Support Anandhakrishnan in exploring Kutch to learn and design social change
The India Fellow program is an experiential program where young people are placed with grassroots organizations to work on different social issues directly with a community. The program aims at capturing the attention of young people from all walks of life, with diverse career interests, to dig in and get their hands dirty, to get to know the development challenges through the hands-on work, training and coaching, thereby developing committed and passionate leaders who will bring about change in the society.
An important part of our fellowship includes 4 pieces of training wherein we are given the opportunity to interact with diverse set of mentors and leaders from the development sector.
To enable the fellows with systematic tools to analyze a problem, Design Thinking is integrated in the training part. As part of the fellowship, we as a cohort are required to be working in a unique environment during our Design Thinking workshop. This 10-day workshop will involve us interacting with the community and help understand the issues in the region and come up with possible solutions for the same using Design Thinking skills. This year our cohort has chosen Kutch, Gujarat as our field area. The second largest district in the country located in the westernmost corner of India, with the sea in the South and desert towards the North, is known for its fragile ecosystem. We expect this uniqueness to add great value to our learning.
This workshop is being organised by the fellows themselves, i.e. they will be raising money and taking care of all logistical arrangements themselves.
Our cohort is currently working in diverse geographical and thematic areas. From providing access to finance, in Udaipur, to educating children in Naxal-prone region of Sukma, to providing livelihood opportunities to villagers through rural tourism in Maharashtra, and to coming up with innovative methods to learn Maths and Science to name some. In Kutch too, we will be interacting with diverse organizations addressing various issues like the environment, livelihood, women empowerment and much more.
During the Design Thinking workshop, the Fellows will be interacting with the community and working with various organisations in the region trying to understand the unique ecosystem of Kutch and various problems that the community faces. Organisations from various thematic areas will be chosen by us to work with. Some of the shortlisted organisations and their area of work include:
-Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan: empowerment of rural women by their mobilization into local collectives
-Sahjeevan: Natural resource management in Kutch
-Shishukunj: A school dedicated to the holistic development of children in tandem with nature
-Riverside School: Highly reputed international school known for its unique child-centered approach to learning
-Khamir: Engagement and development of Kachchh's rich creative industries.
-Hunnarshala Foundation: Empowering communities by shape environment-friendly and sustainable habitats
-Manav Sadhna: Organisation working towards the upliftment of the underprivileged
-SEWA: A trade union of women workers aimed at achieving full employment
-Centre For Social Justice: organisation that uses the judicial system to fight for the rights of marginalized people
In this fellowship, fellows work directly with a community on social issues, with a team of dedicated social workers, and most of all, explore the heartland to truly understand India. By the end of the journey, they have experienced social sector and have a clearer idea of how they can contribute to a better India. The exposure to social challenges will empower the fellows to find their own leadership potential, shape their futures, and make a difference.
As for the Design Thinking Workshop, it is a unique learning experience for fellows because it allows us to come together as a group and apply our diverse skills in different thematic areas in an ecosystem that is unlike anything we have come across before. Experience and lessons acquired from the year long exposure to different areas will be brought forward by the fellows. This will mutually benefit the communities and the fellows.