Friday, January 24, 2014 4 comments

Recap: LEAD Prayana 2014

From January 7th to January 21st, 114 college students from throughout the country traveled across Karnataka, interacting with reputable way.  As the LEAD Prayana tagline suggests, students became inspired in order to unleash their leadership potential through exposure to individuals and institutions that have innovated and implemented solutions to major challenges.  Through this leadership journey on wheels, the LEAD Program aims to instill in youth the need to bring about change through effective leadership.  

Throughout the 14-day journey, the Prayana students traveled 1,800 kms to interact with 12 role models throughout 9 locations. Each day was packed with excitement, enjoyment and learning to ensure that Prayana students kept their energy high.

Day 1: Belgaum
The 120 students kicked off their journey at VTU in Belgaum.  After the students completed the registration process, they spent the day learning about VTU and its impressive efforts. The day ended with the kick off ceremony, which included Guests of Honor and Dr. H Maheshappa (Vice Chancellor, VTU), Dr. Raj Melville (Executive Director, Deshpande Foundation) and Mr. Naveen Jha (CEO, Deshpande Foundation).  The Guests of Honor addressed the students and wished them luck on their leadership journeys ahead.

Dr. H Maheshappa (Vice Chancellor, VTU)

2014 LEAD Prayana Group
Day 2: Sagar
After a flag off from VTU in the morning, the students made their way to Sagar.  They got to know their travel companions along the way through various bonding activities.  After arriving in Sagar, the group went on an exposure visit to Charaka.  An evening session with Charaka and DESI founder, Prasanna, helped the students learn how they can cope with the mistakes in their lives.  The got a taste of rural lifestyle during their night stay in Heggodu village.

Prayana Flag Off from VTU

Session with Prasanna (Founder, Charaka and Desi)
Manipal University Site Visit

Day 3: Manipal
The students spent the day at Manipal University!  They begin their Manipal experience with interactive sessions with Manipal University Chancellor Dr. Mohandas Pai and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr. Vinod Bhat.  After the session, the students were given the opportunity to tour beautiful and futuristic Manipal campus.

Mr. Sasi Sekar (Founder and CEO, nanoPix)

Day 4: Manipal
Students got to see nanoPix Cashew Sorting Machine first-hand.  While cashew sorting can be a lengthy process because of the need for visual inspection, the nanoPix Cashew Sorting Machine relies on its ImageIn Technology to more quickly and efficiently inspect the cashew nuts.  The students then engaged in a session with nanoPix, Sasi Sekar (Founder and CEO, nanoPix).  He inspired the students with his advice about identifying passion and channeling it to become an entrepreneur. 

The students left Manipal and traveled towards Dharmasthala.  On the way, the students participated in sharing and more bonding activities.

Dharmasthala Site Visit
Day 5: Dharmasthala
The students started their day with an exposure visit to SIRI.  Next, the students performed street skits to create awareness about cleanliness inside and outside the Dharmasthala temple.  Students commented that this activity taught them teamwork and communication skills. The day ended with a role model session with Dr. Veerendra Heggade (Dharmadhikari, Dharmasthala).  Dr. Heggade addressed the students regarding religion.

Dharmasthala Site Visit

Session with Dr. Veerendra Heggade
Day 6: Sullia

An exposure visit to a suspension bridge was beautiful and exhilarating.  A role model session with Mr. Girish Bharadwaj, the bridge builder behind these suspension bridges, helped the students understand the necessity of improving connectivity between rural communities and urban cities.

Session with Mr. B. Girish Bharadwaj

Day 7: Mysore
The students spent the day at Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM). They visited the hospital, radio station, and different schools run by SVYM.  Students enjoyed learning about SVYM, its history, and its success.

Site Visit to SVYM

Day 8: Mysore and Dodballapur
Site Visit to Infosys
Students were given a sneak peek into the future at Infosys.   Students were awe struck by the cleanliness and efficiency that they saw.  After a brief orientation about Infosys and its history, the students were divided into groups and given the challenge to come up with their own company and business plans to be created from a Rs. 50 lakh investment.  The group then made its way to Dodballapur, near Bangalore.  They had dinner and spent the night at the organic farm of Dr. Narayan Reddy (Organic farmer).

Site Visit to Infosys

Session with Dr. Narayan Reddy
Day 9: Dodballapur and Bangalore

The students started their day bright and early with an interactive session with Dr. Narayan Reddy.  He spoke to the students about the importance of living a life full of simplicity and self-satisfaction.  After the session with Dr. Reddy, the students enjoyed exploring his farm.  The group then left the farm and made its way to Bangalore for a session with Mr. Ramji Raghavan (Founder, Agastya International Foundation).

Session with Mr. Ramji Raghavan

Prayanis Enjoying in Kuppam
Day 10 and 11: Kuppam
The students were lucky enough to spend two days enjoying at Agastya International Foundation in Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh. At Agastya, students gained excitement for learning through many hands-on activities. From constructing a model of a dear out of waste products, to trying out hands-on science projects, to exploring the surrounding nature on early morning nature walks, students were constantly engaged in learning and building upon their teamwork and creative abilities.

Community Activities in Kuppam

Day 12: Chitradurga and Hubli
The morning started off with a morning session with Dr. Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, present head of the Math in Chitradurga.  He told the students about his role in the Math and spoke to them about the importance of maintaining concentration and focus in life.  After the session, the students made their way towards Hubli to help with Yuva Summit preparations.

Session with Dr. Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru

Session with Mr. T.V. Mohandas Pai
Day 13: Hubli
Day 13 marked the first day of Yuva Summit, an annual national conference on promoting leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation within youth.  The Prayana students spent the morning visiting the LEAD project displays and attending the LEAD Alumni and LEAD Talk sessions.  In the afternoon they had sessions with Mr. Raju Reddy (Executive Vice President for Global Services, Hitachi Consulting), Mr. Srikanth Bolla (Founder, Aashadeep Pvt Ltd), Mr. Phanindra Sama (Co-founder and CEO,, Dr. Gururaj Deshpande (Chairman, Sparta Group LLC), Mr. Suhas Gopinath (Founder, CEO and Chairman, Globals Inc), Mr. T.V. Mohandas Pai (Chairman, Manipal Global Education) and Mr. Naveen Jha (CEO, Deshpande Foundation).

Session with Dr. Gururaj Deshpande and Mrs. Jaishree Deshpande

Session with Phanindra Sama

Session with Mr. Srikanth Bolla

 Day 14: Hubli
Community activity in Hubli
The students spent the day engaged in community activities.  They were divided into groups and set out to the streets of Hubli to perform skits to create awareness for social issues.  The students’ skits drew crowds of hundreds of people who came to watch. 

Community activity in Hubli

Day 15: Hubli
The students learned about the social impacted created by NGOs with visits to Akshaya Patra and Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya. The students enjoyed a full kitchen tour, as well as an interactive learning session where they were able to ask in detail about Akshaya Patra’s method, outreach, and successes.Upon their arrival to KSV, the students toured the grounds and observed some of the children during their music and acting classes.

Detailed information about Role models

Jairam Ramesh (Hon. Minister of Rural Development and Member of Parliament, Government of India)
Mr. Jairam Ramesh currently serves as the Rural Development Minister.  From 2000-2002 he served as Deputy Chairman of the Karnataka State Planning Board and on the Economic Advisory Council of Andhra Pradesh.  Following the formation of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2004, Jairam joined the National Advisory Council.  In 2009, Jairam was given independent charge of Environment and Forests.  He was also the chief negotiator for India at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference that took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to his work in politics, Ramesh has been a columnist for the Business Standard, Business Today, The Telegraph, Times of India, and India Today. He is a founding member of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

Dr. Veerendra Heggade (Dharmadhikari, Dharmasthala)
The Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, Dr. Veerendra Heggade is a leader, philanthropist, educator, social reformer, and an emissary of art and culture.  Dr. Heggade is the Director of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI).  He is also a member of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, Delhil; Shree Amarnathji Shrine Board, Jammu and Kashmirl Advisory Board of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development; and Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams Development Advisory Council.  He has undertaken project programs for the economic, social, and moral uplifting of poor agricultural laborers, artisans, and others.  

Dr. Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande
Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande is the Chairman of Sparta Group LLC, A123 Systems (AONE), Sycamore Networks (SCMR), Tejas Networks, Sandstone Capital and HiveFire. He was also a founding investor in Airvana, Cimaron, Webdialogs and Relicore. Dr. Deshpande serves as a member of the MIT Corporation, and his generous donations have made possible MIT's Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Dr. Deshpande is a trustee of the Deshpande foundation. He and his wife are involved in several non-profit initiatives that include support for MIT, IIT, TiE, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Public Health Foundation of India and the Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox in India.

Dr. Ramdas M Pai (President and Chancellor, Manipal University)

Dr. Ramdas M Pai is the current President and Chancellor of Manipal University and the President of Manipal Education and Medical Group.  Dr. Pai strongly believes that higher education builds up the nation’s intellectual capital and plays a vital role in the government transforming from a regulator into a facilitator and a catalyst.  Dr. Pai is the son of Manipal University Founder Dr. TMA Pai.  After taking over the reins from his father, Dr. Ramdas Pai made sure the university progressed to achieve its potential.  Under Dr. Pai’s initiative, campuses in Pokhara, Nepal, Melaka, Malaysia, and UAE were started. 

Dr. Pai joined the world of education after beginning his career as a hospital administrator.  Since then, Dr. Pai has advocated for public-private partnerships in both higher education and healthcare.  His commitment to excellence in both of these sectors has led to great success.  Under Dr. Pai’s leadership, Manipal was given university status. Morever, in 2005-2006, over Rs. 73.91 crores were generated through the treatment of over 150 lakh patients in Manipal Group Hospitals, direct employment to more than 13,000 people, and indirect employment to over 25,000 people. 

In addition to his successes within the wold Manipal University, Dr. Pai has contributed to education at the national level.  He was a member of the Medical Council of India, Dental Council of India, Senate and Syndicate of Mangalore University, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, and more. In 2000 he was nominated by the Union Minister of Human Resource Development to a special six-member committee to advise the Ministry on Higher Education.
Raju Reddy (Founder and CEO, Sierra Atlantic)
Raju Reddy is the Founder and CEO of Sierra Atlantic, an IT services company headquartered in California, US.  Under Raju’s leadership, Sierra Atlantic grew to be a best-in-class global services company over a period of 17 years and was consistently ranked amongst the best managed companies.  Raju is actively engaged in the community and serves in leadership roles in various non-profits.  He currently serves on the Board of India Community Center in Milpitas, California, and is the Chairman of BITSAA Intl, the alumni body of India’s #1 private university, BITS Pilani.  Prior to this, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Puente, a Wharton School non-profit program which helps underprivileged communities worldwide gain access to technology.  He also co-founded SIPA (Silicon Valley Indian Professional Association in 1987 and was instrumental in starting the TiE Chapter in Hyderabad. 
Ramji Raghavan (Founder and Chairman, Agastya Foundation)
Ramji Raghavan’s dream to build an India of thinkers, problem-solvers and creators who are humane, anchored, and networked gave birth to Agastya International Foundation. Founded in 1999, Agastya's stated vision is to build a creative India of "tinkerers, solution-seekers, and creators" that are "humane, anchored and connected" by making practical, hands-on science education accessible to rural government schools. Agastya has so far lived up to its vision, as it currently runs the largest hands-on science program in the world.  Ramji is also a member of the Karnataka State Innovation Council of Innovation.  He is a recognized public speaker and has spoken at the Education World Forum, the annual INK Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, Harvard India Conference, and the MIT Media Lab.  

Dr. H Maheshappa (Vice Chancellor, VTU)
Dr. H Maheshappa is current Vice Chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University.  Dr. Maheshappa has more than 25 years of teaching experience.  He obtained his B.E. degree from UBDT College of Engineering, Davangere, his M.E. from Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore, and his PhD in Mechanical Designing from Bangalore University. He is also a Fellow of the World Academy of Productivity Science in Canada. 

Phanindra Sama (Co-founder and CEO,
Phanindra Sama is Co-Founder & CEO of, India’s first and largest bus ticketing company.  Founded in Aug. 2006, redbus today has operations across 22 states and offers services for ~19,000+ routes and has built relationship with about 700+ bus operators and 40,000+ travel agents. redbus was nominated by Forbes as one of the top five startups in 2010. redbus is ranked #1 amongst the fastest growing companies in India in a survey conducted by the All World Network. Phanindra is ranked #3 among India’s "Most Promising Entrepreneurs" by Business World. He was also chosen as a Global Shaper in the 2011 World Economic Forum.

Suhas Gopinath (Founder, CEO, and Chairman, Globals, Inc)
At the young age of 25, Suhas is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Global INC, a multimillion dollar software company that maintains a presence in the US and several European countries.  He was 16 when he incorporated his country and launched his website. One thing that sets his company apart from other Indian software companies, and probably one of the key reasons for the company's success, is that the company focuses on both English and non-English speaking countries. Suhas plans to get his company listed by 2015 and has goals to start expanding into African countries. 
Srikanth Bolla (Founder, Aasadeep Projects Pvt Ltd)
Srikanth is currently an undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Having been visually challenged for most of his life, he has fought hard to overcome challenges brought on by a misconceived prejudice against disabled people.  In addition to serving as a Board Member for the Samanvai Center for Children with Multiple Disabilities, an NGO in Hyderabad, Srikanth has recently founded Aasadeep Projects Pvt Ltd. Aasadeep Projects uses an innovative approach and employs disabled people to produce eco-friendly products using recycled paper and agricultural waste. 

Dr. Narayan Reddy (Organic Farmer)
For more than two decades, Dr. Narayan Reddy has been a role model for many organic farmers. He is enthusiastic to innovate, experiment, learn and share.  As a farmer, he surpassed national record crop yields but soon realized the ill effects of chemical farming and switched over to organic farming.  His farm is a model for several alternatives, including SRI paddy cultivation and his methods have been studied by international dignitaries as well as reputed scientists.  Dr. Reddy travels widely across the country, interacting with thousands of farmers and NGOs and is also a special invitee for national and international seminars and policy discussions. 

Mr. P. Manivannan (IAS) (Chief Project Officer, Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project)

Known as "Mr. Transparent", IAS Officer P. Manivannan is attempting to introduce a new transparency into proceedings.  When Manivannan was previously working as Commissioner of the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation, he was known the "Demolition Man" for hard decisions and their equally stern implementation.  In fact, his steadfastness led to the demolition of big buildings constructed by influential people in order to make way for the construction of a public road.  During the 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections, as candidates tried to lure voters through illegal means, Manivannan, a 2008 batch IAS Officer, set up 12 control rooms and 130 mobile police stations with a 20,000-strong staff to help seize illegal money and file cases against those who violated the Model Code of Conduct during elections.

Manivannan also previously served as Managing Director of the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM).  

B. Girish Bharadwaj (Karnataka Bridge Builder)

B. Girish Bharadwaj received his B.E. Degree in Mechanical Engineering (I Class) at P.E.S. College of Engineering, Mandya, Karnataka State, University of Mysore in 1973. Afterwards, he started a small-scale industrial unit at Sullia in 1975, by the name of Rational Engineering Industries. In 2000, during the Silver Jubilee celebration, the name of the Unit was changed to “Ayasshila,” which, in Sanskrit means “Steel Sculpture.” 

Ayasshilpa has been engaged in repairs of farm machinery, construction of gobar gas plants, general fabrication work and roof trusses. Since 1988, Ayasshila has been involved in building “Suspension Foot Bridges” (S.F.B.) to connect rural Indian villages to urban areas.  So far,  102 S.F.B’s have been built and another 10 are in being constructed.

Prasanna (Founder, Charaka)

Prasanna is an actor, writer, director, and Gandhian who passed over his opportunity to do his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur to pursue his love of theatre.  What sets Prasanna apart from other passionate people, though, is that he combined his passion for theatre with activism and led "Samudaya", a radical theatre movement for masses and workers. He later founded Charaka, a women’s co-operative society near Shimoga, Karnataka, that produces naturally dyed cotton handloom garments, which are sold under the ‘Desi’ brand name. Charaka employs nearly 200 women and has a decent turnover of a crore of rupees and each woman takes home an average of Rs. 3000 a month. The value of this money that a woman earns with clean technology and clean air here is much higher than what her counterpart in the city earns at an export-oriented garment factory.

Vijay Sankeshwar (Founder and Managing Director, VRL Logistics Ltd)

Vijay Sankeshwar is an entrepreneur and politician from Gadag.  He is Founder and Managing Director of VRL Logistics Ltd., which is currently the largest fleet owner of commercial vehicles in India.  Prior to founding VRL, he owned Karnataka’s largest circulating newspaper, Vijaya Karnataka.

Vijay is also the founder of the Kannada Nadu Party.  He is a former Member of Parliament from the North Dharwad constituency.  His other roles in politics include serving as a Member of BJP, in which he held various positions at the district and state level, Members of the Committee on Finance and Consultative Committee within the Ministry of Surface Transport, and Members of the Committee on Commerce and Transport and Tourism.

Naveen Jha (CEO, Deshpande Foundation)
Naveen Jha is the CEO of the Deshpande Foundation, India.  He has been with the Foundation  since its inception and has pioneered a series of youth development program, including LEAD, that helps transform the attitudes of young people into solving problems locally. Under Naveen’s leadership, the Foundation has touched thousands of lives including non-profits, students, youth, academics, and universities.  He holds a Masters in International Development from Brandeis University in the US. 

Shravani Hagargi (Founder, Safe Hands 24x7)
Safe Hands 24x7 is the first company in Karnataka that appoints and manages women security and housekeeping personnel to different households and organizations.  By providing women security guards, Safe Hands 24x7 is able to meet the specific needs of organizations such as girls’ hostels or women’s colleges.  Safe Hands 24x7 coordinates with self-help groups to recruit its female security guards from slums or villages.  By employing these women, Safe Hands 24x7 is helping improve the their own livelihoods as well as the livelihoods of their families.

LEAD Prayana 2014 Itinerary
 (January 7, 2014- January 21, 2014)

*Journey will start on January7th at 11 AM at VTU and will conclude at the Deshpande Foundation in Hubli on the evening of January 21st.
 January 7th: Belgaum-Reporting and Hosting Day
  • Journey Introduction at VTU
  • Session at VTU with Prof. H. Maheshwappa (Vice Chancellor, VTU) and Naveen Jha (CEO, Deshpande Foundation).  

January 8th: Belgaum/Sagar
·       Morning Flag Off from VTU
  • Evening at Sagar and Role Model session with Prasanna (Founder, Charaka/Desi) and exposure visit to Charaka/Desi.
  • Night stay at Heggodu village near Charakha

January 9th-10th: Manipal
  • Exposure visit to Manipal University.
  • Speaker session with Dr. Vinod Bhat (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Manipal University)
  • Exposure visit to cashew industry and session with Mr. Sasi Sekhar Krish (CEO, Nanopix)

January 11th: Dharmasthala
  • Dharshana and site visits to SKDRDP and SIRI
  • Role model session with Dr. Veerendra Heggade 
January 12th: Sullia
  • Exposure visit to suspension bridge
  • Role model session with Mr. Girish Bharadwaj

January 13th: Mysore
  • Exposure visit to Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement work at Saragur and Hosahalli and experiencing tribal life.

January 14th: Mysore/Infosys
  • Exposure visit to Infosys

 January 15th: Dodballapur/Bangalore
·       Hands on Mud and experiencing organic farming Mavanhalli Farm and role model session with Dr. Narayan Reddy
  • Panel session in Bangalore

January 16th: Kuppam
  • Exposure visit to Agastya Foundation and hands on science activities

January 17th:  Kuppam
  • Full day of activities at Agastya Foundation and exposure visit to rural community.

January 18th: Chitradurga/Hubli
  • Session with Murga Mathi Swamiji
  • Exposure visit to VRL

January 19th: Hubli
  • Yuva Summit: Innovative leadership projects showcasing and panel sessions by LEAD LEADers
  • Role model session with Suhas Gopinath

January 20th: Hubli
  • Yuva Summit: Innovative leadership projects showcasing and inspiring speakers session. 
  • Community Activity
  • Panel session

January 21st: Dharwad
  • Exposure visits to Akshaya Patra, Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya, Safe Hands, and Seven Beans

Bordering the states of Maharashtra and Goa, Belgaum’s diverse cultural identity makes it the perfect starting point for the LEAD Prayana journey.  For it is in Belgaum that the 100+ Prayanis from different states and cultures throughout India will come together with a common goal to be transformed.

Located in the Western Ghats, Sagara is known for its proximity to Jog Falls and the historical places of Ikkeri and Keladi.  Situated near Sagara is the village of Heggodu, where the Charaka and Desi headquarters is located.  Charaka a women’s co-operative society that produces naturally dyed cotton handloom garments.  Desti Trust is the leading marketing agency for the garments produced at Charaka. Desi outlets are currently located in Bangalore, Dharwad, and Shimoga.

Located in the rocky hinterland of the Malabar Coast, the university town is an abode of education. With a commanding view of the Arabian Sea, this place houses the famous Manipal University that has produced some of the best leaders in every field.

The word 'Dharma' traditionally means religion, duty and righteousness. However, it also implies justice, truthfulness, and freedom from fear. For over 800 years, this noble lineage has built up this centre for religious and communal harmony. At Dharmastala, the Prayanis will learn from the past to build brighter futures.

Mysore is famous for its festivities during Dusshera. However, the Prayanis will see a different side of Mysore at Infosys! After a tour of the beautiful historic Mysore palace, we will arrive at the Infosys Campus to get a sneak peek into the future.


In Doddahllapur, the Prayanis will be visiting the organic farm of Dr L. Narayana Reddy, a renowned farming innovator, whose techniques are at the forefront of the organic farming movement worldwide. He regularly interacts with NGOs across India and is the featured guest at many international seminars and policy discussions.


The Garden City will welcome the Prayanis with a warm smile and open up a whole new world of education and learning. Panel sessions will offer ample space to listen, learn, and reflect.

Kuppam, in Andhra Pradesh, has become an educational hub with an engineering college, medical college and Dravidian   university.  While here, we will be visiting Agastya International Foundation, an incredibly successful  NGO that  strives  to  bring  hands-on science  and  creativity to all Indian children.  Agastya’s vision is to build a creative India of‘ tinkerers, solution-seekers and creators’ that are  ‘humane, anchored and connected’ by inspiring widespread social development, innovation and leadership through education. Agastya runs one of the largest mobile science education programs for disadvantaged children and rural teachers in the world.

Chitradurga is a city featuring towering rock hills and borders.  Known as the “stone fortress” (Kallima Kote), Chitradurga is most known its historical fort, Chitrakaldurga, which means ‘picturesque fort’ in Kannada, as well as Murugi Math.  With a celebrated history of more than three centuries, the Math has been actively engaged in social, religious, educational and cultural activities.

The word “Dharwad” means a place of rest in a long travel, making it the perfect place for Prayanis to pause and reflect on what they have learned from their Prayana journey. Dharwad has historically been known as a hub for education and the arts.  The Dharwad region is well provided with schools, polytechnics, ITIs, engineering colleges, and universities.  In addition to its impressive list of educational institutions, the Dharwad region has also contributed great proponents of Hindustani classical music and other arts.  With visits to Baala Balaga, Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya, and more, students will see firsthand just how Dharwad provides the right atmosphere to change the way we view education.

In Kannada, Hubbali means “flowering creeper." As the name suggests, we believe Hubli will offer a promising end for the students who have come together for LEAD Prayana. Hubli has been home to individuals of national and international repute: Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Gururaj Deshpande, to name a few.    We want that legacy of greatness to inspire our Prayanis as they conclude their journeys and return to their homes.  At the LEAD headquarters in Hubli, we end this leadership journey by bringing back a changed 'you'!


Visvesyaraya Technological University (VTU)
Established in 1988, VTU is one of the biggest technological universities in India, maintaining affiliations with 208 colleges.  With an intake capacity of 67,100, VTU and its affiliated colleges boast 28 undergraduate courses and 71 postgraduate courses.  The university is headquartered in Belgaum and has three regional centers located in Bangalore, Gulbarga, and Mysore. At present, VTU has 13 QIP centers and 17 extension centers.  Additionally, it has more than 2,305 departments recognized as research centers in different cities throughout Karnataka.  The university has signed MoU's with various leading organizations including but not limited to IBM, Intel, Asia Electronics Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Ltd (India) and Microsoft. 


Charaka is a women’s co-operative society near Shimoga, Karnataka, that produces naturally dyed cotton handloom garments, which are sold under the ‘DESI’ brand name with outlets in Bangalore, Dharwad, and Shimoga. DESI is also an acronym for Developing Ecologically Sustainable Industries.

Charaka employs nearly 200 women.  With a turnover of a crore of rupees, each woman takes home an average of Rs. 3000 every month. The value of this money that a woman earns with clean technology and clean air at Charaka is much higher than what her counterpart in the city earns at an export-oriented garment factory.

Manipal University
Manipal University is a name to conjure with not just in India, but the world over. Although it was given university status in 1993, the seeds for its magnificent growth were sewn way back in 1953 with the setting up of the flagship Kasturba Medical College on what was then a barren hilltop. From then on, institution after institution was added and facilities kept improving to ensure that Manipal University emerged as the leading higher education provider in the country. Today with 24 professional institutions in medicine, engineering, management and humanities, the university is making a strong headway in research. Spread over 600 acres of a green expanse, the university is home to 28,000 students pursuing undergraduate and post graduate programs in diverse subjects. 

Nanopix is an image processing and industry automation company that provides solutions based on image processing and control systems in various fields of application including sports, industry controls, biotechnology and security industries. Nanopix has a vision to be the top video and image processing application development organization of India by 2015.  With products such as the Cashew Sorter, the Hand Held Vehicle Tracker, the Blood Smear Analyzer, the TrackBall, and more, Nanopix is pioneering automated efficiency with the ImageIn Technology that it develops


The Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) in South India is a prime example of the vital role that a well-run microfinance organization can play in meeting the energy needs of the poor. The Karnataka-based NGO provides affordable loans to families in the area, helping them buy life-enhancing renewable energy systems such as biogas plants, solar home systems, cook stoves and family-scale hydro plants. Key to the success of this highly replicable program are self-help groups that help people plan their household needs, save money and make informed choices on what energy products they buy. So far SKDRDP has provided nearly 20,000 energy loans, benefiting around 82,500 people.

Ayasshipla, which means “steel sculptures” in Sanskrit, was founded in 1975 by B. Girish Bharadwah, a mechanical engineer and renowned bridge builder.  Its stated vision is to render professional excellence in “establishing rural connectivity and assisting communities through building bridges”, and Ayasshipla has done just that.  Its most acclaimed projects include the construction of “Suspension Foot Bridges” (SFB) to connect rural Indian villages to urban areas.  So far, 102 SFBs have been built and another 10 are being constructed.

Infosys was founded in 1981 by seven people with just $250. Today, Infosys is a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing with revenues of US$ 7.126 billion. Many of the world's most successful organizations rely on Infosys to deliver measurable business value.  Infosys provides business consulting, technology, engineering and outsourcing services to help clients in over 30 countries build the enterprises of tomorrow.  Infosys has a global footprint with 66 offices and 69 development centers throughout the US, India, China, Australia, Japan, the Middle East, UK, Germany, France,  Switzerland, Netherlands, Poland, Canada and many other countries. Infosys gives back to the community   through the Infosys Foundation that funds learning and education.

Swami Vivekanand Youth Movement
The Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) is a development organization engaged in building a new civil society in India through its grassroots to policy-level action in the health, education and community development sectors. Acting as a key promoter-facilitator in the community's efforts towards self-reliance and empowerment, SVYM is developing local, innovative and cost-effective solutions to sustain community-driven progress. Buying in support from the community, working in healthy partnership with the government and corporate sectors and sharing its experiences with like-minded organizations have been the hallmark of SVYM's evolution over the past 28 years.

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB)
The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) is an autonomous institute that was established in 1973. IIMB is among the top business schools in India. For the fifth consecutive year IIMB has been nominated the best school in the region by Eduniversal, and retained its 'Five Palmes' status as a 'Universal Business School with Major Influence' in 2012. The Institute received the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Award 2012 for pioneering work in the field of promoting accessibility and universal design and ensuring life of equality and dignity for disabled people.  IIMB's career development services team won 'Best Placement Cell' in the India Today Aspire Education Summit 2012 for helping in implementing education and development in the India. 

Tejas Networks
Founded in May 2000 by Sanjay Nayak with funding from Gururaj Deshpande, Tejas Networks is a computer networking and telecommunication equipment products company based in Bangalore, India.  Tejas Networks sells optical networking products to telecom networks in India and in over 50 countries.

SJM Society (Math) Education Institute

Situated on the outskirts of Chitradurga, Sri Jagadguru Murugharajendra Brihanmath has played a major role in the religious history of Karnataka. With a celebrated tradition of more than three centuries, the Math has actively engaged itself in social, religious, educational and cultural activities. 

Akshaya Patra
The Akshaya Patra Foundation was principally involved in implementing the Mid-Day Meal program to the children of government and government-aided schools across India. Since 2003, the foundation has been implementing the Mid-Day Meal program under the guidelines of the Government of India. Akshaya Patra is currently operating in 19 locations across 9 states of India. It is reaching out to over 9000 government schools feeding 1.3 million children year-round on all school working days. It is steadily moving towards achieving its goal of feeding 5 million children by 2020.

Agastya International Foundation

Agastya runs the largest hands-on science program in the world! Tapping the valuable resource of bright but underprivileged children, Agastya provides an environment in which they can create, tinker, and seek solutions.  Through this simple formula of encouraging educational curiosity, Agastya is helping millions of disadvantaged, at-risk children escape the vicious cycle of poverty. One of Agastya's central goals is to create an education dissemination model that is cost-effective, scalable and replicable within India and in other developing countries. 

Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya (KSV)
The Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya  (KSV) provides musical and academic education to two hundred underprivileged children, free of charge.   In addition, food, accommodation, health   care   and   clothing   are   also provided at no extra cost. More than a school, KSV is a living and working ideal, where the students can blossom and realize their full potential. KSV is traditional and modern in its educational approach at all times. The modern educational program is based on the educational syllabus of Karnataka State, and   great emphasis is put on teaching English as  the main language of communication. Computer studies are also important to prepare the students to meet the demands of today's rapidly evolving world. Tradition is intermixed with modernity in that in addition to academics, students are also taught the ancient disciples of Indian classical music and drama.

Baala Balaga
Baala Balaga in Dharwad is a unique school that challenges the traditional educational environment.  At Baala Balaga, creativity and freedom are emphasized: students do not wear uniforms and refer to their teachers as “mama” and “moushi”, as opposed to “Sir” or “Madam”.

Safe Hands
Safe Hands 24x7 is a company that appoints and manages security and housekeeping personnel to different households and organizations.  The company is unique in that it provides women security guards to meet the specific needs of organizations, such as girls’ hostels or women’s colleges.  Employing these women has helped improve the livelihoods of many families

Seven Beans
Seven Beans aims to change the way that people “hang out” in India.  Seven Beans is an eclectic Hubli landmark that not only serves delicious coffee beverages and food, but also provides customers with a unique and meaningful experience.

VRL Logistics
VRL was founded in 1976 by Mr. Vijay Sankeshwar in Gadag with just a single truck and a bold vision. VRL gradually expanded its services to Bangalore, Hubli and Belgaum. From this humble beginning VRL has today grown into a nationally renowned logistics and transport company which is also currently the largest fleet owner in India with 3673 Vehicles (including 533 tourist buses & 3140 Goods Transport Vehicles) as of August 31, 2013.

Shikshana Foundation

India is a developing country with a large and growing population.  The challenge of providing primary education to about 250 million children in over 30 different languages is a task that stretches the capacity of any single agency - private, public or the state.  The Sikshana Foundation employs a model that brings together all stakeholders in children's education - the local public school, its teaching staff, its community of parents, local government bodies, private foundations and volunteers from around the world.  .

The State Government of Karnataka has an “adoption” program for its public schools wherein private organizations can partner with the state to improve the quality of public education. Sikshana started by adopting three schools in 2001. The project has since expanded to more than 400 schools throughout Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

Sankalpa Rural Development Society (SRDS)
Water plays a vital role in the ability of communities to thrive, but increasing water scarcity throughout India is threatening the development of rural communities across the country.  Mr. Sikandar Meeranayak founded SRDS in January 2008 with the vision of promoting development and ending water scarcity through modern-day rainwater harvesting. Staffed with experts in the field, SRDS strives to create and spread awareness about rainwater conservation practices and explain why protection and recycling of water is essential to our wellbeing. Using proven techniques of rainwater harvesting and exclusively practiced innovative techniques, SRDS works to resolve water-scarcity issues for rural and urban communities.


Shree Kshethra Dharmasthala

The word 'Dharma' traditionally means religion, ritual, duty, righteousness and alms. It also implies justice truthfulness, freedom from fear, faith, solace, fulfillment and peace. 
Dharmasthala is the prefect embodiment of the word 'Dharma' for it displays every shade of meaning with which the word is inspired from. The greatness of Dharmasthala, however, is the fact that it has added an active element to 'Dharma,' which touches the lives of people with a transformational directness that is unique. Many institutions are running under the initiative of holly Dharmasthala. SKDRDP is one of its most popular a charitable trust promoted by Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade. SKDRDP concentrates on the empowerment of rural women by organizing Self-help Groups (SHGs) on the lines of Joint Liability Groups (JLBs) of Bangladesh and provides infrastructure and finance through micro credit for the rural people. It is currently engaged in developmental activities in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Coorg, Shimoga, Chickmagalur, Dharwad, Haveri, Gadag, Tumkur and Belgaum districts operating in 8,000 villages covering more than 17,50,000 families.

SKDRDP today works on a wide spectrum of development activities including training and capacity building, transformation of technologies from lab to land, financial inclusion,  de-addiction and  livelihoods. It has a client base of 30,00,000 families in Karnataka covering 25,000 villages and 200 urban centers. An annual credit disbursement in excess of Rs 25000 million has made it the biggest financial service provider in the country in the non profit sector. It has also interesting health, life insurance products.

Akshaya Patra

Close to 13.5 million underprivileged children in India are out of school and into child labour in order to earn a single meal in a day. The surest way to break out of the cycle of poverty is through education. Education can significantly improve the quality of life of a family for generations to come. When the basic needs of a child, such as food are not met, education often becomes the last priority.

Akshaya Patra is helping underprivileged children by providing them with a healthy, balanced meal that they would otherwise have to work for. The meal is an incentive for them to continue their education. It helps reduce the dropout rate to an enormous extent and increases classroom attendance.

Agastya runs the largest hands-on science program in the world!
Tapping the valuable resources of bright but underprivileged children and teachers in rural India, they provide an environment in which they can create, thinker, seek solutions and find them. Agastya encourage inquire from children, who are inquisitive by nature! Help millions of disadvantaged, vulnerable and at-risk children to escape the vicious cycle of ignorance and poverty! Make a donation to support our work!

Agastya is a movement led by entrepreneurs, educators, scientists, teachers and children to revitalize and transform primary and secondary education in India and provide an affordable education model that can be replicated anywhere in the world.

Through interactive high-impact grassroots education, Agastya aims to inspire and catalyze effective and widespread social development, innovation and leadership.
Manipal University

In the 58 years of existence, Manipal University has emerged as the leading higher education provider in India.  Spread over 600 acres of green expanse, Manipal University is home to 26,000 students pursuing undergraduate and post graduate programs in diverse subjects. The University has a strong alumni network of over 83,000 members.

The University has created an ecosystem of teaching and research excellence making it a universally accepted destination by students.   The breadth of disciplines and collaboration among constituent institutions gives unparalleled opportunity to students to cross departmental boundaries and explore different horizons.


Visvesvaraya Technological University

Established in 1988, VTU is one of the biggest technological universities in India, maintaining affiliations with 208 colleges.  With an intake capacity of 67,100, VTU and its affiliated colleges boast 28 undergraduate courses and 71 postgraduate courses.  The university is headquartered in Belgaum and has three regional centers located in Bangalore, Gulbarga, and Mysore. At present, VTU has 13 QIP centers and 17 extension centers.  Additionally, it has more than 2,305 departments recognized as research centers in different cities throughout Karnataka.  The university has signed MOU's with various leading organizations including but not limited to IBM, Intel, Asia Electronics Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Ltd (India) and Microsoft.  

VRL was founded in 1976 by Mr. Vijay Sankeshwar in Gadag with just a single truck and a bold vision. VRL gradually expanded its services to Bangalore, Hubli and Belgaum. From this humble beginning VRL has today grown into a nationally renowned logistics and transport company which is also currently the largest fleet owner in India with 3673 Vehicles (including 533 tourist buses & 3140 Goods Transport Vehicles) as of August 31, 2013.

4 Response to Recap: LEAD Prayana 2014

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June 24, 2017 at 3:55 AM

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