Heroes Speak 2015 is a series of talks organized by DOCC and this year, the first session was held on 30th September, 2015. Anshu Gupta, who was the speaker for the day is a well-known figure in the field of Social Entrepreneurship, popularly known as the “Clothing Man”. An Ashoka and Schwab Fellow, he is the winner of the 2015 Ramon Magsaysay Award, a popular TEDx speaker and listed by the Forbes magazine as one of India’s most powerful rural entrepreneurs. What came next wasn’t something that we were prepared for: he raised some extremely sensitive, albeit disturbing questions that none of us has ever thought of. From social taboos like menses and how the lack of awareness in rural India was leading to deaths of women to how, by not allowing farmers to set their own prices, we were forcing them to subsidize our food though it should be the other way round.
Mr. Gupta also spoke about his work with GOONJ. “The core challenge of our times is the growing gap between the urban prosperity & rural poverty. The realities of our country are very different from what the textbook states: how can we speak of ‘development’ when 90% of the population is struggling to survive?,” he says. Mr. Anshu Gupta’s work has been game changing: he has taken the menacing growth of urban waste and used it effectively and efficiently as a tool to trigger large scale development work by community involvement on diverse issues like water, environment, education, health etc. in some of the most remote pockets of India.
He ended the talk by focusing on ‘dignifying’ the act of giving. At GOONJ, People earn clothes with dignity rather than getting it as charity. The poor hold onto their ‘dignity” as their only asset and we must respect this at all times. Mr. Gupta’s talk was not only inspiring, it also provoked students to think beyond and assess how problems some of them never knew about could be eliminated.
DOCC also brought on stage another hero, who is an epitome of inspiration especially for the SPJIMR family, to share his experiences. Mr. Jayaram, who works at the SPJIMR canteen, shared his story, with emphasis on his dream of being an entrepreneur. Neither long working hours or tough living conditions could break his determination to learn. Everyday, he is seen near the B29 area, practising English, with the help of some students. Some PGDM students taught him the concepts of CRM a few years back, and to this day, he implements CRM better than anyone in the campus. The passion for learning, and the enthusiasm for his dream was really a heartening moment for all the students!