Ten to the Power :: A vision,a need
Complain, criticism and cynicism
Three words that usually describe the nature of human beings today, especially in India. There are certain things we were given, certain things that we cannot change because someone somewhere wishes to make the extra buck, someone somewhere wearing a white hat and kurta, claims to want to help society, what he doesn’t tell you is, he will try helping society as long as his wallet is overflowing with money. I wouldn’t blame you if you complain, criticize and be cynical. Ill confess to being a cynic, because I know what the situation is and how much it bothers me, I’ve definitely spoken to the right people to know what and why problems arise in this country but I don’t know how to deal with it.
Infrastructure, health, safety and rights are something we do not have control over. It is in essence and in nature in the hands of those white kurta wearing chaps who patronize crowds for that little ink on your index finger.
Some of us who are bothered by the certain societal problems work with NGOs and volunteer as much as we can. How many of us make the effort to actually set up a centre or set up an organization or mobilize people in working towards this common goal
Cue: Ten to the Power, a project that aims to bridge this gap. Yes its scale is limited for now, but one can never doubt the passion of the people I bring to you today.
Let’s start with the website. On first impression, the portal amazes me. Its trim, nicely organized and has great use of visuals. The colours are not very bright, and it keeps the mood mellow. One needs to click through a few pages, but mind you, it is not taxing as each of the pages has a new stat or graphic that draws your attention.
Website, check. But what about the matter behind all the flash?
Will this be another attempt at solving a problem many have tried to do an failed? Honestly, I don’t think so; the project is ‘humble’ and understands the limitations of the current scenario. Hopeful and ambitious but still very grounded. The target group is college students who will infuse youth and a fresh brand of ideas.
I caught up with the co-founder and director of the project Ankit Durga. Ankit is a business graduate from the University of Delhi and alumnus of The Doon School, Dehradun. He is also a trained internal auditor and currently works for Zomato.com.
Let’s see what he had to say about his new endeavour
- What is The Ten to the Power Project?
The Ten to the Power Project is a Social Project that works largely with college students and young professionals. The idea behind The Project is to identify economically neglected regions from hill states, partner with effective local organisations and action groups and assist them in any or all forms by involving college students and young professionals from Indian metropolitan cities.
- You say college students and young professionals from Indian metro cities. Where I do believe that there are a handful of us who believe in projects and social work like this, is the youth from such cities truly connected to the ‘harsh realities of society’?
Firstly, as you mentioned, there is definitely a small group people who are well aware and educated about what goes on in the country and our communities. Very honestly, most of us working in the core team for The Project came together simply based on the fact that we felt very strongly about certain issues. Having said that, media today is equipped enough to both sensitize and sensationalize anything. So while everyone is aware, there is a perennial problem of inaction. Our entire idea and method of communication is directed towards waking people up from their slumber.
- What is your current campaign about? Do you have any partners already?
Of the exposure we have got so far, we have recognised Purkal Youth Development Society as an effective work group in Uttarakhand(our love for the hills). The society is working on educating children from poor families and also empowering mountain women. In addition to a constant requirement of volunteers, the number of students in the school run by PYDS is very limited simply due to a lack of funds. This is where we place our first campaign. The ‘Ten to the Power Project’ is a fund raising campaign, raising funds for assisting PYDS to increase capacity.
- How is your project different from any other NGO venture?
The Ten to the Power Project is one of the only initiatives present in colleges that invites equal participation from college students and young professionals. We have a lot of supporters from the service industry who are constantly in touch with our members and there is a healthy knowledge exchange. Additionally, the Project unlike most groups working in Delhi, focuses largely on hills and hill states. All our resources, be it funds or voluntary activity is not meant for villages or suburbs around Delhi. Also, the Ten to the Power Project has begun activity by taking on a fund raising challenge; something we haven’t see happen in colleges recently.
There is a storm coming; a lovely piece worth sharing::
- What made you do The Ten to the Power Project?
The initial idea came to us when we started reading about the Kony 2012 campaign and its impact in India. The campaign was designed around a Ugandan terrorist Joseph Kony and his atrocities in Central African countries and it was executed by a Californian Organisation. When the campaign managed to raise support from India we identified a critical loop hole. There might be similar issues being faced in India but the youth was ignorant simply because there is no one to dig out problems from far flung rural areas and communicate effectively with our young people. Once we started working on designing a youth friendly NGO, our next big challenge was to deliver efficiently. A lot of research and conversations made us realize that good work was being done but was highly concentrated and restricted in terms of the area and regions. As most of us from the team had moderate experience from the social sector in the hills, we quickly realised that mountains would be a great area to pick. There is a lack of physical checks, high level of corruption and imbalanced development taking place in our hill states.
- Tell us something about your core group. What was the rationale behind working with this team?
Our core team is a mix of college students and young professionals.
Bandana Hirawat is a graduate from the University of Delhi and is currently working as an Internal Auditor at Deloitte. She looks after Finance and Operations for The Project.
The other five members are responsible for work on strategy and execution. They are responsible for the real work being done for the project. (In Alphabetical order)
Aanchal is a Commerce student at the University of Delhi. She has worked with AIESEC which is the largest student organisation in the world in capacity of a business developer and also managed the large alumni network of the local chapter. Aanchal manages South Campus volunteers for The Project.
Devanjali is an Economics student at the University of Delhi and is a Welham Girls School Alumni. She works at the International Award for Young People which is a youth development program. She has traveled extensively for youth conferences, workshops and camps. Devanjali manages South Campus volunteers for The Project.
Shubhda is a Business student at the University. She is also a Grassroutes Fellow and has worked with the International Award for Young People to engage young people in the development program. Shubhda heads the volunteering body of The Ten To The Power Project.
Siddhant is the youngest amongst the team members and is studying business at the University. He enjoys theater and is a part of a group which spreads social awareness through street acts. Siddhant manages North Campus volunteers at The Project.
At the moment we are recruiting volunteers from various colleges in Delhi. Anyone patient and willing enough is welcome. The numbers will gradually increase once our volunteers join and hopefully by our next campaign, we will have a larger core group. We are also working on an extensive volunteer management programme and the experience we aim to deliver is going to be different than usual.
- Great idea, good start… But where does the ‘Ten to the Power Project’ go?
Over a course of two weeks, people have got in touch with us from renowned schools Babson, Warwick internationally and IITs and JNU from within the country. The schools have asked us to help run a parallel format in their respective colleges.
However, we choose to concentrate on our core areas and want participation in Delhi colleges for now. In the near future, we want The Ten to the Power Project to be recognised as a credible portal for College students. We want to partner with more organisations and groups from the hill states and come up with local solutions to their problems. In an year from now, we are looking at developing an exhaustive volunteering portal for college students ranging from a few months to a few hours. Also, we are aiming at building a sustainable funding model.
- How does one become a part of your project?
Recruitment of volunteers has halted for now unfortunately. The next set of recruitment will take place between the months of December and January. There is an online form available, feel free to send us your applications through the website.
To help as a partner, get in touch with our team again through the contact details mentioned below
- Closing thoughts?
People from our generation often mention their love for traveling and adventure. With lifestyles becoming more of surviving than living, travel and leisure is a lost concept. We want to ensure that our volunteers travel, understand, observe and help communities that really need the help. The Ten To The Power Project has lots in store. All we need is support from students who could really contribute meaningfully and we are getting there!
In the rather selfish lives we live, it’s about time we realized the need for empowerment and development. While I’m not going to get Karmic in this article, we need to introspect and work with organizations and groups like this to ensure we stop depending on the 3Cs.
I have already pledged my support to ‘Ten to the Power’ in any possible capacity. I urge you to spare a thought, maybe a dime and let’s work towards a vision of a better country, however long and hard the road might be.
Email Id :: Ankit@tentothepower.com
Ten to the Power::