Personal Sharing on Jagriti Yatra

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    ConsolidatedfrommysharingmadeintheWeChatgroupChinese-IndianYouthSociety, and subsequently published on their public Wechat platform on 31stJanuary,2016This document is arranged such that the originalWeChat sharing (Chinese) isfollowedbyEnglishtranslation.

    Pan-IndiaTrainTrip:JagritiYatraFinally,herewecome to thepart thateverybodyhasbeen looking forward to!The pan-India Train Trip: Jagriti Yatra, it literally means awakening trip inHindi.

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    Several successful Indianbusinessmenstarted theprogramme.Theyhope thattheyoungpeopleofIndiawillbeinspiredbythediversityintheirowncountry,and then become motivated to build their country through entrepreneurship.Indeed, the programme is deeply rooted in the social reality of India as thebiggestdemocraticcountryintheworld,Indiahasexperiencedfastbutunequaldevelopment,governmentalonecannotsolvealltheproblems.Atthesametime,thebirthratehasbeenhigh,sothepopulationisratherlargeandyoung.How to inspire the young people of India to build their communities, and toshare the economic prosperity? The programme is an attempt to answer thisquestion.SimilartotheirChinesecounterparts,manyIndiansdonotknowtheirowncountrythatwell.Oneofthefoundingmembers,Shashankhasalwayssaidthattheyhave20yearsto capitalize theyouthenergy togather theseyoungpeople tobuild India. Iftheymissedthechance,Indiahadtofacethesameproblemofageingpopulationlikemanyothercountries.JagritiYatrahasbeenaroundfor8years.Thepastandcurrentparticipantsandvolunteershaveformedapowerfulnetwork.Thisgroupiscomprisedofindividualswhoareinspiredtomakeanimpactintheirsociety.Thenextstep for JagritiYatra is tobuildan incubator inmiddle India toassisttheseyoungpeoplestobuildtheirownenterprises. Itstimeforthesetalentedyoungpeopletomaterializetheirideas.Sinceitisatraintrip,Iguessyouwillask,whatstheroute?

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    Youcanseefromthemap,itisindeedatriparoundIndia,nojoke!In15days,wehave visited 12 cities, we started from theWest Mumbai, traveled down toSouth,allthewaytoMadurai;thenweturnedNorth,beforereachingtheNorthmost point, Delhi, we passed sacred land for Buddhism, Nalanda (whereXuangzang/Hsuan-tsangwenttoseekforBuddhisttruth intheChineseclassicliterature Journey to theWest). In theend,we returned toMumbai from theNorthmostpoint.WhydoImentionJourneytotheWest?Iwillsharewithyoulater.

    Throughout the trip,allorganizationswehavevisitedaresocialenterprisesorcharities. Soyoumightask,what is social enterprise? I think it isnecessary tointroduceyoutheconceptofsocialenterprise.Letmeexplaininthisway,socialenterprise is anewapproach to social issues. It usesbusinessmodels to solvesocial problems. Different from profit-maximizing corporations, socialenterprises focus on social sectors, such as education, sustainable energy,

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    agriculture.Socialenterpriseisalsodifferentfromcharity,itdoesnotoperateforfree. Its products and services charge low fees, and the money would bechanneledbackintothesustainableoperationofthesocialenterprise.Charitiesusually do not earn any profit, they needmonetary support from governmentandcompanies.Incontrast,socialenterpriseisself-sustainable,itisabrandnewconceptaltogether.Casestudy1:SolarEnergySystemSELCONow lets talk about some of the social enterprises that I find impressive. ThefirstoneisSELCO,whichprovidessolarenergysystemtolow-incomegroups.Itis difficult to imagine that even today, there are families living in completedarkness at night in villages and city slums. Their freedom is largelycompromisedwhen their schedules depend on the rise and fall of sun. SELCOprovides sustainable energy for this group of people. One of the biggestchallenges for SELCO is that their target customers cant afford solar energysystem.Furthermore,thisgroupofpeopleusuallydonotseetheproblemswithnot having energy. By cooperatingwithmore socially conscious banks, SELCOhelps to provide low-interest loan for the people in need, so they are able toeventuallyusesolarenergy.CaseStudy2:AravindEyeHospitalThesecondcaseisAravindEyehospital,itislocatedintheSouthmostMadurai.Ittargetsatpreventableeyediseases.InIndia,80%oftheblindnessiscurable.Butthesepeopleliveinthedarkbecausetheyarenotabletoaccesstorelevantknowledge and services. Aravind provides education and affordable qualitymedicalserviceforthem,includingeyeoperationandeyeglassprescription.Thesocial enterprise model for Aravind is such that it charges according toaffordabilitythewell-offpopulationwouldpayforfull-charge,whilethepoorenjoytheservicesforfree.Canyouimaginethatthereisnobarrierforanybodytoenjoythefreeservices!Itmeans,thehospitaldoesnotcheckpatientsincome!Canyoumakeaguess,whyso?This isbecause the freemedical services areverybasic.Thequalityof theservicesisthesame,butthefacilitiesareindeedverybasic.Sowhoeverisabletopaywouldgoforthechargeablebranchofthehospital!Thefreesectiondoesnothave air-conditioning, can you imagine having no air-conditioning in SouthIndia?!The staff in the hospital sharedwith us such a story therewas a universityprofessor insisted tobringhismum to the freeAravindEye tent for checkup.Thisisbecausehewantedhismumtousethemostbasicfacilitiesliketherestofthe villagers. He did notwant hismum to enjoy any privilege. I couldnt fullycomprehendthestorywhenIfirstheardit,butnowitmakessensetome:D

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    BarefootCollegeThethirdorganizationIwouldliketoshareisBarefootCollege. Interestingly,thisplacehassomehistorical connectionswithChina.The founderofBarefootCollege, inspiredbyMaoZedong (P.R.Chinas founder/ first chairman)s callingfor barefoot doctors, founded Barefoot College where villagers teach eachother.Iwassurprised tohearing thehistoricalconnectionsbetweenBarefootCollegeandMaoZedong.Onceagain,IfeelsomuchcloserwithIndianpeoplebecauseofthe Sino-Indian friendship. Here, villagers, especially women, learn all kind ofskills.Forexample,theself-madesolarenergysystemwhichallowsvillagerstolightfireanytimeduringdaytime(theimageabove).Andalsotheworkshopthatproducessanitarypad(theimagebelow)

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    The education programme is diverse. Besides technical skills, it also includessubjects suchas traditionalmusic, dance, and folk art.The founderbelieves inthevalueofeducatingwomen.Awomanwhoiseducatedhereisabletoreturntohervillageandeducateotherwomen.Education forwomenandgirls isnotonlyafeministtopic,itconcernstheeducationandfutureforthewholehumancommunity.

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    Except site visits, Jagriti Yatra has other exciting programmes. In the thirdquarterof the trip, everygroupneeds to conceptualizea social enterprise thataddressesparticularsocialissueofinterest.(mytopiciseducation)Asagroup,wehaveinternaldiscussionandresearchduringfieldwork.Intheend,weneedto make a 3-minute pitch in front of the whole train community. During thepresentation,weneedtobepreparedforallkindsofquestionsfromthejudges.For young people like us, conceptualizing a business planwithin such a shorttimeisexciting,butalsofrightening.Photocaption:Upperleft:theyouthparticipantsshowcasingtheirbusinessplanUpperRight:judgesraisingquestionsandgivingscores

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    The space within the train allows unlimited possibilities. There are 2 Air-Conditioningsectionsinthemiddleofthetrain.Everydayaftersitevisit,these2sectionsarealwayscrowdedthereareallkindsofsharingshappeningit,beitofficiallyorganizedlectures,orself-initiatedworkshops.Therewereagriculturaleconomists sharinghisexpertise, andalsoa journalistdoinga creativewritingworkshop, and also a Neuro Llinguistic Programme practitioner (also a youthparticipant)sharingherexperiences.Classesinthetraincanbejustanything!Caption:Lower:GuesswhereIam?

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    Forme, I amactuallymost impressedbyhowmuch Indian youngpeople lovemusicanddance. In India,youdontneedanyreasontosingordance.Lecturehall,bus,trainstation,aslongastheresmusic,everyonewantstojointheparty!Howdid I spendmynewyear?Wehad theNewYearpartyon the train!Withmusic and dance, everyone visited each coach one by one. Some of thecompartments becomemusic lounges. Rock n Roll on the train is ourway ofcelebrating New Year! I sincerely think Indians are the number one partyanimalsonearth.SometimesIfeelthat,lifeinIndiaissotough,yetsointeresting.Sino-IndianYouthCommunicationThelasttopicofmysharingisculturalcommunicationbetweenyouthsofChinaandIndia.Ingeneral, I feelIndianyouthsareveryinterestedinChina,notonlybecause of its economic growth, but also its unique culture and history. Theculturalcommunicationbetweenthetwoancientcivilizationsisabigtopic.

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    BeforewearrivedNalanda,aBuddhistsacredplace,theorganizersaskedmetodo them a favour. They asked me to make a speech on the historical visit toNalandamadebytheChinesemonkXuangzang/Hsuan-tsanginthe13thcentury.So, in the sacred site of Nalanda, I made the speech in front of hundreds ofpeople. It was such an experience! I was amazed at how after 7 centuries, somanyyoungpeoplecouldfeelconnectedbecauseoftheculturalcommunicationbetweentwoancientkingdoms.

    I particularly admire Indian young people for their courage. They dare to askquestions and voice opinions. At the same time, they respect different views.Theyaremost interested in thepolitical system inChina.Theyarenotable toimaginewhatisacommunistcountrylike.Indeed,Indiaisallaboutdemocracyand freedom. They admire China for its development, but at the same time,questioningitssustainability.Theyrespectthehighlyefficientmanufactory,and

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    also curious about the entrepreneurial scene in China. They want to ask meEVERYTHING about China. I wish I could answer each one of their questions.Thats when I realized how limited my knowledge was. I dont know howbalanced our development is. I havent been tomany parts of China. I hardlyknowhowexactlyChinesepoliticalsystemworks,becausewe,asChineseyouthshavebeensoapathetic.IdontknowwhereChinaisheading.ButIdoknowthatIcare aboutmy country asmuch as these Indian friends. I care, and I want tomakeadifference.This Indiangirl (in thepictu