Inspire, Innovate, Engage: Yuva Summit 2016

Stall inauguration by Mr. Ravindranath Gumaste
The 6th Yuva Summit, an international youth conference on leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship hosted by the Leaders Accelerating Development program, began in Hubballi on 6th February with Mr. Ravindranath Gumaste, Managing Director of Kirloskar Ferrous Industries Ltd., cutting the ceremonial ribbon that let the hundreds of attendees, including students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and honoured guests, into the event grounds.

LEAD Talks: Student Yuvaraj Patil shares his story
The first session of the day was LEAD Talks, an opportunity for seven stand­out young people from the about LEAD program to share their stories on stage in front of full auditorium of 500+. Hailing from across India, these young leaders inspired the audience of not only their peers, but their elders too. Featured leaders were Chetan Upadhya (SDM College of Ayurveda), Supriya Runwal (A.S. Patil College of Commerce), Yuvaraj Patil (COLLEGE), Manjunath Gogi (KLEIT), Naveenkumar H P (BVBCET), Chanukya LAST NAME (MVGR College of Engineering), and Alysha Tharani (Founder of RAW Dreams).

Yuva Summit is always full of surprises, and this year was no different. Mr. Shekhar Gupta, the leading columnist associated with The Indian Express, conducted a short surprise session for the Yuva Summit audience. Already in their seats from LEAD Talks, the audience was thrilled for the opportunity to interact with this journalism legend. Mr. Gupta answered audience questions and brought lots of laughs with his explanation of how history should no longer be broken up into B.C. and A.D., but B.G. (before Google) and A.G. (after Google).

Prodea Systems Co­Founder and Chairwoman Ms. Anousheh Ansari then graced the Yuva Summit stage. But beyond just an entrepreneur, Ansari was the first private female space traveller when she spent 11
days in space in 2006. Ms. Ansari captured the audience with her passion for space and her determination to make her dreams come true. She told the audience, “things are changing so fast that it really allows us to make a difference”, words that couldn’t echo better than to this group of young aspiring changemakers. A video that Ms. Ansari made about her time in space mesmerized the audience, and no doubt made a few more space travel hopefuls within the BVBCET auditorium.
The legendary Mr. Narayana Murthy addressing the crowd
Faculty Panel at Yuva Summit 2016

The next speaker was introduced by LEAD functional head Ajay Suman Shukla, though “needs no introduction”. Mr. Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus of Infosys, earned a standing ovation before even speaking and conducted a question and answer session with the eager audience. “It’s only entrepreneurs that can turn their ideas into jobs for others” was only one among a myriad of quotable moments with the business and IT legend.

The Faculty Panel session began shortly after a long­deserved lunch break, and featured esteemed faculty members from across the country. Dr. H C Chaudhary (Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi), Dr. Sudil Jain (IIT Gandhinagar), and Dr. Suchil Vachani (IIM Bengaluru) were the esteemed faculty guests of the panel, and also featured stand­out LEAD faculty co­ordinators Prof. Harshit Kulkarni (KLS Gogte Institute of Technology) and Dr. Jayashri Nagaralli (A.A. Patil Woen’s College Chikodi). The panel primarily discussed the ways in which colleges can help support leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation training, but moderator Raj Melville (Director of Deshpande Foundation) summed it up well: “provide the scaffolding, but let the students build themselves”.

Immediately after the Faculty Panel, representatives from IIM Bangalore offered a session about MOOC’s (massive open online courses), demonstrating the potential of online learning. Students were encouraged to take advantage of the high quality and free education from around the world that MOOC’s offer, and faculty were encouraged to put this content to use in their classrooms. “Your learning lies in your control at your time”, an IIMBx representative told the audience.
Deshpande Foundation co-founder Jaishree Deshpande
Throughout the day at Yuva Summit, 60+ of the top LEAD projects of the year (chosen from over 2,400 total) were exhibited on the event grounds. Proud LEADers talked to their peers, entrepreneurs, and faculty about the positive impact they were making in their communities, and in the afternoon, the showcase was visited by Ms. Anousheh Ansari, Mr. Narayana Murthy, Mr. Gururaj Deshpande (Co­Founder of Deshpande Foundation) and Mr. Naveen Jha (CEO of Deshpande Foundation). Undoubtedly thrilling for the students exhibiting to have a chance to share their projects with such changemakers.
Youth for Change Rally gets on the way

The Youth for Change rally then began, with the hundreds of Yuva Summit attendees spreading their energy and positive spirit to the streets of Hubballi as they walked to the Gateway Hotel Lakeside, led by LEAD functional head Ajay Suman Shukla and co­founder of the Deshpande Foundation Mrs. Jaishree Deshpande.
One of the Best LEADer award winners Supriya Runwal
receives her award from Ms. Anousheh Ansari, the first
private female astronaut and CEo/Chairwoman of
Prodea Systems

Now, after a day of learning, the celebrations began. With a backdrop of the lake, 10 LEAD students were awarded Best LEADer awards by the night’s legends: Ms. Anousheh Ansari, Ms. Malathi Holla, Mr. Narayana Murthy, Prof. Muhummad Yunus, Mr. Shekhar Gupta, and Mr. Gururaj Deshpande. In front of a crowd of more than 4,500 students, faculty, entrepreneurs, leaders of their fields, and special guests, these student leaders were brought to stage to have their projects and positive impacts celebrated.

Yuva Summit was anchored by An Evening with Legends, where the six legends on stage shared their knowledge, passion, and inspiration for making a difference. This is what so many of the attendees came for, to bask in the presence of these six game changers and change makers, and it did not disappoint. The legends not only shared their own stories, but with moderation by Mr. Gururaj Deshpande, answered more in depth questions about the impacts they have made and how they did it. With that, the 6th Yuva Summit concluded under Hubballi’s night sky. 

LEAD Prayana 2016: A Quick Recap!

From January 24th to February 7th, a total of 132 students from 5 states went on a leadership journey across Karnataka and Telangana. 2400 kilometers in three buses and visiting twelve cities in total, this journey helped the students unleash their leadership potential through site visits, role model sessions, community activities, and all the challenges and fun times along the way.

This year, LEAD Prayana has two start points: Belagavi, Karnataka and Nizamabad, Telangana. After several days as separate journeys, the two groups met in Bengaluru to complete the journey together and help the students build networks across the country.

Some of the highlights of the journey were the two ­night stay at Agastya Foundation in Kuppam, an interactive and highly entertaining session with IAS officer Mr. P. Mannivannan at Bengaluru, a visit to the vast Infosys campus in Mysuru, and the cornerstone event, 6th Yuva Summit in Hubballi, featuring Ms. Anousheh Ansari, Mr, Narayana Murthy, Ms. Malathi Holla, Mr. Shekhar Gupta, and Prof. Muhammad Yunus.

Overall, the journey was a huge success. The role models were inspiring, friends were made, communities were impacted, and any challenges were overcome. Check out a few of our favourite moments from the journey below, and look out for more detailed descriptions of what the 2016 Prayanees got up to in the coming weeks!
Sunrise reflection session at VTU Chikkaballapur

Walking through the forest in Mandya
Exploring the Discover Centre at Agastya Foundation
"Say LEAD!"
Interacting with the director of Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya

Selfies at Malpe Beach
Spontaneous dance party during Folk India performance

Lowering Diabetes with a Plant with LEADers Vinay and Shubham

In India many patients are suffering from diabetes, and every year 10% of diabetes patients in each state are losing their life. The conditions are even worse in that most of the patients can’t afford medicines for cure of this disease. In case of diabetes, the body lost its repairing and healing capacity which is a major threat in this disease. It can be genetic also if proper care has not been maintained.  

Observing the worst condition of medical facilities for such a threatening disease, LEADer Shubham with LEADer Vinay Chandra from Varanasi, students of Banaras Hindu University, have taken an incredible initiative for the betterment of patients who are suffering from diabetes. Their interest in medical field inspires them to do for the sake of the patients. They started researching from different resources to look for how they can provide medicines at a low cost and make easily available.

Their continuous effort and research came with an incredible reward as they came to know that a herbal plant “stevia rebaudiana” which can act as a non-caloric natural sweetener... like a blessing from nature for sweetness-loving human beings. These steviosides have a negligible effect on blood glucose, which makes stevia attractive to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.  

LEADers Shubham and Vinay have shown their active leadership by starting in search of this plant species. They visited many botanical gardens and nurseries and finally they got 50 pieces of this plant species and found a village particularly for this project. There in village they encourage,  explain and motivate farmers as well as local people about merits and applications of that plant. Villagers and local people have appreciated this project and supported these leaders in planting of stevia plants and have started crops. They have also planted 60 sets of antioxidant herbal plants (tulsi, neem, lemon, ginger, and garlic) and some flowers-based plants so that it also help farmers to generate income in the off seasons. 

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”  

Albert Einstein

College Health Camp by LEADer Saurabh Singh

LEADer Saurabh Singh from Magadh University in Varanasi is an active, commendable leader. By his projects he proved that an effort can be successful by internal strengths of human being.  He organized a health camp in a secondary school “Pragya Vidya Vihar” in Lakhisarai, Bihar. In this 2-day health camp more than 800 students participated, with Saurabh working with school authorities and CMO to help the event be a great success. 

A free medical health check-up was organized in the camp in which doctors observed students for personal hygiene, malnutrition, blood pressure and eye checkup. Doctors also guided them in maintaining a proper balance diet. Students were happy to be the part of that health camp; CMO with School authorities had issue a “Health Card” to all participated students and announced that those students will get free health checkup the next year also. 

Leader Saurabh has analyzed that in our country, where hospital facilities are very poor, this type of initiative and effort is crucial. School authorities have proved that such health camps are basic necessities now a day. He gained leadership skills through organizing this health camp and he proved that for event planning, team building is necessary. He had raised funds of Rs. 3600/- to organize this event, but observing the efforts of Saurabh, the school and CMO authorities supported him not only in funds but in all areas to help the event run smoothly and successfully. 

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver” 

Mahatma Gandhi

SAR Safety with LEADer Rahul S A

Rahul S A, a LEADer from DRM Science College, was concerned about the SAR value in mobile phones.

SAR, or specific absorption rate, is a value that measures the amount of radiation absorbed into the head while using a mobile phone.

Rahul has a lot of knowledge about this topic, and discovered a simple way to reduce SAR values in mobile phones during his research. However, he also knew that many people were oblivious to the health concerns, or didn't even know about SAR.

So, he shared his knowledge with others, teaching people about the issues surrounding SAR values, how to determine the SAR value of their phone, and how to lower the SAR value in old mobile phones by fixing small circuits in the back of their phones.

While Rahul found it difficult to approach and interact with strangers, he learned new skills and persevered through the challenges. In the end, over 1000 individuals were educated about SAR values by Rahul and his team.

Toilets for All by LEADer Soujanya Pattanakudi

LEADer Soujanya, her team, and a villager with two toilets they helped to install
While there was a government scheme to install toilets in rural villages, LEADer Soujanya Pattanakudi from Smt. A. A. Patil Womens College noticed the implementation of scheme was extremely slow, partly because of hesitation and lack of knowledge of the villagers.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, under the Clean India Mission, makes toilets available to villagers who apply for them. First, Soujanya realized she needed to spread awareness of hygienic waste management practices and dispel any superstitions or misinformation about toilets. She held rallies in the villages as well as visiting door-to-door.

Once the villagers were made aware of the hygienic benefits and the government scheme, Soujanya would help them fill in an application. Because of the slow implementation of the scheme, Soujanya also worked to follow up on applications to ensure toilets were installed in a timely fashion.

So far, over 250 toilets have been installed in two villages. Soujanya's goal is 400 toilets, and hopes her work will inspire other LEADers to do similar projects in the villages in their community. 

Banking Information for Farmers by LEAD Chandrika P

LEADer Chandrika P from DRM Science College had heard a lot about the stress of farming, even as serious as to cause some farmers to commit suicide over financial issues due to crop failure, disease, or poor weather. She realized that finances were extremely fickle for farmers, and she wanted to help provide information that would help them through basic money problems.

Chandrika talked to the banks and gathered materials and knowledge to share with the farmers. The banks were not extremely helpful or prepared to help those who were uneducated, but Chandrika found the information she needed and found new ways to present it.

Chandrika approached over 50 farmers, offering information and guidance as to how to use basic bank functions such as applying for loans, using checks, and special programs and accounts designed for farmers. Many of these farmers had little-to-no experience in banking, and were appreciative of learning about certain banking features that would be specifically helpful in their livelihood.

While it was a challenge to bridge the gap between the banking world and the farming world, as well as address the possibility and reality of financial issues with farmers, Chandrika feels good about making a difference in her community.

Safe Waste Management with LEADer Deepika Lokare

It is a reality many villages have: no waste management. Waste spread on the sides of the roads, unhygienic drainage and streams, and litter everywhere. However, LEADer Deepika Lokare from Smt. A. A. Patil Womens College actually did something about it in her village.

First, she obtained approval of her project from local authorities and officials in Hirekodi. Then, work began to digs pots for waste and tipper trucks come to collect through the MNREGA government scheme. Slowly but surely, waste is being diverted out of the streets and drains and into the pots.

Deepika also focused on spreading awareness of hygiene and the importance of waste management among her villagers, convincing them to participate in the clean-up of their village.

Through this project, Deepika has not only gained more knowledge about government schemes are how they work, but has only forged more bonds within her community and gained self-confidence. Her community is very appreciative of her efforts, and she now feels motivated and that nothing is impossible.

Getting MNREGA scheme approval
Talking to the villagers about the project

Mobile Dry Seeder with LEADer Sharad Patil

When asked about what problem his LEAD project aimed to solve, LEADer Sharad Patil from Dr. M.S. Sheshgiri College of Engineering and Technology produced a list of 11 issues that farmers face that his Mobile Dry Seeder addresses.

Real-world testing by a farmer near Chandgad
This relatively simple, yet challenging to design practically and properly according to Sharad, is a portable device which carries 15-20 kg of fertilizer or seeds. This device does the work of 4 labourers at once, but also does it twice as fast as the average human being can sow fertilizer or seeds. While originally the project aimed to simply help farmers to sow seeds more efficiently, the final product also addresses issues including weed growth, seed wastage, and high equipment and maintenance costs.

Obtaining certification from
University of Agricultural Science, Dharwad
In testing, Sharad's Mobile Dry Seeder increased crop yield by 30-40%, reduced labour costs by 75%, reduced seed expenses by 15%, and reduced fertilizer expenses by 25%. It is therefore no surprise Sharad was one of three winners at TALAASH 2015, a LEAD event that aimed to identify students with a desire to turn their technical ideas into a start-up. As his prize, Sharad received Rs. 1,00,000/- in seed funding from Nanopix and start-up incubation support from Deshpande Foundation's Sandbox Startups.

With his TALAASH winnings as well as a small amount of funding from LEAD,  he has managed to produce 18 mobile dry seeders currently being used by farmers, and is in the process of patenting his device so it can be mass produced and available to all farmers.

Creating Scientific Curiousity with LEADer Prajwal M

"Science is all about understanding the workings of Mother Nature. Every second, nature has something new to show. We can learn many facts and figures about science from library or from google. But the real learning of science comes from by doing things practically. Practically means you don’t need a big laboratory! What you need is good observation skills and a curious mind. The rocket fuel of science is curiosity." - Prajwal M

This curiousity about science is the reason why LEADer Prajwal M's, from NIE First Grade College, Mysore, created his project Vigyan Santhe, a bi-lingual (Kannada/English) science website and app for school children. He wanted to show science in a new and fun way. "Vigyan" means science and "Santhe" is the Kannada word for the weekly fair, and Prajwal wanted the same excitement and curiousity about science as there is about the santhe. 

Vigyan Santhe website
The website is "by the students, for the students, to the students", and also includes a "Student Santhe" section where students can submit their own content. This encourages participation and is an exciting moment for any student to be featured online.

For Prajwal, it wasn't just important for the Vigyan Santhe to teach science. The website also helps to teach computer and internet skills to children, as they learn to navigate and use the website and app. The website is also used as an English teaching tool, whereby students are involved in translating content between Kannada and English. In fact, Hebbal Government School students are actively and regularly involved in translating the English website pages into their native Kannada.

Vigyan Santhe app
So far, the Vigyan Santhe website has over 30,000 visitors and averages 150 visits a day. Three workshops reaching over 200 students in the Mysore region have been conducted to introduce the students to Vigyan Santhe and encourage students and teachers to continue using the website and app.

For Prajwal, his Vigyan Santhe project has helped him both learn HTML coding and improve his English writing skills. He has also realized that simple science can often impact students easier than big and complicated science.

In the future, Prajwal hopes to makes Vigyan Santhe accessible to students with different needs, including the differently-abled, and create an audio library of their articles so that students who struggle to read or are blind can listen to the articles. He also plans to create a mobile library of science-related books as well as science toy printables which students can download on the website, print, and then build like origami.