The Tata Jagriti Yatra* (TJY) is an annual journey of external discovery and inner awakening. Every year, around 400 young men and women from India and overseas spend 18 days travelling on a train across India visiting people and organisations demonstrating the success of a unique community-based economic model — enterprise-led development.
The annual Tata Jagriti Yatra is a collaborative effort of the Tata group and the Jagriti Sewa Sansthan that aims to provide young adults a chance to discover their inner spirit of social entrepreneurship and to learn how it can solve the challenges faced by countries today.
During the 18-day TJY 2010, the yatris experienced the diversity of India, met role models, understood their way of functioning and participated in panel discussions with experts.
|Interactive panel discussions
- Kanyakumari: Starting an Enterprise, Making a Difference
- Hyderabad: Funding India’s Entrepreneurs
- Jamshedpur: Enabling Successful Agro Enterprise
- Mithapur: The Power of One
The yatra in itself was a melting pot of cultures. Coming from diverse social, economic and geographical backgrounds, the yatris had to overcome personal prejudices and learn to step out of their comfort zone during the yatra. The focus sessions on ‘Women and Leadership’ and ‘Exploring Middle India in light of Youth Enterprise’ as well as a creativity workshop served to dissolve differences and create a sense of unity. And when the yatris disembarked at Mumbai, they walked away with a deeper understanding and knowledge of India and its diversity in inhabitants, cultures and traditions.
Organisations the yatris visited:
In addition to these organisations, the yatris also visited the Tata Steel plant at Jamshedpur and the Jagriti Sewa Sansthan headquarters in Deoria.
- Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram
Founded by G Vijayraghavan, Technopark is India’s first IT park. It is spread over nearly 300 acres and hosts over 200 IT and ITES companies employing over 28,000 IT professionals. Mr Vijayraghavan’s talk inspired the yatris to get things done by working with the government system rather than sitting back and criticising it.
- Thanal, Thiruvananthapuram
An organisation working for the protection of the environment in verdant Kerala, Thanal was co-founded by Usha and Jaykumar. That sustainable development can be brought about through recycling, reusing, reducing the use of unsustainable materials and finding renewable alternatives, was knowledge the yatris gained from Usha and Jaykumar.
- Aravind Eye Care, Madurai
Aravind Eye Care hospital, managed by Dr S Aravind, was born of Dr Govindappa Venkatswamy’s dream to eradicate needless blindness. What started as an 11-bed hospital is now a 3,900-bed hospital with five branches. The hospital follows the McDonald’s model of delivering quality to a huge quantity. The yatris learned how innovative, efficient systems reduce costs and time, and could go a long way in ensuring success in entrepreneurship.
- Kuthambakkam village, Chennai
Kuthambakkam near Chennai is a model caste-free village that’s economically independent and does not import goods from urban manufacturers. R Elango brought together villagers as one to build it. Grant money was utilised to provide sustainable employment to people using locally available raw materials and the panchayat raj system was made more effective and functional. Community involvement is an important aspect of a self-sustainable social venture is the fact that the yatris took back with them.
- Naandi Foundation, Hyderabad
Leena Joseph is a key figure at the Naandi Foundation, a non-profit public-private partnership that believes in eradicating poverty through creation of sustainable livelihoods and by providing midday meals and safe drinking water. It caters to the needs of 120,000 hungry children every day. Logistics management, scale of operations, automation and the importance of protecting the dignity of life were some of things that Leena Joseph gave the yatris an idea about.
- Gram Vikas, Bhubaneswar
Joe Madiath used health and sanitation as a platform to integrate people through Gram Vikas. The groups now participate in the local panchayats and make decisions in favour of the people. The availability of water through the initiatives of Gram Vikas lightened women’s workload and left them with more time to focus on income generation. The principles of inclusiveness, gender and social equity, and enabling local people to govern themselves were lessons for the yatris from Gram Vikas.
- Goonj, Delhi
Anshu Gupta started Goonj when he realised that no organisation worked towards fulfilling the clothing needs of the poor. Goonj re-emphasised clothing as a basic human necessity. It engaged people in solving their local developmental issues and provided cloth as payment. The idea was to allow rural poor to earn their clothes so that their dignity was maintained. Goonj also taught them to produce and sell handicraft items made from cloth. To reuse and recycle articles and convert them into something productive for the society was what Goonj taught the yatris.
- Barefoot College, Tiloniya
Barefoot College, founded by Bunker Roy, trains illiterate men and women from impoverished villages to become solar engineers, architects and other such professionals. It advocates the use of sophisticated technology in rural India and puts the control in the hands of local people by training them. Applying classroom learning to life is more important than obtaining a degree became clear to the yatris after their visit to Barefoot College.
- Okhai, Mithapur
The Okhai project was initiated as a corporate sustainability activity of the Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development. It enables women of the drought-prone region to supplement family income by utilising their knowledge of traditional handicraft skills. Okhai has become a well-known brand in designer stores across major cities in India. The use of traditional skills for livelihood was what the yatris learned from the empowered women of Okhai.
More on the yatra:
|*The Tata group was associated with the Jagriti Yatra from 2008 to 2010.|