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Udhyam, Udhyamis & Udhyamism


Back in November 2016, when I met Mekin - Udhyam was an idea. And, it was his idea. There was this sort of a heart warming appeal to what Mekin wanted to do with young people. His unquestionable belief in people was incredibly attractive. For those meeting him for the first time, that veil between who he is and what Udhyam is  - still remains very thin.


I did not understand literally any of it back then. But ever since that time, Udhyam has had a snowball effect with all those it touched. Our learners, partners, volunteers, friends, evangelists and most importantly, the team. 


On a happy morning in early August, we sat in a circle and thought about what we wanted to achieve by the end of the year. Top three goals at that time were :

▪ We wanted Udhyam Shiksha program to reach a 1000 young people by June 2018. 

▪ We wanted to focus young people with least or no opportunities (Decisions had to be made keeping mind - Urban vs Rural, Govt schools vs private schools vs out of school youth etc)

▪ We wanted to experiment different formats of program design and ways of helping young people learn  

We wanted to be the sort of people that were truly empathetic, inclusive and kind. We also wanted to be ambitious and accountable. 


Once we knew these, we all went mental chasing these goals.


Part one: What we didn’t realise at that time was that we spoke more about what we wanted to be than the program. Mekin would constantly talk about experimentation and scale, question us, push us to think beyond. In turn, we did that to those we met. We spoke of an intent of impact, a possibility of success and life changing effect that the program could have for the learners they connected us to. But every now and then, we also rebelled. We questioned our own intent, approach, methods and efforts towards the goals we were trying to achieve. All of which led us to our learners - the ones we call Udhyamis. The effort it took to look at each young person with an unconditional belief in their potential for greatness brought us incredible joy and excitement. 


Udhyamis are those who have a budding entrepreneurial mindset. Udhyamis are confident and gritty, are not scared of trying new things and are open to share and learn from failures - all of which comes from a deep sense of self awareness. That’s how we define them. The Udhyamis that we have been working with, come with adversities that we don’t yet fully understand. They make choices that we cannot fully comprehend. But hey - full marks to us for trying. 


Part two: We internalised a lot of our strengths. We grew in team size. We discovered what we are good at and reached out for help for those that we are not. We reached out for help for design, for understanding, for leads - and also for office space. This entire process of reaching out to our learners brought out the Udhyamis in us. Belief made us confident, failing made us gritty and willingness to fail made us open to experiment. 


Amongst the 2000 young people that Udyham has touched in the last year (Over 500 students have experienced a full Udhyam Shiksha program and over 1500 have gone through a one day orientation), so many of them have experienced a sense of Udhyamism. And that, we hope will lead them to action their potential and help them make meaningful choices in their lives. 


Looking back, our top actions as an organisation have been, 

▪ Thought processes & action plans that are highly learner centric 

▪ Strong sense of continuous improvement 

▪ High ownership of not just intent, but of impact that can be seen and measured 


And today, I am happy to say, the purpose of Udhyam, the intent of helping young people become Udhyamis and the idea of Udhyamism doesn’t belong only to Mekin Maheshwari anymore. And there, Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we did well. 

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