The weekend that went by was one filled with so many levels of happiness and excitement for all of us at KnowYourStar. We were in Manipal to attend the National Conference on Youth in Social Change organised by the Manipal University, where we also set up our first-ever stall at the Manipal Seva Mela! This attendance was all the more special because our co-founders – Jaideep and Pranita are both alumni of Manipal University. So that brought a good amount of nostalgia also to the mix, making the experience all the more cherish-worthy!
Harish Hande Sets The Tone
Day 1 of the conference started off beautifully with Dr. Harish Hande‘s insightful speech setting the right context for the young gathering. He stressed on the importance of the participation of the youth in solving social problems. With the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer, the expanding divide is not good for a country’s progress and reflects poorly on the empathy factor of fellow Indians.
He encouraged students to not let a fat paycheck be the only deciding factor while pursuing your career, but step up and get on the field – identify the problems that exist – and come up with creative and innovative ways to efficiently solve them.
Owning the problems and not passing the buck to the government or blame someone else for a problem that can be solved by us was valuable wisdom. He encouraged volunteerism among students and nudged them to be more aware and active in the sphere of social change.
First-Ever KnowYourStar Stall
We were thrilled to be manning a stall at the Manipal Seva Mela. When we started setting up our products at the stall, we realised we had very many notice boards with pins, and we had no posters to display. Within half an hour, we ran to the stationery stop, got charts, scissors, markers and colors, and within no time, all our hand-made posters were ready and on display. We felt like we pulled off a mini-Volunesia and we were so happy about how our stall looked. Bright, lovely and full of love and cheer!
Once the space was inaugurated, we were thronged by students eager to know more about our work and how they could contribute. We loved the enthusiasm displayed by the youth of Manipal. It was wonderful to see their willingness to volunteer and their eagerness to learn about the work in detail before signing up.
We were well-received by all the visitors of the stall, who were on-board with our idea of Mentor India and expressed interest to use our curriculum in schools by volunteering. They were fascinated with the Passion to Profession tool and some wished they had something like this when they were in high school. Some even wished out loud that they would love to take the test themselves even now, because of lack of clarity of their strengths! We were so thrilled to find such warm responses to our tool!
At the end of day 1, we had repeated ourselves so many times to explain our work at the stall, we lost count. We joked that if somebody woke us up in the middle of the night, we would probably start pitching! But we weren’t complaining; we thoroughly enjoyed the footfall that our stall saw!
Precious 3 Hours With Anshu Gupta
Anshu Gupta, the founder of Goonj, was one of the speakers at the conference. We couldn’t believe our luck when he agreed to spend time with us after the event. We took the opportunity to show him the beautiful little city of Udupi- its temples, its cuisine… ending with a home-cooked leaf-meal dinner, where Jaideep’s parents played lovely hosts. What was hilarious and embarrassing for the team was that we took Anshu Sir on this Udupi Darshan in Jaideep’s car, which Sir himself had to drive, while the rest of us crammed into the remaining seats. So much fun! But we have to admit and admire how down-to-earth this man is!
The gems we collected from our time spent with Anshu Sir, the beautiful insights we received from him about the work that we do, the awesome masterclass that we got a chance to be a part of is something that is now very close to our hearts and we are extremely grateful. We are still thanking our lucky stars for this unbelievable opportunity!!!
Meeting The Lovely MIT Interns
On Day 2, we were back at the stall with renewed energy. Among the many people visiting our stall, we were anticipating some special ones we couldn’t wait to meet. It was our 3 Summer Interns from MIT Manipal, who worked on the Passion to Profession tool as part of their internship, which we launched on Day 1 at our stall. What a beautiful string of coincidences!
It felt great to meet the makers of the tool who shaped our dream to reality by putting their heart and soul into the project. After the 6 weeks of virtual circles during the internship, we decided to hold an impromptu circle to connect in person and just revel at what we have created together.
When the interns reflected on the joy they experienced for having created a tool from scratch that would play a part in shaping the futures of many a young kids, we were just silently grateful for this bond we got a chance to establish. Their intention was clear when they offered to continue to be associated with the product and work on making it better whenever time permits!
After saying goodbye to our new friends, we found ourselves heading towards End Point in Manipal, where Team KYS sat together in yet another circle deeply reflecting on the weekend that went by and gearing up for the enormous amount of work we could see ‘avalanching’ towards us as we headed back to Namma Bengaluru. But who’s complaining when working is so rewarding! 🙂
Enjoyed reading about this? Then you might like to read Meet Our Summer Interns From MIT Manipal!