Once upon a time, yes, every story that I heard in my childhood started like this so mine also. Once upon a time my niece came to my village with my sister during Rakhi. It was the time of her period and she forgot to carry pads. I thought pads were easily available in the village so I went to a shop, came empty handed then another shop then another. What I found that there were no sanitary pads available in our village. Some women were selling Clothes and that cloth was used during menstruation cycle. I was shocked. It was quite unbelievable for me. I was far away from the truth. I searched Google and visited our community to understand the reality. The facts I found were eye opener and shocking. Preventive health care had always been ignored by Indians resulting in loss of lives and money. This ignorance or reluctance is caused by lack of awareness and accessibility of genuine health care products. The situation is worse when it comes to women.
There is a quote by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus that “Social Entrepreneur is one who see the pain in the society and create a business around it to solve it”. I took the inspiration from the quote and formed an Organization Go-On India with Rajesh Kumar and Rohit Patidar. We started a production unit in Madhya Pradesh. At that time I was in 2nd year of my MBA.
After starting production I realized that sanitary pad is a big taboo and just accessibility can’t solve the problem. So we developed Fellowship program for creating social leader from village to address the issues. In that program, Go-On India will train a girl fellow called The Nightingale who will be responsible for running the program in one district. We along with The Nightingale will involve the school going girls. The Nightingale will select 2 Change maker girls from each school. We will give them special training which is designed in a manner that it covers all the aspects like awareness, communication, technical knowledge, sales and myths. The training will create strong leadership in them. The Nightingale along with the change makers will organize awareness camps in village and will try to educate more people. The Change makers will be our tools to provide sanitary napkin to girls, village women and to handle queries. A part of profit of Go-On India will be shared by these change makers.
Literature and School
My journey started from a small village Jhutawad which is 70 KM away from Ujjain. There is no proper school. Some of our classes were run under tree and in temple. Selection in JNV made a big difference in my life. JNV Ujjain was bigger than my village. I have never seen such school in my life. It was the first time I tested Paneer, Jack fruit and Pear. In 7th class I was introduced to Library, most wonderful place of my life. I started reading lots of books from Premchand to Shakespeare. I started taking part in the cultural programs. Mrs. Alka Kothari, Mrs. Rammurti and Mr. Anil Makode were not just teachers, but God in my journey. I explored lot of things because of encouragements and belief of these people. Then I started writing poems and short stories in my school life. I got Rajya Pal Award in Scout too.
First Short movie to Sanima
In my engineering days I watched lots of movies and read many novels. In third year my old friend Rohit and I were talking about movies and suddenly we decided that we should make a short movie. I had already written many stories and a few plays. He was also active in his college extra curriculum activities. We did not even know how to write a screenplay, what is 180 degree rule of movie making. We looked for resources in Indore. People refused to work with us including a tea maker because we are young and knew nothing about filmmaking. When we discussed this to our extended family they declared as mad. Anyhow, with clear dedication in our mind we made our first short film named Corner table and it was covered by four news channel.
We faced lots of problems with our first film and there were lots of other artists too who were facing the same problem because there was no collaborative platform for it. So Rohit and I decided to create a platform and that’s how SANIMA was born. In two years we had made many short films under SANIMA and had worked with many artists. We even made a movie in 48 Hour for world 48 hour film project. One of our team members from SANIMA is selected for Film and television institute of India. Now we are planning to make feature films.
Jagriti Yatra leads to Mera Gaon Meri Dunia
From 24 December to 8 January 2014 were 16 life changing days of my life. In Jagriti Yatra, we traveled around 8000 km and met all well known Social Entrepreneurs of India. The addressing of Anshu Gupta( Founder of Goonj) took away my comfort and forced me to think about the real India. The image of India we portray in our mind was quite different from the real one and I didn’t have a single clue how to bridge the gap between the two.
On 25 January 2015, I along with my local friends arranged a seminar for students and a panel discussion with local experts focusing how we can change the current education scenario of our area. Some students who were studying in different cities came together to offer their help and that’s how “Mera Gaon Meri Dunia” came into action. With the sole purpose of improving education “Mera Gaon Meri Dunia” is currently managing a learning center with Library in the village.
Struggle in Social sector and SSE
Go-On India was founded to provide hygienic health care product up to the last person in the queue. But our production capacity was unable to cope up with the demand. Also there was no proper fixed supply chain system so we were facing problems to reach out the women of the villages. Then I was selected in the first cohort of the School for Social entrepreneurs, India’s Social startup fellowship program. Expert session at SSE cleared lots of things and showed us necessary skills while Witness session provided us experience, motivation and strength.
Now with Go-On India, we want to see a world where every woman is healthy and happy.
Here are the links