Solutions for local problems - Deccan Herald

September 09, 2015

Recently students of India, Pakistan and UK collaborated to design sustainable ventures on women safety at the “International Social Innovation Challenge” which was held at Jindal Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at O. P. Jindal Global University.

Students from O P Jindal Global University (Jindal Global Law School), the University of Southampton and the Lahore University of Management Sciences, were divided into five teams and were asked to navigate their cultural, ideological and disciplinary differences to come up with innovative ideas for sustainable social enterprises. These teams underwent 10 days of skill focused workshops to facilitate the creation of sustainable social enterprises. Workshops were conducted by the University of Southampton staff — Dr Pathik Pathak, Josie Francis and Roxanne Persaud - who led students through the process of design thinking, prototyping and digital dimensions on social innovation. According to Pulkit Mogra, final year law student, their winning venture Sashakta focussed on workers employed in three different companies within their campus. Though the idea of the challenge largely revolved around the concept of “empowering women”, Mogra said the team concluded they couldn’t empower women only by leaving their partners aside. Hence the focus of the winning project was to seek solutions for empowering workers throughout the year. “There are three agencies in our campus who give employment to over 700 workers when the college session is in progress. But when we have holidays, most of them are unemployed again,” “So we thought of creating an education model that would impart them basic computer, legal and English language knowledge. Through our project we looked at avenues how students of this university can teach them in the free time,” Mogra tells Metrolife. The project proposed how these workers can look for other work options if they are computer literate and by understanding law, they would become self advocate. The event cultivated a powerful narrative of global collaboration and challenging assumptions. Jeremy Wade, associate director, Jindal Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship said, “It was inspiring to witness students from such different backgrounds come together so effectively to tackle a global social problem. As a 21st century global community, we are facing a range of complex and unprecedented problems. This experience leaves me feeling more optimistic about the potential for the next generation of leaders to tackle these problems with creative solutions.” The collaboration also helped to break down some stereotypes. As Zoya Asad lucidly puts it, “What I discovered is that the hostility between Indians and Pakistanis is based on perceptions based on stereotypes and generalisations. This experience allowed us to break these stereotypes,” says Asad, a student from Lahore University of Management Sciences.