelJol and its partners and laid out the schedule of the program before the audience. He highlighted the key aspects of the Khwahishe Unlimited journey and shed light on the outreach that the initiative had achieved, which was a laudable 10,233 youths aged 15 and above.
He then invited honorable Board Members of MelJol, Mr. Rishad Byramjee, the President and Dr. Lata Narayan, the Secretary to join him on the stage. They were also joined by youth participants Ms. Manasi Utekar from Mumbai, Ms. Apeksha Jadhav from Pune and Mr. Pawan Kumar from Delhi of the Entrepreneurship Skill Development Program. . All six of them were warmly felicitated by MelJol team members. During this occasion, Mr. Rishad Byramjee addressed the audience with a note on why MelJol felt that imparting social and financial education to the youth was of importance and how it came about creating a program to facilitate this. He made a special mention of Ms Shahin Dastur and Mira Patel of Citi Foundation who supported this program and thanked them for their continuous support to MelJol. Dr. Lata Narayan also shared her experiences of working with youth and had a dialogue with the youth audience on topics such as misconceptions about youth and gender equality. The audience had an engaging experience through both the talks.
This was followed by a panel discussion on the topic: “Today’s youth are responsible citizens- Opportunities & Challenges in today’s scenario”. The panel invited to speak on the topic included Ms. Vijaya Chauhan (Board Member- MelJol), Mr. Mohan Tanksale (Board Member- MelJol), Mr. Sanjay Gupta (Director-Chetna, Delhi) and Mr. Manish Shroff (Director-New Vision, Pune)
The panelists put forth their views on the topic, starting with Mr. Mohan Tanksale. He reiterated the notion of Indian’s youth being a demographic dividend for the nation, having the capacity to take the nation to newer heights. He encouraged the youth audience to nurture aspirations and dreams and work towards fulfilling them with 5 Cs conviction, capacity, courage, confidence and capital. He highlighted the importance of discipline and ethics in achieving wholesome success. He mentioned the benefit of accessing various schemes and policies implemented to strengthen entrepreneurial ventures such as Start-up India and Stand-up India. He also encouraged the participants to initiate the application of their financial learning by opening bank accounts.
Ms. Vijaya Chauhan also echoed the points mentioned by Mr. Mohan Tanksale and highlighted the importance of a social consciousness amongst the youth.
Mr. Sanjay Gupta pointed out that today’s youth in the country is informed but a conscious consumption of information by them is not always evident. He mentioned that it was important for the youth to realize that their untapped potentials can be misused by anti-social elements and they thus have to be vigilant of their own actions and focus their energies onto constructive activities. They need to look out for positive role models in their immediate circles and avoid unhealthy company.
Manish Shroff continued with the discussion, furthering the dilemma of untapped youth potential. He mentioned that there is a sense of confusion too in today’s youth due to overexposure and peer pressure.
Inputs from the panelists were great points to reflect upon for all the youth participants and proved a great starting point for a discussion that followed in the form of a Question and Answer round. The youths asked questions on various topics to the panel, ranging from handling failures & relationships, competition & cooperation, ethics for a student and Government policies. The earnest questions were appreciated by the panel and answered in a convincing manner.
The panel discussion ended on a positive note, echoing the bright future of a responsible citizenry that the youth are capable of ushering in.
Youth Panel Discussion
This was followed by an experience sharing session of the Entrepreneurship Lab participants. The session saw six such participants sharing their experiences and learnings with the audience. They were Akshada Kale and Sachin Yadav from Mumbai; Sonia and Ritika from Delhi and Vaibhav Dhormare and Anjali Jaiswal from Pune.
They spoke with great fervor about how undergoing the program had positively shaped their personalities and helped them realize their potentials and get over their undue inhibitions. This not just helped them gain a better understanding of their own selves but also their social realities. They now find themselves in all the capacities of acting as role models for other youths from their communities and thereby encouraging many others to join their groups.
One youth shared that she was able to start an enterprise that makes table cloths as a result of her learnings at the Lab. Others also shared that they felt they had attained a significant level of confidence in their abilities in pursuing their entrepreneurial aspirations. Some youths shared that they had improved greatly in their communication skills and now feel confident in speaking to a crowd, strangers or the opposite gender. One youth expressed that he felt his leadership and entrepreneurial skills were aptly honed through his journey at the Lab.
These Afla Youths from across Delhi, Pune and Mumbai sharing their journey of new learnings and self-discovery emerged as a promising picture of the positive changes their sustained efforts are capable of bringing in. The young anchor. Chakradhar Pandey, received a big applause for his excellent facilitation skills.
Felicitation of Stakeholders
Sangita Malshe put forth the contribution of every stakeholder in making the program on ground successful. Recognition and appreciation of all the stakeholders was therefore very valuable. Recognizing their association with the initiative was a mark of strengthened partnerships.
One amongst the key stakeholders were the partner organizations that supported the initiative by implementing them at their geographical locations of work. The work in Delhi was supported by Chetna and that in Pune by New Vision. Pune team under the leadership of Manish Shroff and the Delhi team under the leadership of Sanjay Gupta had put in great work in making the program a success in both the cities. Both the Directors were felicitated along with their teams during the event for their commendable efforts. Also the Mumbai program team was felicitated by Vijaya Chauhan and Lata Narayan. The participant youth from all locations were received certificate as a recognition for fulfilling the course.
Outreach Workers and Community Leaders
Interventions at community level cannot attain fruition unless they are well received and supported by the community members. Recognizing the valuable support of outreach workers and community leaders was thereby indispensible. Akanksha Naik, Shweta Sali, Tausif Khan, Mangal Gaikwad, are the members from the community and Om Pandey and Sachin Yadav have been working as volunteers along with their participation in the course. Mangal Gaikwad presented one poem, she prepared to express her gratitude towards MelJol.
The ultimate success of programs lies in the active participation of those for and with whom the program is implemented. The sincere involvement of all the three youth groups who had participated in the Entrepreneurship Skill Development Program was the major contributing factor in bringing success to the initiative. The three teams were felicitated with great zest as a mark of appreciation and encouragement for continuing their learning.
Learning Demonstration through Role-play
The three teams then presented role-plays to demonstrate elements of their learnings gained through the Entrepreneurship Lab. These role-plays offered a live example of the knowledge gain and skill acquisition of these youth participants. The Mumbai team presented a role-play themed on accessing services from banking institutions. Delhi and Pune teams presented role-plays that provided a snapshot of the Aflateen – Entrepreneurship Lab journey through their lenses as participants.
Sharing of Experiences and Learnings
The program has witnessed many challenges and learnt from its experiences. Subrat Nayak shared that the Entrepreneurship skill building program has been a great experience. Identifying the spaces was difficult in the initial phase but the community sources have provided good support in all three locations.
Sangita Malshe shared some of the learning of the program that MelJol has observed. She mentioned that the Entrepreneurship skill building program has become a door step program which develops aggressive approach about enterprises among youth from the disadvantaged communities. The Aflateen Resource Centers have become sustainable models of experiential co learning and safe spaces for the youth.
Vote of Thanks
The event reached its concluding point and Mr. Nagsen Khadse offered his vote of thanks on behalf of MelJol. He expressed MelJol’s appreciation towards all the attendees and NGO partners for their valued presence and participation during the event. He expressed gratitude towards Citi Foundation for supporting the program.