Enactus the acronym for “ Entrepreniual, Action, Us” officially the Social Entrepreneurship society of Ramjas College, Delhi University is not just one of the numerous societies founded inside the University campus for recreation, it is a well defined ideology, a concept that is understood only by a select few but whose contribution to the Indian society is significant if not immense.
Enactus Ramjas consists a group of 40 individuals from across all years and streams who have come together for only one purpose – positively impacting if not completely changing lives through innovative ideas and entrepreneurship. While this would sound extremely clichéd to the majority Indian audience, the people who had the opportunity to interact with them closely, understood the importance of the work they did. At Enactus they closely observe the society around them, the dynamics and the vast potential it has to offer, strategically research and try to develop an insider’s perspective into the needs of different fragments of the society and then capitalise on the identified needs.
Transcreation, the much talked about Project of the Society was launched in November 2012 embodies the community members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. “And the name beautifully describes what our community members do, handmade production of utilities. Why we started off with this project or this community and not some other is a thing which should be clearly understood at this stage. Back in 2012(the scenario we feel has begun to change for the better in 2015, or has it?), there was little opportunity for financial gain or economic advancement for the members of our community. They were looked down upon not only by the very families that had created them, but by the Indian society in general. They lived in an abominable state of affairs, in abject poverty and pitiable conditions. While we were researching on their plight we found out that there was very little legal help extended to them from the Indian Government and therefore lived along constant rejection, marginalisation, and exclusion” said the president of the team while explaining the reason behind targeting this community.
Enactus will work with the members of some identified NGO, develop the existing skills of the target community in specified areas, help them manufacture the “in demand products” as per their skill and interest needs and alongside develop them academically and socially through regular Development Sessions. They train the community members in the art of jewellery production, both paper and metal jewellery. This is done in collaboration with expert designers and producers.
The community members absolutely loved making jewellery and the idea of a stable source of income, gave them hopes of acceptance, a respectable source of income and interaction with the society through a medium that reflected their! This Enactus Ramjus ensured by marketing their produce through collaboration with socially aware stores and cafes in New Delhi. Apart from this, Enactus was also able to sell off a chunk of their produce in college itself as the quality, pricing and social factor enabled products to be extremely hep and sold off as hot cakes.
The year is 2015. The entire business has grown to the new level. The number of members has grown, the number of collaborations have grown, the dynamics within the society have changed, however, one thing hasn’t changed, the mutual feeling of love and symbiosis that both Enactus and our community members feel for each other. The business model has remained almost unchanged. Enactus undertake regular training and community development sessions and inspire them to manufacture in demand products, they help them market their products, a major chunk of which is done by the community as against what was being done initially when Enactus directly marketed their produce, another thing that has changed since 2012.
When asked if they have succeeded in their mission completely, the president answered “An honest introspection would lead to only one answer, NO. We have gained very little help from the Government authorities. Journalism and Technology have been out of reach for our community members. But amidst the various loopholes our community members are now financially more competent and also academically progressive. They now know and understand the importance of financial planning, the elements of financial uncertainty and risk in addition to the routine English, History, Geography etc. What they produce differs as per the demand prevalent in Delhi and the University Campus in general. They started off with metal jewellery diversified to paper jewellery and metal hair bands , had a stint at cushion covers, paper maché show pieces, fairy lights, book marks, fragrant candles, but have now returned to the one activity they love most, JEWELLERY MAKING.
It is interesting to note here that a majority of the jewellery our community members now produce ,have been conceptualised and designed by them independently”. He added ”Most recently, 22 members of our community were taken out for a movie to one of the posh multiplexes of the National Capital, out of which they were earlier thrown out. Yes talk about virtues like progress, liberation, modernisation as much as you want, but deep down all of us are aware of the pretentious, preposterous, hypocritical and pathetic society that we live in. This movie screening did not just make them more confident, but realisation dawned on them that the society won’t look down upon them forever.”
This competition or whatever you are assuming this to be, has aims of serving as a launch pad for innovative ideas, no? Can just a simple idea mould the mindset of the masses? Who is this going to benefit? The already intelligent and the privileged or the talented and the unprivileged? Who says the community members do not possess ideas? This entire project had started off with an idea, no one had even thought as realistic when they had started off with it. Impacting lives with the power of Entrepreneurship? Yes , that is the notion of the idea they possess at Enactus Ramjas. So what if it is not for the profit of ourselves or does not satisfy capitalist urges of our boisterous citizens? It is still an idea that is educating, employing and most importantly, EMPOWERING! Give it a chance if you want to see real change around you.