Guwahati, September 19: In the recent ChangemakerXchange (CXC) Summit Philippines 2017, Olivia Deka from Tezpur, Assam has made the state proud by being the only girl from all over India to attend the same. She is the Co-founder and Director of Finderbridge Tourism, a socio progressive startup based in Assam. It must be noted that Finderbridge is the only Ashoka Youth Venture from the northeastern region and she along with teen innovator Swapnanil Talukdar are the only youth venturers.
“Being the only Youth Venture across the region of Northeast we are trying to come up with innovative ways to deal with the discrimination Northeast faces from the rest of the country. We, at Finderbridge Tourism, realized that some barriers between people from northeast and the rest of the country can be solved only when we make people see our culture and traditions up close. Tourism being a very lucrative way to bring people to see the beautiful hills and valleys of northeast, we bridged the experience of sightseeing with Community Based Rural Tourism (CBRT). It is said that travelling is the best learning experience for people and thus we hope to bridge the knowledge gap about Northeast India” says Olivia in a rendezvous with Team UniTreed.
“After launching our venture at Guwahati Press Club on April 18, we got a chance to pitch our project at Ashoka Office of Bangalore on 21st April for the Ashoka Youth Venture Recognition. And I am a really very proud and honored Ashoka Youth Venturer now” she adds.
ChangemakerXchange stands for an exchange of ideas between young people who are working on innovative solutions to social, environmental, or societal problems in their immediate surroundings. At five-day exchange meetings, they deepen their knowledge and further develop their initiatives and business models. They network, enhance their own initiatives in a dialog with other participants and start joint projects. The program is open to social innovators between 18 and 30 years of age from Africa, Asia and Europe.
Since 2012, 350 young socially engaged people from 70 countries came together. So far it has supported 60 international collaboration projects, which had more than 1,00,000 direct beneficiaries. By including eight more summits in 2017, the Changemaker network and its impact continues to grow. The ChangemakerXchange platform is co-created by Ashoka and the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Ashoka (branded Ashoka: Innovators of the Public) is an international organization that promotes social entrepreneurship by affiliating individual social entrepreneurs into the Ashoka organization. Their stated mission is “to shape a global, entrepreneurial, competitive citizen sector: one that allows social entrepreneurs to thrive and enables the world’s citizens to think and act as changemakers”.
Bill Drayton founded Ashoka in 1980. Today, Ashoka operates in 93 countries on every continent, having elected more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows worldwide. Ashoka’s Youth Venture is an international community of young changemakers, with over 6,000 Venture Teams in 23 countries across the globe. The aim of the program is to help create an “Everyone A Changemaker World”. Youth Venture was developed from understanding a key insight of Ashoka fellows in the field of youth development: one of the most effective ways to engage youth in the process of changemaking is to help them realize and understand their own ability to make positive social change.
Speaking about her experience at the summit, she said “Being the only YV across Northeast made me realize a fact that we youth have a lot of innovative ways to deal with some of society’s most crucial problems. But we are unaware of the skills and powers we have. We complain a lot about major issues of the society but never really try to come up with solutions. And honestly, being an Ashoka Youth Venturer and getting the opportunity to meet 25 Young Changemakers from across Asia and Europe in the ChangemakerXchange Summit made me realize that if we need the change, there’s no other way than BEING THE CHANGE. I am currently the only girl from India who had the opportunity to be a part of CXC Summit. There are opportunities out there for every youth who want to become the change. We don’t need to move mountains to be Changemakers, just be the little pebble that creates a ripple effect in a stagnant pond.”
“Also the learning experience I had from the CXC Summit encouraged me to empower more young girls to take their first step and hence I will be launching my Project “SHE FOR CHANGE” soon. It will be a platform for young girls to find their way like I did. There’s a world of Changemakers out there waiting for them. And it’s good to be the misfit the world sees us to be. So be the misfit and join the movement of Changemaking” she adds.
Source: Olivia Deka (She is currently pursuing Energy Engineering from North Eastern Hill University, Shillong)