“Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results.”
Samaarambh Foundation- Bringing Development and Change In Rural India Through Bike Rides. This is precisely what happened with a group of bikers who came together as a team, to bring about development and change in rural India.
Biking has become a huge passion with millennials, people of all age groups and genders, to form groups or go solo, and ride to unknown exotic locations for days and weeks. At times, it may be just a day trip but at least people have started living their lives and fulfilling their dreams.
One such passionate biker was Mayank Khantwal, who waited eagerly for his next sojourn, riding across mountain roads, off-roading, or crossing the highest motorable passes through mountain highlands.
Ideas to work on social initiatives keep coming up in groups, but always, one hard-core passionate leader is required to put these ideas into motion.
Mayank got together a group who would often ride together. In 2015, During a biking trip to Sach Pass, Himachal Pradesh, they saw and interacted with several beautiful and innocent children having almost nothing and were in dire need of basic resources. As they were residing in such harsh climate locations, it was very difficult for any NGO or donor to help them. This reality shook them deeply and they decided to reach out and support the communities living in remote regions of India.
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When you put the purpose in the forefront and put in hard work, dedication, honesty, and perseverance before self and selfish motives, success is bound to follow.
One doesn’t have to be some superhero to be the flag bearer, but someone with enough integrity and dedication to shoulder the responsibility and bring the team together. This requires the sacrifice of personal time and energy.
Mayank Khantwal, being highly compassionate about this cause, took a step forward and decided to form a Ngo to take this initiative forward.
Mayank was born in a middle-class family in Dehradun. With regular family duties, 2 younger sisters, their mother was a school teacher, and their father a contractor. He finished his education at Kotdwar district Pauri Uttarakhand. Following the expectations of his family, he joined a job in Delhi. Started with the MTNL call centre then entered the Automobile sector. Joined the media sector in 2006. Worked with several reputed media houses-India Today, Dainik Jagran, and Hindustan times. Somewhere in his mind, the seeds to work towards creating awareness were sown. He wanted to reach out to larger populations and raise important issues.
His last stint was with HT as Sr.Manager corporate. After this, Mayank spent more and more time initiating projects during their biking trips and coordinating with local teams. This led to formally registering a Ngo so that they could take up larger projects using bigger funds and impacting more lives.
This was how Samaarambh Foundation was born in 2018.
Samaarambh Foundation is a primary group of passionate urban-bred tough bikers, with a craze to travel and explore real India, but with a purpose to provide support in education, healthcare, and rural development in the grass root areas.
Mayank got together with friends and acquaintances who belong to various corporations, media houses, engineers, doctors, or IT professionals who were passionate about biking yet desired to support less fortunate communities. They proved that, if one genuinely wants to work to support the country’s growth process, you don’t have to leave your responsibilities or career to help people in villages or remote areas. You can continue your regular life, yet during breaks or holidays, you can spend a few days doing something which makes life worthwhile.
Mayank says, “Helping and supporting the needy ones has given the true purpose to their life”.
He got completely involved with managing Samaarambh full-time. He took over as Chairman and steered the way forward.
He quit his job and never looked back. It is a huge risk he took by giving up a career, to focus on his social initiative, yet, due to people like him, there is hope in humanity. His only focus in life was how can they reach out to the neediest to bring change. Initiatives like Samaarambh provide an opportunity for busy city dwellers to contribute at their own pace.
Their frequent traveling to remote yet beautiful locations enabled them to acquire a deep understanding of the social and economic structure of our society.
“Synergy between thoughts and feeling reads the universe like an opened book.”
Mayank and his team were very clear on their road map. Being highly skilled professionals with enough education and experience behind them, they formed strict guidelines to be followed.
To Provide Education & Financial Aid, Technical Assistance & Equipment, Generating Employment, upgrading Medical, Facilities for people living in remote and Zero border areas.
They are a Non-Government, Apolitical, Non-Religious NGO working for the welfare of societies and Communities.
Each year, they scheduled Biking trips and launched projects in the villages they crossed. It was a pre-planned strategized initiative.
Some of the initiatives they launched were –
Education Impact- ShikshaRath
Education is integral to the development of every community and culture, whether urban or rural.
ShikshaRath provides Technical knowledge, and skill development programs to rural Students/children through upgrading School/College Infrastructure, conducting career counselling sessions, and providing basic education materials – Computers-Projectors- Furniture-Uniforms-Bags-Sports Items-Shoes, Stationery, etc.
Regular team visits to the villages over time led them to develop good connections with various Village Panchayats, Aanganbadi schools, Hospitals, Orphanage Homes, and other institutions of remote places to ensure local participation.
Counseling at your doorstep is the future.
Samaarambh flagged off India’s first Career Counselling Centre on wheels. For two months, the Sunstone Career Coach covered 4,000+ km with stops in 22 cities to guide college aspirants in pursuing the right career. Also, a chance to win 100% scholarships and other exciting gifts.
Aarogyam – Medicare support initiative.
Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Ladakh, and the NorthEast States have the most remote and treacherous locations in the country. The healthcare system is entirely dependent on the government and has no basic facilities.
Samaarambh, with the support of its CSR partners, will provide the required Medical equipment and regular visiting doctors to needy Medical centers under the Aarogyam initiative.
Aipen – Cultural support program
Aipen is a rich and colorful traditional art form of Uttarakhand. Samaarambh Foundation will promote local products, and traditional art-&-crafts and through the restoration & beautification of villages promote inbound tourism and create livelihood opportunities. Each house in the village would be painted with the local art form and plant gardens. All villagers would be given assistance to build and manage homestays and sell local products on social platforms.
Plant a Tree project
The volunteers will also inspire tourists/bikers to register for PAT (Plant A Tree) scheme and the homestay owner will share updates. This Initiative will not only increase the green cover but also emotionally attach the tourist to the adopted region.
The folk songs are a reflection of the cultural heritage and lifestyle in the Himalayas.
The influence of migration, western music, and the lure of modern lifestyle, creates a diversion from our ancient folk music and art forms. The objective of Initiative Jhankaar is to save our folk music and cultural heritage by supporting folk artists by providing musical instruments to them and a platform to perform and earn.
SamUnnati is a sustainable development program.
Samaarambh Foundation focuses on improving the quality of life in rural areas; covering economic, cultural, political, and social components along with conserving natural diversity, such as agriculture and
Forests, by taking initiatives and measures to enhance financial well-being.
Samaarambh team created some landmark experiences for people they connected with on route.
▪ Supported Families of Indian Army Martyrs by offering free CA courses (Approximately 3.25 lakh for each Student).
▪ They were Invited to join the opening ceremony of Siachen Base Camp on World Tourism Day by Ladakh M.P. Honorable Jamyang Tsering.
▪ They have Completed 36 Projects across Uttarakhand, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, , Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, U.P. and Delhi, Ladakh, J&K, Assam, Sikkim, Manipur, West Bengal, Delhi, and Nepal.
▪ Since they worked on connecting directly with the villagers, 7500 villagers benefitted from all their initiatives.
▪ The education initiatives impacted more than 10,000 students.
▪ 12 government schools were supported through Samaarambh programs.
▪ The women’s empowerment program enrolled over 180 women who started becoming financially independent.
▪ More than 70 houses were renovated with their support.
▪ Medical camps were conducted on regular basis and 7 govt hospitals were given the required support.
▪ They realized that remote villages did not have direct contact with other villages and having a well-regulated, digitized post office was a priority. They worked on this initiative and made life easier for many.
▪ On each trip, they went on, they arranged to collect items that they can donate during their travels. Stationery, clothes, woolens, medicines, etc. So approximately 3 tonnes of material were donated over a few years.
▪ Employment opportunities for youth were propagated. Due to limited earning opportunities, the younger generation is moving to metro cities. This migration causes an imbalance in the ecosystem, as resources are depleting in cities and villages turning barren
Their aim was to formulate social solutions to resolve various issues affecting our country’s education, health system, and Self -Employment.
Mayank Khantwal and his Samarrambh team have proved that a group can bring a huge change if you just put your mind to it. Anything is possible if there is true dedication and passion.
Mayank’s advice- “Always be ready to take risks as the biggest risk of life is not taking one. If we don’t play any game thinking about losing, how can we win?”
Contact – 9999419333
Website – https://samaarambh.org
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