With Just Rs 6k This IITian Changed 5,000 Students, 8,900 Farmer’s Life
Doing something of your own means taking responsibility for more than what your plate can accommodate. Several troubles are bound to cross your path and having enough money will be a major hurdle, too. But not for someone who have risked their illustrious career and entire future to serve others.
For Vishal Singh, money is not everything. His IIT degree could have fetched him a life of luxury but he believes in serving greater cause of humanity whether he had money to support his aim or not.
Born and brought up in Varanasi, Vishal did his PG in agriculture and food engineering from IIT, Kharagpur. His father is a farmer and mother home maker. His coveted degree fetched him a position with an esteemed multinational company. The longer he worked there, the more he realized the gap between the rich and the underprivileged.
Vishal’s life was comfortable and there was immense scope of growth but seeing so many people living a life of ignorance and drudgery made him take charge of change. He wanted to provide education, food, and health amenities to socioeconomically deprived children, especially orphans. For support, he approached his friends and formed a non-government organization under the name Kaivalya Vichar Seva Samiti (KVSS), registered in Uttar Pradesh.
It was a bone-breaking task to go door-to-door to convince parents to send their children to school. Most villagers were reluctant as they saw their children as farmers or simply pursuing other professions in theie village itself. It was only after a lot of effort that he was able to convince them to send their children to school. He started helping children in Soladahar and Gopali of Paschim Medinipur district of West Bengal in 2012.
Vishal gave them free evening classes. There were 40 students who attended the classes. He started up with a lot of determination and only Rs 6,000 in hand. Besides that he also spread awareness on organic and herb farming among farmers.
Their initiative was wholesome and all-inclusive which includes annadaanam (free food distribution), vastradanam (free clothes distribution), sikshadaanam (free education), and swathyadaanam (free health check-up).
With the cooperation of students from other prestigious universities, alumni, and professors of IIT, Kharagpur, Kaivalya Vichar Seva Samiti (KVSS) has expanded its services in Mayurbhanj, Gajapati, and Bargarh district of Odisha, and Chandauli, Aligarh, Etah, and Lucknow district of Uttar Pradesh for betterment of next generation. The primary driving force behind this was empowering students and farmers.
By 2014, the team had provided direct service to 2,500 children through different projects. To make the children skilled in extra-curricular activities they held competitions which allowed the children to showcase their skills, and prove their worth that yes, they too were capable of getting grown into young professional if they had proper guidance.
In 2015, Vishal received more than 400 volunteers from different universities like IIT Bhubaneswar, NIT Jamshedpur, Banaras Hindu University, Allahabad University, Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, Jharkhand Central University etc.
However, educating children was not the only task Vishal had his eyes set on. He had another agenda of empowering farmers, and making them aware of their rights so that they could not be exploited in any manner by the officials. In 2016, he decided to promote an economic organic model of farming for marginal and semi-marginal farming communities to resolve the issue of their livelihood.
Initially, he provided basic training and demonstration to farmers about organic compost, organic pesticide, organic insecticide, and organic nutrients for better and chemical-free food production. Followed by this, he introduced a new concept of Rs 1 lakh from one acre land. The current revenue of farmers by growing crops is Rs 60,000 per annum but Vishal encourages them to grow medicinal plants, herbal plants, and flowers that will raise the revenue to Rs 1,00,000 per annum. It is adopted by many farmers and because of this model he drew the spirit to promote organic farming in Mayurbhanj, Gajapati, Sundargarh, and Bargarh district of Odisha.
Currently, KVSS is running five programs for serving the society with addition of organic farming for sustainable livelihood, and nearly 5,000 children from all over India and 8,900 farmers have been benefited from it. KVSS is working progressively for betterment of deprived society and tribal and rural farming communities.
At present, Vishal and his team is working on socio-entrepreneurship model for integrated and sustainable development of tribal and rural communities of Odisha by setting up small and home scale units of organic fertilizers, pesticides, mushroom cultivation, dairy and poultry units. He is also preparing organic soil and bio-intensive orchard. Vishal is promoting and providing training to farmers, NGOs and youngsters through agri-entrepreneurship regarding organic and eco-friendly farming approaches also for overall development.
Thus, he believes there is no job too menial, all one needs is a vision and there is always a stage when one starts up. If there is a will to believe in oneself with one good cause in heart, even the impossible becomes possible.