By Erika Takeo
After two days of lovely exploring in Bangalore (veg food, salwar kamiz, monsoon, cockroach, autorickshaw, etc), we began our two days of orientation for GSE. We met with representatives and/or visited the following organizations, discussing how each social enterprise functions and also various topics in social entrepreneurship:
- Sattva (more on them later)
- i-volunteer, which connects volunteers and NGOs in India and worldwide. (See pic)
- Center for Social Initiative and Management (CSIM), which does training for people interested in social enterprise
- Ashoka Foundation, which provides resources for social entrepreneurs
- Selco, which provides alternative energy sources at affordable costs in rural areas
- Industree/Mother Earth, which works with Indian producers to sell environmentally/socially sustainable products
Yesterday after lunch we visited Sattva in the Indira Nagar district. This was my favorite part of the entire orientation. Sattva is a social enterprise which does consulting work for social enterprises (any NGO, business, or organization that works for social change). What I think is really cool, though, is that Sattva has an online publication, the Alternative, that targets people who are not yet involved in the social change sector. They want to make social justice topics more accessible to the “layperson” and they want to know how to communicate those messages in an important way. This I believe is truly valuable; social change cannot occur in a bubble. If you want systemic change then you need more than just your social entrepreneurs.
Sattva was also personally inspiring for me because I was able to briefly explain my major at Wooster. My focus in Global Sustainability Studies is to explore the connections between environmental sustainability and social justice. Right away the Sattva workers began listing off NGOs, contact persons, and places I should visit where I could see these two interests being put into action all together. It was personally rewarding to see that there are organizations that understand the interconnectedness of injustices and are working with those complexities to solve problems.
On Monday I start work at Enable India, an organization that helps disabled adults find employment in a number of awesome ways. Please post comments! Peace, ET