How 2 Mechanical Engineers from BIT Mesra are changing the face of Rural India

BY SETTING UP "DRISTI", THIS DUO IS IMPLANTING RURAL INDIA WITH EDUCATION, TECHNOLOGY & AWARENESS

Vikas Pandey and Shubhanshu Shekhar Shukla Established Dristi in the Year 2013 to develop life skills, leadership and give volunteers a sense of social responsibility since an early age so that they can contribute towards nation building in their professional career. The focus of Directing Rural India towards Social and Technological Integration (DRISTI) is not just confined to providing education, but it’s more than that! They firmly believe that poverty can never be entirely eliminated without education.

By: Harshima Sharma

DRISTI is the brainchild of Vikas and Shubhanshu, both mechanical engineers - who realized that they needed to gather young college students to make this change. It takes a lot of courage and hard work to enlighten the people of backward society with the spark of knowledge and awareness and the duo have left no stone unturned to make this possible.

It all started when, Vikas Pandey during his vacation visit to his paternal village in UP, couldn't charge his gadget due to no electricity for prolonged hours. At this point of time, an idea struck his mind, being a pass out from BIT Mesra Ranchi he got reminded of Khalsa Dhaba near the college and how they installed screens in the ground during match and students, as well as people from the vicinity used to gather there.

During 2013, he decided to do the same in his village and gathered a team at his college. A team of like-minded students from BIT Mesra who installed a big flex screen and with the use of projector and speakers they featured a video to create knowledge on education, technology and gender equality. Vikas spearheaded to take this awareness to the needy and coincidentally came across Shubhanshu Shekhar Shukla, his junior from the same college he studied and together they made DRISTI what it is today! A bigger and better platform that paves the way of success for rural India!

They first started with work across various villages, focusing on states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. Presently they stretched functioning at Mesra, Lalpur, Deoghar, Raipur and Delhi Chapters. Working erratically for 7 years now, DRISTI has firmly impacted many villages. This is the result of how people have naturally benefited from its initiative and developed trust upon them to have guided them towards social development.

As its name suggest, this NGO integrates technology with rural society. To make this interesting Vikas and Shubhanshu opted for part-time social working model where the volunteers are college students who spare few hours a week and try to make use of their knowledge and help the underprivileged residing in the nearby areas.

"Well we all know that we are going to die one day and we won’t be taking anything along. What we earned will anyhow be inherited by someone but what we learned will go into the grave with us unless we pass on our knowledge during our lifetime. Yet how often do we think about SHARING our knowledge, which might feel insignificant to us, with someone for whom it matters a lot?” sums up Shubhanshu Shukla when questioned about what he feels about mission of DRISTI.

DRISTI has touched more than 150 families at all locations, in which women have been trained with discussions about periods, bad touch & good touch, 5 students qualified for exams and 17 people were reported into drug addiction – our continuous talks, motivation and counselling have helped them to exit this addiction.

“While the initiative proves to be a boon for the rural areas, if we try looking at this from a different perspective, it results in a very strong cultural & emotional bonding between the educated Indian youth and the society. College time is the opportune times when we can make the youth understand that their country needs them and thus minimize the brain drain which has already done a lot of damage to the country. This is where we believe DRISTI is playing a significant role. Not only has it motivated hundreds of students to work for the upliftment of the nearby rural areas, but it has also inspired many NRIs to play their part in the development of rural India,” opines Shubhanshu Shukla.

For the substantial growth of rural India, the team has conducted surveys in various villages to know about the financial status, educational background of the needy. The volunteers then make a plan to coach them through vocational training and conductive sessions - all this to build confidence and make them ready to work. They have also provided counselling to those who have attained vocational degree, engineers and are not aware about where to streamline their talents.

Free computer classes are provided for technological awareness and self-sustenance; team DRISTI has also organized awareness campaigns for women about menstrual hygiene, personality grooming and vocational courses for their financial independence.

The organization has a system where a young dreamer sparks new dreams and those dreams are given the opportunity to materialize. Because we humans illuminate right from the moment the spark ignites in us and the warmth gets shared at a time when the fire inside you is in its full vigour. The young team of volunteers have made this change from grassroots level and each underprivileged section of society is given importance and guidance.

Social integration is another mission they are striving for - to prove new opportunities for one and all! To stop gender division because they want to create society with equal opportunities. And lastly technological empowerment is another major goal, because over all prosperity can only be achieved through self-reliance and that stems from technology.

 

In the forthcoming times, Vikas and Shubhanshu plan to establish the incubation cells within which all residential college campuses will be committed and responsible for specific locations on the campus. Like a dhaba in college, where they can have evening classes, online courses and a lot of things. Volunteers, as well as teachers, can also go there and help them.

There are people who want to attain something and some who want to share their knowledge upto their full capability. Both will be boosted from this.

Important : If you are making an impact in the world, Please send us your story at : manoj@sociostory.in and we will try to cover you.