Thursday, August 21, 2008

CSIM - Session 2

It was a Saturday afternoon and I managed to reach the class after going round and round on Mission road. It was 2pm and the class started with around 7 students, one coordinator and a guest lecturer.

As I entered, quickly one of the students broke the ice and started introducing herself and slowly everyone followed. Our guest lecturer was Ms.Lily, the chairman of one of the departments of Ashoka. Ashoka is an association of social entrepreneurs (SE). It links SE's with venture capitalists and identifies people who exhibit a lot of innovation in the way they tackle issues.

Lily started of by asking us what we understand by the term SE. There were different answers, all converging to the aspect of someone who has an idea of how to tackle a problem or an issue that will affect the society in a big way. Then the discussion turned to identifying the qualities in a SE - the primary ones being passion, perseverance, networking, integrity. Lot of interesting discussions were started as we came up with the list of qualities.

Then, we saw a short movie on Manndeshi bank. This bank was started by Chetna in a remote district of Satara, south of Pune. She and her husband moved to Satara to do farming and slowly realized the difficulties in that area. As she progressed, she learnt the difficulties that the women in the area under-went in terms on not having right to property, male dominance. She worked towards empowering women by fighting for their rights and finally succeeded in women owning property. Most families in the village were in debts as they borrowed money for a high interest rates. This prompted Chetna to start a co-operative bank and lend money at reasonable rates. This was how Manndeshi bank was started. With time, she further worked on an all round solution by providing women vocational training, opened a B school to educate women on how to handle finance, fill chellans in the banks and now has established a wonderful women self sufficient village. Kudos to her, she is an Ashoka fellow. Chetna and her work

This was a pretty inspiring movie we saw and were asked to brain-storm on the kind of challenges she would have faced and how she could have over come.

Following this, we had a personal interaction with Mrs.Suganda who runs centers to train poor disabled people with less IQ. Her story is yet another amazing one. Today she runs 16 such centers to train these specially abled people to do back end processing for banks, telecom companies. It is such a success story that I was so surprised to learn how she came out of all the hardships that were thrown at her at different points of time. She is a living example to determination and perseverance being the key to success. Sometime next month, we are planning to visit one of her centers in Malleswaram.

Overall, it was a very motivating session and gave a lot of insight into the kind of problems and how innovative one can be in solving them.

Like every other class and course, there is no escape to home work :) Yep, there is a case study for each of us which we will be asked to present anytime. I got reminded of the SupTs (surprise tests) in my college.

That reminds me that I got to at least open and flip through the pages before the coming Saturday.

Some more tid-bits from the class
1. Sanbox project
2. Javed Abedi
3. Matrimonial site for widow re-marriage. This one was one of the ideas of my class mates and I found it novel and of great use.
4. Right To Information RTI Act

More to come after my next session.

1 comment:

Prakash Venkat said...

Wow .. thats some info nicley packed in the post:) I hope no more you will go round and round mission round ....

Its so nice to hear abt Sugandas work and if you do find some links abt the same do post it .....

I always associated Enterpreneur with also making money (either for you or for your fellow beings) ... I m hoping that your stint with CSIM enables you to do some thing that can help other to earn their living ....