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“When the empathy in us dies, humanity dies someplace else”, says Gargi Vairagare, Social Entrepreneur

“When the empathy in us dies, humanity dies someplace else”, says Gargi Vairagare, Social Entrepreneur

How many times have you and I felt bad when we saw injustice taking place in front of our eyes? Now, answer this, how many of us have actually built up the courage to do something about it. Meet Gargi Vairagare, Founder of RISE- Rising Infinitely For Social Empowerment. It takes courage for someone to go ahead with such a dynamic thought, in a society which chooses every opportunity to crush you down. Gargi is currently working on a software startup Georati and also serving as a Treasurer to the Central India Forum for industries, an NGO for industrial welfare.

 

Highlights of the Episode

  • Sometimes all you need is an inspiration, Gargi found hers at a restaurant in Nagpur.
  • There is a weird sense of satisfaction, when one helps someone in need, and that’s the motto of RISE, spreading happiness makes one happier.
  • Success in any form is thrilling and gives a sense of achievement in terms of making a small difference.
  • RISE is not limited to a sphere, rather it aims at complete Social Empowerment.

Quotes and Takeaways

  • This incident made me think meticulously about initiating an organized way to help the need.
  • When the empathy in us dies, humanity dies someplace else.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR AS A SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR. WHAT INCLINED YOU TO WORK UPON SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT?

I was at a restaurant in Bajaj Nagar, Nagpur with a bunch of friends when a girl came to us and begged me to take her home. On asking where she is from she mentioned the name of an orphanage where she has escaped from and told me how she was beaten there (also showed her injuries) and begged me to take her home and that she would do any kind of work but don’t send her back to the orphanage. Unfortunately I could not do much then. And took her to a police station and reported the matter. The cops took the handover thereafter. A few days later I went back to that orphanage to check on her but never found her. This incident made me think meticulously about initiating an organized way to help the needy.

The journey so far has been challenging but interesting.

We came up with a name RISE – Rising Infinitely For Social Empowerment and began our journey by small initiatives at Bal Sadan, Bajaj Nagar Nagpur. The 1st event of RISE made our belief stronger to take this further. But what we realized was our small gesture of helping the kids made us feel so much better about ourselves as individuals. Hence the motto of RISE: Feel Good Factor ~ helping others always makes you good about yourself. There on there was no stopping us, starting with fund raisers, membership drives, adopting various orphanages and oldage homes, we never looked back. Soon, in 2012 RISE extended it’s operations in PUNE and Ahmadnagar. Currently we have strong team of 8 core members including Pratiek Chamat as our secretary and Saurabh Thakre as the Treasurer and 200+ volunteers.

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WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS VERTICALS COVERED BY RISE?

We at  Rise do not have a solo cause, as we realized that society as whole should be empowered, at every level, in all sectors. We have 21 social objectives of Social Empowerment including environment protection, child labor, and many more. So far we have been able to work for Multiple segments  like old age homes, orphanages and slums. By Keeping 21 objectives for social empowerment RISE welcomes everyone from the society to join us to work for a cause which is close to their hearts.  Goal of RISE is not limited to a sphere, rather is working for a complete Social Empowerment.

CAN YOU SHARE A FEW PERSONAL EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD WITH RISE? 

Journey of RISE is full of personal experiences be it teaching the kids on an individual level, sponsoring their education, arranging for vocational training for them, so that they learn to be financially independent and capable of supporting themselves. Every little success is a thrilling one and gives a sense of achievement in terms of making a small difference. Such as recently we sponsored education for a few kids, who are now through with their exams with a decent score and we are now arranging for them to pursue further studies in their chosen fields of interest and the likes.

When you visit old age homes and understand the plight of elderly, it makes you rethink your future and sustainability. It moved us deeply.

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WHAT IS THE VISION FOR THE SOCIAL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE IN TERMS OF SCALE, SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIAL IMPACT?

RISE comprises of all young members and volunteers who are also balancing their studies and jobs along with this work. We want to mobilize and utilize the strength that lies in today youth. We aim at a complete social empowerment in all spheres by further expanding our operations is other cities, nationwide. We are coming up with our helpline number very soon through which we will be easily accessible to anyone from a child to someone in a remote area for any assistance they need.

We have regular fund raisers which makes our model very sustainable though, we are also looking forward to a social funding to materialize our further plans.

PEOPLE CELEBRATE WHEN A CORPORATE MOGUL DITCHES THE BIG BUCKS AND GOES TO WORK FOR A NOT-FOR-PROFIT, BUT HAS THE OPPOSITE OCCURRED TOO?

As I said RISE comprises of majorly young population who are either in college or working somewhere. But as our work is not only volunteering help but also for self development, it never stops you constantly reinvent yourself and find new areas about your persona and build on it. I have never seen anyone just give up this work and go work for corporate. Most of our members are very well balancing both things together.

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WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WHICH YOU SEEK TO ELIMINATE FROM THE SOCIETY WITH YOUR ENTERPRISE?

Ignorance. We are all so busy in our own lives and though all of us come across the bitter atrocities in our daily lives we choose to ignore, reasons being several like people generally do not have the time, resources or are not aware of laws or just don’t want to get directly involved but still have the wish to help.  RISE has developed a concept called as DESIGN A DREAM through which it gives a platform to the masses where instead of ignoring they can reach out to us, tell what they saw and what they would like do for it. It will take that cause up for them.

WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS?

Well I am still amateur to give out a message on entrepreneurship.  But I’d like to tell everyone to help your fellow beings, however small the help be. it will go a long way. When the empathy in us dies, humanity dies someplace else. Be open to people, be open to your surroundings, lend your ear to what is happening in the society, think of ways in which we can make this world a better place to live in.

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