As of week 3, we have now covered every mode of transportation- auto-rickshaws, trains, buses, and taxis, oh my! This is exciting because it means that we’ve begun to go out in the field to carry out projects. Last week consisted of setting details about our projects and putting together a schedule for the interviews and photo sessions at various Anudip training centers in the coming weeks. We also made plans with Anudip’s Entrepreneur Development Program department for Phil to take videos and for me to do photograph sessions of M.A.S.T.-trained Anudip graduates who are successfully employed at outside companies, as well as entrepreneurs that have set up their businesses with the help of Anudip’s DREAM program. These videos are to be used at a big event called Training of Trainers (T.O.T.) taking place this weekend July 5 and 6. Here, Anudip and iMerit will be sharing skills and methodology with people who will become trainers at Anudip’s current and upcoming centers, as the growth is happening at such a fast pace. Monday and Tuesday of this week was focused on this T.O.T. project.
Monday, two Anudip employees from the Entrepreneur Development Department, Raju and Atanu, took Phil and I to iMerit, IKF, and Indian Info Line to interview former Anudip students about their jobs and how Anudip M.A.S.T. training has been a catalyst for change in their livelihoods.
Anudip guarantees two interviews with outside companies as a part of its training course, and these employees are results of those successful interviews. These individuals are proving their workplace readiness in fast-paced and cutting edge BPO business settings. The fourth stop of the day was a return to Metiabruz, a community we feel connected to after just one previous visit. Here, we interviewed, filmed, and photographed two outstanding young women, Sabiha and Rehanna, about their lives pre- and post-iMerit for the T.O.T. This shorter visit left me enthused to return to Metiabruz Wednesday and Thursday for further relationship-building, conversations, and photograph sessions.
On Tuesday, an Anudip employee named Arnab accompanied us on our first Indian train adventure to a region called Basirhat, two hours away. As crammed and uncomfortable as the train was, the lush green fields, forests, and lakes that streamed past us out the windows were stunning. Basirhat was our first region outside of the city of Kolkata, and was quite rural. The day entailed visiting two entrepreneurs, Amit and Faruk, who were able to start their businesses because of Anudip’s Entrepreneur Development Program (EDP). Amit’s social enterprise is called World Enterprises. It is a garage-like storefront with a simple desk and one computer, which provides printing services, mobile upload services, photo printing, Internet access, and job consulting. All of this is done by one man with one computer. In this rural setting, his enterprise is addressing an important need for Internet access and these other services.
These visits in week 3 showed us a new side of Anudip’s programs and the rural settingsgave us a new perspective on the populations that Anudip reaches. Seeing the entrepreneurs in action makes me hopeful about Anudip’s Developing Rural Entrepreneurs through Adoption and Mentoring (DREAM) program for women that is in the works. In our three and a half weeks here, I’ve been impressed by the big dreams that people have conceptualized, and it’s clear that they are fully capable if they only have access to support. Through this new program, women entrepreneurs will be able to realize their business dreams and flourish in their very own enterprises.