Recap: LEAD Prayana 2014

Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 by LEAD

From January 7th to January 21st, 114 college students from throughout the country traveled across Karnataka, interacting with reputable way.  As the LEAD Prayana tagline suggests, students became inspired in order to unleash their leadership potential through exposure to individuals and institutions that have innovated and implemented solutions to major challenges.  Through this leadership journey on wheels, the LEAD Program aims to instill in youth the need to bring about change through effective leadership.  

Throughout the 14-day journey, the Prayana students traveled 1,800 kms to interact with 12 role models throughout 9 locations. Each day was packed with excitement, enjoyment and learning to ensure that Prayana students kept their energy high.

Day 1: Belgaum
The 120 students kicked off their journey at VTU in Belgaum.  After the students completed the registration process, they spent the day learning about VTU and its impressive efforts. The day ended with the kick off ceremony, which included Guests of Honor and Dr. H Maheshappa (Vice Chancellor, VTU), Dr. Raj Melville (Executive Director, Deshpande Foundation) and Mr. Naveen Jha (CEO, Deshpande Foundation).  The Guests of Honor addressed the students and wished them luck on their leadership journeys ahead.

Dr. H Maheshappa (Vice Chancellor, VTU)

2014 LEAD Prayana Group
Day 2: Sagar
After a flag off from VTU in the morning, the students made their way to Sagar.  They got to know their travel companions along the way through various bonding activities.  After arriving in Sagar, the group went on an exposure visit to Charaka.  An evening session with Charaka and DESI founder, Prasanna, helped the students learn how they can cope with the mistakes in their lives.  The got a taste of rural lifestyle during their night stay in Heggodu village.

Prayana Flag Off from VTU

Session with Prasanna (Founder, Charaka and Desi)
Manipal University Site Visit

Day 3: Manipal
The students spent the day at Manipal University.  They begin their Manipal experience with an interactive session with Manipal University Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr. Vinod Bhat.  After the session, the students were given the opportunity to tour beautiful and futuristic Manipal campus.

Mr. Sasi Sekar (Founder and CEO, nanoPix)

Day 4: Manipal
Students got to see nanoPix Cashew Sorting Machine first-hand.  While cashew sorting can be a lengthy process because of the need for visual inspection, the nanoPix Cashew Sorting Machine relies on its ImageIn Technology to more quickly and efficiently inspect the cashew nuts.  The students then engaged in a session with nanoPix, Sasi Sekar (Founder and CEO, nanoPix).  He inspired the students with his advice about identifying passion and channeling it to become an entrepreneur. 

The students left Manipal and traveled towards Dharmasthala.  On the way, the students participated in sharing and more bonding activities.

Dharmasthala Site Visit
Day 5: Dharmasthala
The students started their day with an exposure visit to SIRI.  Next, the students performed street skits to create awareness about cleanliness inside and outside the Dharmasthala temple.  Students commented that this activity taught them teamwork and communication skills. The day ended with a role model session with Dr. Veerendra Heggade (Dharmadhikari, Dharmasthala).  Dr. Heggade addressed the students regarding religion.

Dharmasthala Site Visit

Session with Dr. Veerendra Heggade
Day 6: Sullia

An exposure visit to a suspension bridge was beautiful and exhilarating.  A role model session with Mr. Girish Bharadwaj, the bridge builder behind these suspension bridges, helped the students understand the necessity of improving connectivity between rural communities and urban cities.

Session with Mr. B. Girish Bharadwaj

Day 7: Mysore
The students spent the day at Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM). They visited the hospital, radio station, and different schools run by SVYM.  Students enjoyed learning about SVYM, its history, and its success.

Site Visit to SVYM

Day 8: Mysore and Dodballapur
Site Visit to Infosys
Students were given a sneak peek into the future at Infosys.   Students were awe struck by the cleanliness and efficiency that they saw.  After a brief orientation about Infosys and its history, the students were divided into groups and given the challenge to come up with their own company and business plans to be created from a Rs. 50 lakh investment.  The group then made its way to Dodballapur, near Bangalore.  They had dinner and spent the night at the organic farm of Dr. Narayan Reddy (Organic farmer).

Site Visit to Infosys

Session with Dr. Narayan Reddy
Day 9: Dodballapur and Bangalore

The students started their day bright and early with an interactive session with Dr. Narayan Reddy.  He spoke to the students about the importance of living a life full of simplicity and self-satisfaction.  After the session with Dr. Reddy, the students enjoyed exploring his farm.  The group then left the farm and made its way to Bangalore for a session with Mr. Ramji Raghavan (Founder, Agastya International Foundation).

Session with Mr. Ramji Raghavan

Prayanis Enjoying in Kuppam
Day 10 and 11: Kuppam
The students were lucky enough to spend two days enjoying at Agastya International Foundation in Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh. At Agastya, students gained excitement for learning through many hands-on activities. From constructing a model of a dear out of waste products, to trying out hands-on science projects, to exploring the surrounding nature on early morning nature walks, students were constantly engaged in learning and building upon their teamwork and creative abilities.

Community Activities in Kuppam

Day 12: Chitradurga and Hubli
The morning started off with a morning session with Dr. Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, present head of the Math in Chitradurga.  He told the students about his role in the Math and spoke to them about the importance of maintaining concentration and focus in life.  After the session, the students made their way towards Hubli to help with Yuva Summit preparations.

Session with Dr. Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru

Session with Mr. T.V. Mohandas Pai
Day 13: Hubli
Day 13 marked the first day of Yuva Summit, an annual national conference on promoting leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation within youth.  The Prayana students spent the morning visiting the LEAD project displays and attending the LEAD Alumni and LEAD Talk sessions.  In the afternoon they had sessions with Mr. Raju Reddy (Executive Vice President for Global Services, Hitachi Consulting), Mr. Srikanth Bolla (Founder, Aashadeep Pvt Ltd), Mr. Phanindra Sama (Co-founder and CEO,, Dr. Gururaj Deshpande (Chairman, Sparta Group LLC), and  Mr. T.V. Mohandas Pai (Chairman, Manipal Global Education).

Session with Dr. Gururaj Deshpande and Mrs. Jaishree Deshpande

Session with Phanindra Sama

Session with Mr. Srikanth Bolla

 Day 14: Hubli
Community activity in Hubli
The students spent the day engaged in community activities.  They were divided into groups and set out to the streets of Hubli to perform skits to create awareness for social issues.  The students’ skits drew crowds of hundreds of people who came to watch. 

Community activity in Hubli

Day 15: Hubli
The students learned about the social impacted created by NGOs with visits to Akshaya Patra and Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya. The students enjoyed a full kitchen tour, as well as an interactive learning session where they were able to ask in detail about Akshaya Patra’s method, outreach, and successes.Upon their arrival to KSV, the students toured the grounds and observed some of the children during their music and acting classes

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