Last November, a team of 7 adventurers travelled to Northern India to pilot Paradigm Shift's entrepreneurial training program to a group of 12 highly-motivated individuals utilizing business to affect change in their local community. Following are updates on 4 of the business men and women who participated in last year's business course and what has transpired over the past 7 months since the training:
AmitIs selling noodles from the roof of a local church building and using his profits to support and sustain his volunteer work with teenagers in the villages around Bijanbari. As a result of relationships being built in this area they have been able to host a "Princess Party" in which they communicate the worth and value of women and spread awareness about Human Trafficking within the community.
ChrisIs an artist and since the training she has put her art work on Etsy and has had some promising meetings with local businesses to display her work. She says this would not have happened apart from what she learned through the business course.
ReshmaIs a local women's leader in the village of Salu. She has taught the housewives in her village about budgeting and savings. They are working on a project where the women can save 300 rupees ($5) per month for their families.
DipenHas gone to get formal training in the coffee making industry and has been working for the past 3 months in a local coffee company called Barista. When he finishes training, he will most likely return to Darjeeling to start his own business. Recently he created a logo to begin marketing his initiative and is advertising on social media sites.
Maren Chettri, director of a Darjeeling based non-profit committed to ending unsafe migration and human trafficking, is excited for both the training and the opportunities it opens for awareness and education on issues posing risk to many youth in rural areas. In a recent communication Maren related the connection between business education and anti-slavery efforts:
"I can see that last year's training has had a positive impact with those people who were in it. It has also opened opportunities for us to go into places that we have not worked in or have not had much connection with and would like to have more. If we can get into these places with the Business Training I believe that it will help to make the communities less vulnerable to Human Trafficking. Too many of the youth are being lured out of this place with the promise of huge pay checks. They feel that there is no opportunity for them here. If some of them had some cheer leaders and a little bit of training behind them, I think more would stay. I am excited about the potential of this training in Salu and in Bijanbari. Amit's brother is always saying that the youth could use some ideas, training and some support. In Salu, the people could just use some help in building up their businesses. We are really excited about the possiblity of expanding."
Yobel is really looking forward to partnering with our local community, Paradigm Shift, and Daniel and Maren Chettri to bring empowerment and opportunity as well as human-trafficking awareness to tea village workers outside of Darjeeling. We believe that over time we will be witnesses to amazing transformation in the lives of these people. We know that our lives will never be the same because of the opportunity to be in relationship with them. Want to join our strategic team in October? Email our trip coordinator, Irene Jaw at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your eyes open for our next interest story Blog entitled India: Come and See.
photo credit: Kristin Schultz