Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace (formerly CharityFocus), an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 350,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free. In January 2005, Nipun and Guri, his wife of six months, put everything aside to embark on an open-ended, unscripted walking pilgrimage in India, to "use our hands to do random acts of kindness, our heads to profile inspiring people, and our hearts to cultivate truth."
NSPA is an initiative to take Art to the People by reclaiming public spaces for street performances. NSPA seeks to champion public spaces as an alternative platform for performance, encouraging greater interaction between artists and the community, creating spaces of cultural interaction and energising the very city and its people. NSPA aims to support the livelihoods of independent performers across diverse genres.
Gaurav leads Dalberg Development Advisors in Asia, an international management consulting firm focused on social challenges. Much of his work is in helping businesses, entrepreneurs, civil society and Government find innovative ways to deliver services to poor households in a sustainable manner. He has authored several global reports on lighting and clean cooking for the base of the pyramid and helps lead Dalberg's Energy and Environment practice. Outside of Dalberg Gaurav has been the Co-founder of two eco-resorts, a sustainable fashion business and an Australian social policy think tank. He was previously with the Boston Consulting Group and holds a Masters in Development Economics from Yale, a BA from Oxford University (PPE) and was a Fairfax scholar at the United World College of Hong Kong. He wouldn’t mind spending a few years off the grid and dreams of cycling across India.
She is an Anglo-Dutch artist started her academic life in architecture in the Netherlands. Coinciding with her freelance assignments in China, she was inspired to explore her artistic desires further and moving to Mumbai in 2010 gave her the opportunity to first show at Hacienda Gallery. After that, residencies and shows in New York and Mumbai followed. Her work is a collection of digital collages and fine installations. She’s currently producing 'Radical Garden', a public installation, for Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in February.
This short dramatic piece shows the reality of everyday life for young women in the Dharavi slum and also depicts their vision for a better world. One girl's dream may be for a world made out of candy, while another young women's dream is for a world with space to play, the end of abuse, and safe places to walk at night free of eve teasing. See a vision for Mumbai from the perspective of a girl slum-dweller.
This play is a collaboration between Pramod Pathak, a Mumbai Director and Filmmaker, and girls participating in Reality Gives' art and football programs. Pramod has lead these girls through a process of understanding and expressing the realities of their everyday life through drama in a way that allows them to dream for a brighter future.
Rahul Hasija from Indore took a gap year after graduation and never went back to the formal education system. Since then he has been part of an alternative movement in education as a Khoji (student) at Swaraj University. At Swaraj University the Khojis design their own curriculum and seek learning through mentors. During his two years of self designed learning, he worked at Bhoomi Network, Bangalore as a Sub-Editor in their Quarterly-Eternal Bhoomi and also travelled many places. He loves travelling to non-tourist places, and exploring the idea of gift culture.
Harish Iyer is an icon for the common people. An Equal Rights Activist, he is best known for his quirky campaigns for the rights of Varied Genders and Sexualities, Children and Animals. His life and experiences have been the subject of a book and two movies.
Harish's childhood was scarred by repeated sexual abuse. But with a little help from his animal friends, Harish learnt to take the lemons life handed him and make sweet lemonade. He has been a vociferous campaigner against of child sexual abuse, urging parents and the youth to be vigilant for signs of possible abuse in their children. He has conducted several closed door as well as public workshops with youth in residential societies and colleges. His bubbly demeanour and zest for life would change the stereotypical image we have of survivors of heinous crimes such as child sexual abuse.
What if didn't need superpowers to make someone’s day ?
The month of December took her on a journey to give back to the world, the universe , the people… through random acts of kindness , one for each day . Describing why it’s important that we do and encourage kindness because we may feel we have little to offer, but whether it is a few pennies or a whole bankroll, a cup of tea or a banquet is
irrelevant– it is the act of giving itself that is important. As Mahatma Gandhi said “Almost anything we do will seem insignificant,
but it is very important that we do it.” I say , especially if it makes someone smile.
Nickolai Kinny is an author, travel writer and photographer by profession her mantra in life stands as “Caprediem” - seize the day
and she encourages others to do the same.