On 30 December, all the changemakers of EmpowHER Junior gathered in the Ujyalo Foundation for our sixth session. We were all excited to be here after a whole week of wait.
We became even more excited when we learned that Prarthana Saakha was going to be the first guest speaker of the day to talk about her experiences as a changemaker. When she re-told her experiences, it made us all realize once again that this journey has not only us but also our perspective.
She talked about the 2017 cohort, her school life as an average student with braces and apparently a weird haircut. Even though she already owns a company, Helmets Nepal Pvt. Ltd, she wasn’t still confident. However, her confidence was boosted when she joined EmpowHER 2017 with her project PRAYAS (Preventing Road Accidents by Youth Awareness Safety).
Her journey at EmpowHER made her question our society. She not only learned about introspection but also giving back to the society. Gratitude, time management and most importantly team spirit were the skills she acquired. She shared that when she joined EmpowHER she always pondered on the question “What are we fighting for?” Since then she has come a long way, she has explored and excelled in her career and personal life, and recently even won an award as Nepal’s Women Leader. She finished off her presentation by saying “Little girls with dreams become women with vision,” shared our inspiring speaker boosting our commitments and dedication.
After a quick check-in of a few changemakers and a coffee break, we were ready for our next guest speaker, Nikita Acharya, co-founder of Urban Girls and UG cakes. We were surprised to learn that she started her enterprise with the only Rs.20,000 when she was 19. She introduced us to some new terms like ‘Branding, Marketing, Revenue Model and Lean Business Model’. She explained that we couldn’t sit and expect our business or project to flourish just by the tick of the minute. For our business to flourish, it takes an understanding of consumers and proper determination. Her session not only helped us learn about the different aspects of marketing and branding but it also helped us sculpt our projects better and brainstorm different ways to reach out to our consumers.
After a delicious lunch and catching up with our fellow changemakers, we were explained that we would now start our opportunity optimization session. We would get Rs.100 each and were divided into groups according to the alignment of our service impact ideas. The Ujyalo team was our country for us to open a business.
We would have to pay tax and money to the state for the basic services provided by the state. We were meant to sell our services or products that related with our project and buy our resources from the state. This gave us an insight on the relationship between market, government and consumers. The group that generated the most income was meant to be the winner.
Everybody in a great buzz and was trying to sell as many of their items as they could to each other. We negotiated, bargained and even exchanged our items. There were certain rules and if they were not followed, we had to spend jail time in a paper jail. The whole experience was a very practical way of learning about government laws and regulations, transparency in businesses and the supply of resources according to demand of consumers. It was also a way for us to realize that support can be given through not only money but other ways as well. Even our parents were invited to the opportunity optimization session so that they could buy our items, support us and understand the way the cohort functions. Lastly, we, along with our parents reflected back on our learnings and got points if we had done well in some task. After wishing each other a happy new year in advance we all departed from the Ujyalo Foundation with a feeling of pride and impatience for the next session.
By: Anugya Koirala and Shreeya Gautam
The writers are EmpowHER Junior Changemakers.