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ALEEYAH: A 17-year old girl’s STEP to transform rural life of Bengal

The Delhi-based initiative has successfully completed two cycles of bringing crafts for sale and is set for Round 3 in the summer of 2016.

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Rural Children. Image Source: Aleeyah

Delhi: Starting from a STEP Youth Leadership Program by TERI University to creating a social initiative and then transforming it into a ‘Social Entrepreneurship’; the student run and organised enterprise ALEEYAH has come a long way. In an exclusive interview with NewsGram by Divyia at Delhi, the 17-year-old founder, Diya Kundu shares her idea about the initiative that transformed so many lives.

Aleeyah was launched last year in May 2015 in an attempt to improve the conditions of the Golabari Village in Changmari district of West Bengal. As they say, ‘Charity begins at home’, Diya decided to start the initiative from her hometown itself.

Divya Kundu. Image source: ALEEYAH
Divya Kundu. Image source: ALEEYAH

As a part of the initiative, severely underpaid artisans and craftsman in the rural Bengal are offered a month-long job terms where they create handicrafts using natural raw materials. The handicrafts are then brought to Delhi, where they are polished and then sold at a good price. The proceedings are then reinvested in the village, with 25% going towards the artisans and the remaining 75% are used for overall village welfare.

Since its inception, among many of Aleeyah’s achievements- it has provided light bulbs for homes, repaired leaks on the roofs of various houses, supplied raincoats for farm labourers, given each household a safety-kit and identified and deployed volunteers to provide adolescents with knitting and weaving skills.

Handicraft items made by the rural people of West Bengal. Image source: Aleeyah
Handicraft items made by the rural people of West Bengal. Image source: Aleeyah

The response from the village has been positive, describes Kundu. “There was a time in the beginning when I wasn’t really taken very seriously because I’m really small and everything I understand but then when I got these really small ideas that worked well for them so when I got a camera and started recording everything then they got really excited,” she says.

Apart from Kundu, the enterprise includes two other project heads, along with an Arts division to add finishing touches to the handicrafts and a Social Media division that looks after marketing and brand promotion. Currently, all the participants are students of Delhi Public School Vasant Kunj guided by their French teacher Ms Adita Saxena.

rural people with handmade items. Image source: Aleeyah
Rural people with handmade items. Image source: Aleeyah

The school plays a prominent role in the functioning of Aleeyah as the Arts division completes their work within the school and a considerable amount of the sales are also conducted through fairs in the school premises. Sales also take place in the form of small handicraft fairs in the nearby localities.

Kundu says, the most unexpected aspect of managing an entrepreneurship comes from a young student of Commerce stream from DPS Vasant Kunj and the fact that how important communication is for the smooth functioning of an enterprise.

The Delhi-based initiative has successfully completed two cycles of bringing crafts for sale and is set for Round 3 in the summer of 2016.

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  • Pritam Go Green

    We nee more and more transformations in our society like these. Not only in West Bengal, in other poorer states also like Bihar, Orissa etc

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The Growing Of New-Age Baniya, Courtesy Digitally-Savvy Millennials (Tech Trend-Part I)

All of them have certain inherent skills in common: unwavering grip over "Hisaab-Kitab" (accounts) and a clear understanding of their "evolved" customers

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Certain habits can make you achieve success. Pixabay

Born with business in their DNA, baniyas have written several success stories when it comes to traditional, brick-and-mortar industry. With the spurt in digital economy, the clan – be it a Bansal, a Goyal, a Gupta or an Agarwal – has now adapted to newer business models with ease, especially in the burgeoning digital space.

Online food delivery platform Zomato has a masterchef in Deepinder Goyal; Ola is riding on Bhavish Aggarwal; Sachin Bansal helped Flipkart deliver millions of packages; 24-year-old Ritesh Agarwal checked into the budget hotel chain OYO Rooms and Peyush Bansal, founder of Lenskart, has firmly set his eyes on becoming the leader in the eyewear segment.

Zomato has grown into a unicorn valued at $2.3 billion and recently raised $600 million in funding. Ola, India’s local rival to Uber and now present in over 125 cities, has seen its valuation jump to nearly $6 billion.

Zomato
Zomato has grown into a unicorn valued at $2.3 billion and recently raised $600 million in funding. Ola, India’s local rival to Uber and now present in over 125 cities, has seen its valuation jump to nearly $6 billion.

After selling his stake in Flipkart for nearly $1 billion following his ouster from the online retailer, Bansal has invested $100 million in Bhavish-owned Ola and is expected to invest more.

All of them have certain inherent skills in common: unwavering grip over “Hisaab-Kitab” (accounts) and a clear understanding of their “evolved” customers — most of whom are millennials and are spending most of their time on smartphones and Internet — from ordering pizzas to calling cabs, booking flights to shopping anywhere, anytime.

Baniyas, an occupational community of merchants, bankers, money-lenders, dealers in grains or spices, who have set up commercial enterprises, have fast reinvented themselves for the changing needs of over 400 million millennials which make up for 46 per cent of the country’s workforce, according to a latest Morgan Stanley report.

business
The rise of New-Age baniya, courtesy digitally-savvy millennials (Tech Trend-Part I),Pixabay.

“The Gen-Y of traditional business families have moved onto the e-commerce bandwagon and are successful due to their exposure to developed economies, newer business models and better education,” says Thomas George, Senior Vice President and Head-CyberMedia Research & Services Ltd. (CMR).

With over 400 million smartphone users and more than 500 million broadband users (nearly 97 per cent of them are on wireless connections), the baniya brigade has sensed their biggest-ever opportunity in the e-commerce and online space.

Zomato currently delivers 22 million monthly orders. The company has acquired a desi startup TechEagle Innovations for drone-based food delivery.

Also Read: Sony Pictures Brings ‘Escape Room’ Experience

According to Deepinder Goyal, Zomato is currently at the early stage of aerial innovations and are taking baby steps towards building a tomorrow wherein users can expect a drone to deliver the food they ordered online.

“We believe that robots powering the last-mile delivery is an inevitable part of the future and hence is going to be a significant area of investment for us,” he said, reflecting a clear baniya trait, to sense what the new-age customers want.

According to George, the baniya community is now fueled by evolving customer preferences centred around convenience. “Needless to say, the sunshine sectors have offered wider scope and better growth opportunities for them,” George told IANS. (IANS)