What a way to welcome in the New Year — joining hands with over 600 people on a train journey with a common vision to transform our nation.
Jagriti Yatra is the world's longest entrepreneurial train journey where 500 change makers travel across the length and breadth of India, visiting organisations that are making an impact on society. This is a 15-day journey that takes place every year with the vision of 'Building India through Enterprise'. I first undertook this journey back in 2013 and since then have been part of this mission every year as part of the programming team that designs and executes the Yatra for the participants on and off the train.
This year marked the 10th year of the Yatra, and as such the event had the privilege of being addressed by the President of India at Ram Nath Kovind, at Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
So what is unique about this journey? Every day, we visit a different organisation, in a different state, that focuses on areas such as agriculture, arts, sports and culture, education, health, manufacturing and energy. The participants study the business models, gain a critical perspective about them, and also work on how one can potentially replicate each business model in a different location or in a different focus area altogether. The two AC chair bogies act as interactive classrooms, where groups present their case studies with the support of their mentors who give them feedback.
One of the extremely memorable moments for me this year was the Rashtradhara Swim at Kanyakumari. We first did a test-swim in the Mumbai waters, where we took a ferry from the Gateway of India far enough from the land. While it took me two times of 'I want to climb back onto the boat' and three times of jumping into the water, we all made it back to the shore in one piece. And then the day at Kanyakumari, the final show - we took two ferries, jumped into the water and swam back a kilometer to reach the shore.
At the end of the journey, even though one hadn’t had a chance to speak to everyone on the train, there was a bond we all shared. Groups of 20 people sharing one compartment for a group discussion or impromptu jam sessions with musical instruments sure brought everyone closer.
I'm very glad to be part of the 30 member strong volunteer team and I thank the PwC India Foundation team for letting me have the opportunity to continue to follow my spirit and make a difference.
PwC India Foundation
Tel: + 91 124 4620114