Would anyone think of starting for-profit social entrepreneurship at the heart of India’s Naxalite – Maoist insurgency?
BastaR se BazaaR tak is an initiative by our alumnus, Satendrasingh Lilhare, to enhance the livelihood of Bastar’s forest dwellers. The participatory model called provides additional income with 100 days of employment opportunities to poor forest dwellers.
Let’s get to the inside of his journey to know how he achieved it.
Satendrasingh: I always had a vision of working at the grassroots. My experience across various districts of Chhattisgarh confronted me with the infinite problems entrenched in certain remote regions like Bastar.
I desired to do something about the problem by employing my expertise and people’s strength, and in Bastar, I found people who agreed to this partnership.
After a broad participatory examination of our capabilities and resources, we developed a model to generate value and employment through commercial trading of seasonal forest produce.
Satendrasingh: I remember constantly engaging with the puzzle of how to build trust with my professors. Trust is everything. It is not just attained through good intention; it is a never-ending process, and everything counts.
Here, I tackled this puzzle by living their life in an absolute sense.
I live in their house; I eat what they eat; I participate in their socio-cultural and spiritual functions. These engagements became a medium to share life experiences and learn from each other.
For business matters, farmers are the legal owners of the company. They are part of all the financial and business-related proceedings, and that’s how trust is maintained.
Satendrasingh: We want to expand this project further and make it more sustainable by also planting the trees we are using for processing.
We also want to train and guide members on various business-related aspects continually. We aspire to set up a factory and scale up the programme.
Connect with Satendrasingh Lilhare, MA Development (2014−16) at firstname.lastname@example.org