Vikash forsake his conventional corporate career to dive right into tribal areas of Odisha to improve the lives of tribal communities. Through his social enterprise, Vat Vrikshya he aims to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to them and bringing about a positive change in their lives.
In this Hangout Vikash talks about some classic problems of tribal people, his experience of working in Naxalite areas and shares his views on social entrepreneurship and its ability to bring about social change.
A few tidbits from Vikash:
Ironically, in tribal communities unlike our mainstream society, tribal women are the main contributors to the economy
Tribal communities are exploited by the moneylenders and the middlemen
They are unware of any govt related schemes, welfare schemes. Lack of awareness is the major problem in tribal communities and we have been trying to address that
Naxalities have been taking advantage of frustrated tribals to make the situation worse
Of course we faced resistance, especially from moneylenders and naxal people because they thought we are there to exploit them
I was told by a naxalite that if you will be here then your whole team will be dead by next weekend
I learnt from these tribal communities that you have to be happy in small things, you have to enjoy the moment
Five years down the line also we will be just focusing on tribal areas in Eastern India
We don’t take grants, donations in any form, its self-sustaining because its tribal philosophy that you don’t take help from anyone
Tribal women are our shareholders. We give them seed money and they also contribute and we share profit with them
Social entrepreneurship is doing good work but there is a problem of funding
We are also planning to train 30,000 tribal women by 2025, provide them all kinds of skills
Here’s the full Hangout: