Sparsh: A social initiative—A MYRAcle’s experiences

Vikasana, the social service club of IIM B, organized Sparsh, an event challenging participants to come up with feasible solutions to globally expand the operations of Samarthanam, a trust for disabled people in India. In 1997, Mahantesh G.K. and two of his friends envisioned an organisation to provide opportunities for the deserving, young, and talented children with disability of any form, or from marginalized economic backgrounds. Thus, more than a decade ago, Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled came into existence by providing free hostel facilities to the deserving students.

Mission of Samarthanam is to empower the visually impaired, disabled and underprivileged people through developmental initiatives, focusing on educational, social, economic, cultural and technological aspects.

In the case we were given, Samarthanam aims to reach out to more than 100,000 people by 2020.They want to expand themselves in other countries in order to raise funds to help the operations in India. We pitched the idea of raising funds by doing service to the disabled people. We picked Canada and Finland as the two target countries because both are developed economy and have very high disability rate. Finland has the disability rate of around 34%, highest in globe and entering into Finland is like a gate-pass to European Union. Canada has one of the highest numbers of NRI and Samarthanam can leverage upon it. Our service approach was like a business case where Samarthanam will train people with disability (PWD) and raise money by charging them marginally higher. Close to 200 teams participated in 1st round out of which top 5 teams were selected. The result of first round gave us the ticket to visit IIM B and stay there for three days. It was like a dream come true and I made sure that we will not leave any stone untouched in winning this competition.

We reached IIM B on 23rd September evening and were just amazed by the beauty of campus. There is totally a different aroma in IIM B campus and getting a chance to stay in this campus was not less than a blessing for me. As per final round plan, top5 team had to visit Samarthanam, the day before the final event and understand the whole case practically. It was really inspiring to see that how the vision of one person had made a change into the life of so many disabled persons. I was just impressed by the statement of director “making liability (disabled person) into taxpayer”. We made some changes in our presentation and then came the D-day. We practised a lot to deliver our presentation efficiently in the given time of 10 minute. We were the first team to present so pulling out all our fear; we presented the case and answered all the questions put across by jury. They were mostly convinced by our answers. We went through the presentation of all the teams and were told to wait outside before announcing the result. For me every second was like hours put together because this was one of the most precious moment of life. After half an hour the Jury announced the result and mentioned that, it was very difficult to pick between 1st and 2nd team. We won 2nd prize and were really happy with the decision. We were on cloud nine and I was living my dream of getting certified from IIM B for an international event.

We took the pictures at the IIM B campus to capture these precious moments. I thanked GOD

for fulfilling my dreams. Staying in IIM B campus for 3 days and winning 2nd prize in one of the flagship event in Vista 2015 are the moments which I will cherish in my whole life.

Manoranjan Kumar
Manoranjan Kumar

PGDM 2014-16