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Grassroutes was born out of desire of 5 young people’s desire to do something to create positive change. The Founders pursued their graduate studies at BITS-Pilani and were active participants of discussions on society, politics and youth. Most of the discussions ended with two results, us splooshing our test the next day and disillusioned outbursts like system sucks, politicians are corrupt, society doesn’t give a damn!.
We came to point where we had to either make a start on changing the status quo or accepting it. Thanks to heavy doses of Caffeine and Steve Job’s ‘Putting a dent in the universe’ speech we decided to make a start. After working hard on creating a web portal to promote activism (defined as following the cause close to your heart) , we felt something was missing. The start of the initiation of engaging young people into social action wasn’t here. We kept the portal on the back burner and went searching, looking at our own past, tracking our own journey. Ah! There it was.
For sustained action we need powerful experiences. Most social entrepreneurs have powerful experiences which drive them into solving pressing challenges. For us those experiences were our travels around Pilani. The talks we had with women working in Garinda, the Republic Day performance with kids in nearby school, volunteering at GDL, Bagar. There are many small instances that changed our world view and perspectives slowly but surely. They weren’t any penny dropping moments or earth shattering realizations. Looking back the journey started there! ergo Grassroutes.
After getting out of college, instead of a coffee conversation we had to gather on conf-call to kick start the first initiative of Yofa. At Yofa we wanted to engage people like us – urban educated youth into development sector. And Grassroutes was going to be our first step. All of us in corporate jobs decided to pilot the idea, so in a months time we put out an application for Grassroutes Fellowship, registered Yofa, built a website, found partners to place the fellows and took care of all the other requirements. Come Dec 08, we had 3 teams from 10 teams that applied going to three different parts of the country for a period of 10 days.
We still have very fresh memories of the adrenaline rush we felt on Day Zero of the Fellowship. It carried us through thick and thin. Today we have an alumni of over 40 fellows. On our journey we have been awarded Manthan Awards for best e-content practices and the team members and Fellows have represented Grassroutes at many conferences and forums.