YUVA Foundation : Making world a better place

Entrepreneurship and business in not only about profits,top lines and bottom lines there is something more to it and that is what entrepreneurship can do for the betterment of the society that it exists in. Today we are in conversation with Mr. Achal Garg who is a social entrepreneur and is a senior member of the NGO called Young United Voluntary Action (YUVA) Foundation. So lets see how this Uttarakhand based NGO is cheering up the lives of people in the hilly state.

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1. Tell us a little bit about “YUVA FOUNDATION ”.

Achal:Young United Voluntary Action (YUVA) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the bring happiness and prosperity to of people of the hill states through economic, political and social freedom. YUVA Foundation is founded to bring holistic development in the country through youth lead reforms in education, livelihoods and governance.

2.What inspired the creation of “YUVA FOUNDATION”?

Achal:We want to make a difference in the world’ is the standard answer to this question. The difference for us is that we are making a difference in this world, but at enough scale and fast enough to solve the problems we see facing the society. Our mission is to be of meaningful help to every section of the society and being with them in their needs. Our formula for success has been to find the toughest challenge, master it, standardize it, scale it, teach others or transition to others, and then move onto the next challenge.

3.Who are the people you serve and How?

Achal:We serve every person of every section, starting from the hilly areas as we have assessed their needs and the problems they are facing. There is no discrimination in delivering our services and our aim is to reach every human being who is in need of the services which we deliver in the areas of environment, education and employment.

4.What is unique about your foundation ?

Achal:A little change with time gives rise to evolution and that is the unique thing about our organization. Our approach of working on the social issues makes it unique in the social entrepreneurial field. We believe that our approach is helpful to achieve the goals we have for the organization.

5.What social issues does your foundation solve ?

Achal:We are engaging youth in 3E’s- Environment, Employment and Education. The thematic areas in which YUVA Foundation works are:

• Swastha Uttarakhand

YUVA Paathshaala

YUVA Sansads

• Uttarakhand Ek Khoj

6.Who are the founders and key team members ?

Achal:Mr. Shantanu Gupta is the Founder and Director of YUVA Foundation. He worked at a leading policy think tank, Centre for Civil Society (CCS), for policy research and advocacy for education domain. He spearheaded Naandi Foundation’s Maharashtra’s Operation in Education Portfolio. Lead Education and Government Laisioning portfolio of Naandi Foundation in Hyderabad (Urban), Mehaboobnagar (Rural) and Paderu (Tribal) areas of Andhra Pradesh.

7.What relevant domain experience do they have ?

Achal:Mr. Shantanu Gupta worked very closely with the local government to improve the service delivery for education, health, sanitation and women & child welfare programs. He has worked as management and consultant for about 8 years across several countries including India, Switzerland, Cyprus, Hungary, Israel and United Kingdom. He is a post graduate from Institute of Development Studies, Sussex (UK) in Governance and Development and done his research projects on E-governance, Local Governance and Public service delivery with eminent professors and development professionals.

Mr. Achal Garg has keen interest in social issues and working with the organization from last 2 years. He started his journey with the organization as a volunteer. He is delivering his services to the organization as Project Co-ordinator.


VISION OF “Yuva Foundation “

Our vision is to bring happiness among people of the state through economic, political and social freedom lead by youth.

8.What problems are you facing?

Achal:It is obvious that every social entrepreneur have faced problems while working in the field and we also faced the same. As we started our journey from the hilly states at a small scale, we managed to face the problems related to funding, project management and volunteer co-ordination. But our team worked hard to solve the issues and we organized our programs to deliver the best to the society.


9. How can someone be a volunteer in your foundation ?

Achal:Volunteers are the backbone of our organization as they are playing the key-roles in developing and delivering the projects. The team coordinators are also playing an extensive role in providing guidelines and directions to the volunteers. We recruit volunteers for different projects based on the application filed by people who are willing to work with us on social issues. The criteria to volunteer with us is simple, to just have a keen interest in the subject or idea to deliver the best services to the society.

10.What outsiders have been most important to your foundation (eg. Mentors, bankers etc.)

Achal:The mentors are very important for our organization as they are the helping hands in our each and every step. Our collaboration with other young and dynamic organizations helped us to deliver the projects in the best way and create a networking platform for further development.

11.How has been your journey so far as a social entrepreneur?

Achal:Our journey as a social entrepreneur has been very interesting and full of learning. Having the passion, insight and the ability to nail down the problem may be enough. But most social entrepreneurs are usually first-time entrepreneurs and may not have completely assessed their ability to execute on their grand vision. One may have the heart for the venture, but with having the head and entrepreneurial chops, he might be going into a gunfight with a knife in his hand.

12. Where do you see yourself and your foundation 5 years from now?

Achal:We are determined to achieve our mission and vision in the next 5 years, which is to make a substantial change in the society. We are expanding our roots and improving our approach to deliver our services to society in the best way. As a social enterprise, team-building is the very important stage for us and we are strengthening our team with great ideas and better management.


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