Meet the students of Gitam Institute of Management(GIM) who have embarked on a mission to make a difference. Joining hands with an international organisation, ENACTUS-GIM is a socially committed group who are steadily changing lives, their own and the ones that they help.
In a society where ironically the poor become poorer and the rich get richer, self-sustenance is the only bridge to close that divide. A Chinese proverb written thousands of years ago holds true in today’s times too. ‘Give man a fish and he lives for a day, teach him fishing and he lives for a lifetime.’ In order to benefit those in actual need, it is thus important to help them in helping themselves.
Working on this very principle is ENACTUS-GIM, Vizag chapter, run by the students of GIM. With a combination of local volunteers along with global expertise, ENACTUS or Entrepreneurial Action Us, is a non-profit international NGO with partners in different parts of the world. This association began in 2007, and since then it has played a pivotal role in helping students of GIM in channelizing their managerial skills to develop entrepreneurial skills in underprivileged communities. ‘We have completed 8 projects till date’ elaborates Neeharika, an alumnus of the ENACTUS-GIM association.
Talking about their current project in Somalingapalem, Rukmini Vemula adds, ‘Post cyclone Hudhud, chaos had enveloped the city and district. Far flung areas still remained out of reach. Somalingapalem, near Yellamanchili is one such village. An SOS call from a GIM student hailing from the village triggered a chain reaction. After discussions with the villagers and faculty, the team came up with an activity whereby a machine would be installed to help villagers grind the millets they produced. To gain the villagers’ trust, we painted the school building as well.’ In association with a well-experienced local NGO called Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT), they have now helped train women in tailoring skills as well.
But working with tailoring, Etikoppaka toy making or helping villagers earn from local produce isn’t all. These student volunteers also focus on holistic development of the villages they work with. Provision of electricity through renewable sources, pure drinking water and health are other issues they work on.
But how do they take out time from rigorous study schedules and study hours? ‘We have a core team of 15 members and 72 active participants. We meet on Sundays or after 5 PM on weekdays’, says a member from the group. ‘It is difficult, but it is fulfilling.’
Social work is not as easy as it sounds. It includes plenty of planning, coordination logistics getting grants and finally convincing the villagers that the ideas of people half their age are good for them. ‘Actually working with villagers is the most satisfying and fulfilling part. Every group has some antisocial elements; persuading them and delivering an end product that benefits all is what I look forth to every time.’ Kamalesh Raghavendra, a first year student quotes, ‘It teaches us many things, and especially to always have a Plan B.’
And how would the legacy go on? ENACTUS-GIM shall continue, batch after batch, influencing every student who is a part of the program. A handful may perhaps take up permanent roles in the social service sector. But one thing is for sure. Every member involved in at least one social activity, will experience a small change, a little light, from within.