A fellowship for urban educated youth to spend a summer working with change-makers and social entrepreneurs


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IN India

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About the project Edit

Grassroutes is a fellowship for urban educated youth to spend a summer working with change-makers and social entrepreneurs, who are creating sustainable, significant impact in different parts of the country. During their stay, the fellows work on a pre-defined project and in addition, don the role of social journalists – researching, understanding and capturing unheard stories from the grassroots – of people, places, challenges, solutions, hope and above all, the impact that individuals can create.
Using mainstream and non-conventional media channels, the Fellows share these stories to inspire, challenge and creatively engage youth into social action, and serve as ambassadors of change in their respective communities.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Grassroutes is a Fellowship program that encourages youth to go on a road-trip, travelling over a fortnight across rural India to places where organizations are creating significant impact at the grassroots. They meet the people involved, experience firsthand the impact of their work and finally, bring to fore these stories of change through new and social media. The digital content from the grassroots is disseminated in the form of travelogue videos, photos, interviews, photo essays, blogs, stories which originate from the trips. Combined with offline events like presenting the digital content at colleges, conferences; this approach has proven successful in inspiring more youth into participating in social change.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Grassroutes program has three golden objectives:
1. To provide young people with a transformational experience
2. To add incremental value to the organizations
3. To inspire larger community using stories and experiences of Grassroutes fellows
Our vision is a create socially conscious young leaders who are committed to social change. Grassroutes is where the journey begins. It is a sensitizing experience which sets the context for a young person to look within and find answers and perspective on social problem and his role. It is aimed to help young people discover the changemaker within.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Manthan Award South Asia '09 > Award Winners
With most statistical studies showing that India has the youngest population in the world, there is a large pool of unexplored resources for social change projects. Young Indians transition from education to training to vocation without even a small window to explore the country, understanding its problems and helping its poorest. Grassroutes is a brilliant idea that induces the young to be sensitive. It takes them on national study tours where young men and women are allowed to see first hand and interact with organization working on social initiatives. Serious enough to make them think, but fun enough to draw them to it, Grassroutes is the first step in a vital process. This process must eventually take the brightest young people in the country and pose them with its greatest challenges. Given our youth, their talent and their numbers, these challenges won't be harder than a trek in the grass.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Back in college days, on a road-trip to Pushkar, the 3 of us impulsively decided to take the train at the Tilonia station - just because we had read about it somewhere! As we went around exploring the place and spent time with the people there, we were simply awestruck by the way Barefoot College simplified technology that we were learning in our engineering subjects and empowered women through rural entrepreneurship. We were so inspired that when we went back, we put in all our knowledge and energy behind a few community development projects around Pilani and we were surprised at the change that we could bring to people’s lives. We believe that a dose of inspiration combined with the energy of the youth can actually make a few dents in the universe. Grassroutes is just an effort to bring the two together.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

Grassroutes team is combination of diverse and highly opinionated individuals. We work from 7 different locations and 3 different countries. Average age of our team is 23 and we agree to disagree on most issues.

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