Jamshedpur, Jan 30: Started in 2009 on the occasion of XLRI’s diamond jubilee, the National Conference on Social Entrepreneurship is held annually to provide a platform to share knowledge and experiences of socially conscious entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.
The theme for this year is ‘Young Change makers: Youth as Social Entrepreneurs’. This conference is being organized under the aegis of Fr. Arrupe Centre for Ecology and Sustainability and SIGMA (Social Initiative Group for Managerial Assistance).
Fr. Abraham, Director XLRI inaugurated the conference while citing the Mahatma’s golden words “Be the change you wish to see in this world”. Addressing the gathering at Fr Prabhu Hall, Fr. Abraham said that the conference, which we had launched in 2009 as a part of commemorating XLRI’s Diamond Jubilee has now become an annual feature in our, and national, schedule.
“I am even more delighted that the theme for this Conference this year is “Young Change makers: Youth as Social Entrepreneurs”. We all know that throughout the history, social transformations have come through the initiatives and entrepreneurship of youth – be it the social movements, creation of disruptive technologies to change the society, and even winning freedom for nations.”
Director further added, “The theme for the event is also a very relevant theme in contemporary India, which needs the energy and passion of the young generation to address some of the most critical issues which the country is facing. India is a country of young, with 430 million people in the age range of 15-34.
In fact, estimates show that by 2020 youth will comprise of 64% of India’s working population. This certainly holds the promise of our “demographic dividends”. However, if this youth power does not move into more productive spaces of nation building, these dividends can also become our “demographic liabilities”.
Organizing this conference is our one such effort to facilitate dialogues among the key stakeholders in the development sector on this critical issue and hope that this conference will mark another major step in our journey to promote a more responsible and just society.
Prof. Madhukar Shukla took this initiative to remind all the participants of the rationale of social entrepreneurship. He compared the social incubation ecology to that of weakly developed environment with high mortality rate, where most of the initiatives die before reaching maturity.
The highlight of the inauguration was the experience sharing of grass root change makers and youth leaders. Ajay Murmu, a local youth leader works relentlessly for the betterment of the students in schools and computer education gave a talk on the various problems of the local community.
Jagdish a student from XIMB shared his experience of starting his own venture while in college that helped village people understand Internet and mobile technology. Shruti Parija a TISS Graduate who works with Gram Vikas and is associated with Orissa Livelihood Mission and Yasmin Sharma a student of XISS, both emphasized on the potential of youth & how their mindset has changed after getting a glimpse of the real problems of society.
The three speakers beautifully justified the theme of this event. Ashraf Patel, Co-Founder and Director of Pravah advocated for 5th Space, a platform where youngsters come together & perform grass root activities. Rahul Nainwal, Co-Founder, iVolunteer & India Fellowship, talked about a unique initiative in which 14 India Fellows are selected for one and a half year leadership program.
Finally Anshu Gupta, Founder Director of Goonj put forth a strong case for the need of ground level implementation of youth driven projects. He opined that currently it is one’s compulsion rather than a choice to give back to the society. The war of changing the society starts with winning the battle of improving the society first.