When in first or second year of law school, all we can think of is getting an internship! The endless search for law firms, advocates and NGOs looking for interns on Lawctopus.com. But how many of us were able to conceive the idea of serving the society at such a tender age?
Meet Ishanth, the 20-year founder of not just one but two non profit organisations based in Dehradun!
COVID affected most of our lives but did we affect anyone’s life in COVID? To think of serving in the most dire of conditions the world has seen, is in itself a brave move! I was able to get in a conversation with the founder of Shuruwat Foundation and Youth Warriors Foundation. Keep reading to learn more about how a young man at a tender age of 18 start two non profit organizations!
Tell us about yourself Ishanth! What are you academically pursuing?
I’m Ishanth Bansal and I’m pursuing BA LLB (H) with specialization in IPR from UPES, DEHRADUN. I’m currently 20 and I’ll be promoted to 4th year now. My personal interests include writing, I also got my book published in 2020 with the name, “Do nagme” on the platform “your quote”.
I like to spend my leisure time by recording and uploading my podcasts on various platforms like Spotify, Google podcast etc.
You are the founder of two NPOs at the age of 20. Where did you draw the inspiration to progress in this field at such a young age? How much influence did studying law have on these decisions?
I started my work during tough times of COVID, because it was those times wherein I heard of families parting away, some passing away due to lack of proper medical care. I also realized that this isn’t just about the pandemic but one’s health is directly related to lifestyle — nutrition, physical activity, a healthy weight and restorative sleep.
Since it was my childhood dream to do something for underprivileged people and help the needy as much as I could and so the circumstances that were formulated which included economic as well as health crisis during those days helped me as a motivation to work on my dreams.
The main reason to opted law as a career was because I always aspired to give back to the society in the best possible way and law seemed to be the correct choice of doing so. And I always believe that- “Lawyer ek samaj ka thekedaar hota hai, jo galat ko sahi or sahi ko galat bana sakta hai”.
Describe in detail about both your organizations and their missions. Whose brainchildren are these organisations? When were they institutionalized?
Shuruwat foundation, Uttrakhand was institutionalised in 2019 and Youth warriors in 2021. Shuruwat foundation Uttrakhand aims at human development, environment development, providing food to needy and underprivileged children.
Youth Warriors as the name suggests, works at making our youth capable enough to raise voice against wrongs done against them or towards anyone who they are aware of. Teaching them to not sit mum while wrongs happen in front of them, instead we are making them warriors, because after all, today’s youth is the leader of tomorrow.
We just want to build a healthy environment for everyone who is deprived of their rights.
Why was there a need of Youth warriors foundation with Shuruwat Foundation being already in place? Why did not you choose to merge their ideology in one?
In this growing world, we felt a dire need to empower youth and for that we wanted to work differently and on a different pillar, wanted to cover every aspect to help the society.
The surge in cases of rape, and wrongs against any person made us building Youth Warriors Foundation, wherein we generally focus on empowering children, women and rape victims and for that we need to empower our youth who could raise voice against wrongs and shouldn’t be afraid of raising their voice.
Whereas Shuruwat foundation works on a wider level and generally is more focused on providing basic facilities and amenities to the needy.
That must have been heck of a task to institutionalize such huge ideas! How did you go about registering your organisations? How aware were you of this process?
Yes, of course it was a heck of a task for us to institutionalize our organization because firstly we were very less and not aware about the registration process but we were so dedicated towards our project that we were ready to learn it anyhow just to execute it.
It is rightly said “a goal you just can’t shake, is what life is all about”, secondly we were in need of fund and we didn’t want to trouble our parents for the same. We explained about our initiative to one of our college professor’s, she guided us about the same as to how the process goes and we followed her instructions. We just can’t thank her enough in words.
What challenges did the two of you face while getting yourself registered as an NPO? Take our readers through the entire journey of getting it registered please!
Right, so here comes the most interesting or lets say an obvious part of the starting any project or of our journey. Of course there were challenges, as I mentioned above, those were the major challenges but we were very much confused about starting such a huge initiative. Whether it will be a success or will all the effort just go in vain?
We seriously weren’t confident about the same. We had a fear in the back of our minds, if we were on the right path or not? Will it have an adverse impact on our studies? And so on.. But in the end, every thought was proved contrary or held wrong as we and our team started working towards it and we took it as a motivation and even worked harder for the same.
Please introduce the A-Team of warriors! How did this team come together?
I’ll be introducing you all with my team without whom this wasn’t possible, I have my co-founder, Utsav Tarsolia. We have our operational head, Sakshi Kabra and other members who are working towards this foundation from day one with full sincerity and dedication.
I believe that Teamwork is the best way, wherein everyone tries to cooperate, use their individual skills and provide constructive feedback and also collaborative problem solving leads to better outcomes. We are more likely to take calculated risks that lead to innovation if they have the support of a team behind them.
The best thing about them is that they are never forced to do any task, they work because they want to. They are here because they have that dedication and sense of enthusiasm in them and wanted to serve society and work for some social cause.
They have strong work ethics, they assist each other in everything. The dedication that they put in is something that keeps us going and produce high-quality results. It is just them because of whom our goals align with the goals of our foundation.
What are your major projects that are currently in progress for youth warriors foundation?
We are currently working on Youth Against Rape, child welfare, promoting LGBTQ and their rights, organizing blood donation camps and women’s sanitary hygiene campaigns.
Regarding the Women’s Sanitary Hygiene Campaign, how did this idea come to your mind, especially belonging to another gender? What prompted you to pursue this?
Menstruation does not make women impure! There are several myths surrounding menstruation which in turn have given rise to social, cultural and religious norms that bar women from participating in numerous activities during their periods. They are considered impure and thus restricted from entering the kitchen, temple, etc.
I wanted to start a campaign for women’s health and hygiene during menstruation, but I realized that women themselves lack a proper understanding of why periods happen or what happens to their body during this time and it was very necessary to teach them and make them realise how much menstruation hygiene is important. It is high time that we understand that Menstruation is a human issue and not only a women’s issue.
It is equally important to understand that it concerns hygiene and is not a purity issue. People need to know that menstrual blood is not impure. Just like blood from any other part of the body, once out, this blood too starts decomposing and thus emanates an odor. During periods women, are at greater risk of urinary tract infections due to dampness. Women need to start using sanitary napkins or tampons and regularly change them.
How are you managing to take all these things forward along with your studies? How do you prioritize and invest your energy?
I would not like calling it difficult because this is something that keeps me going. I just want to give my everything towards it and I’m trying my best. Talking about managing my studies, sometimes there arises a situation where I need to prioritize either thing, but I somehow end up managing and make things smooth.
What makes you keep going, Ishanth? What makes you put all the effort in Shuruwat and Youth Warriors, despite of the many obstacles that are thrown your way?
Working with an enthusiastic and a dedicated team and seeing the purpose and goals getting fulfilled makes me keep going and I take this as a motivation to work even more.
How many people has Youth Warriors Foundation served till now?
Really don’t know because we are just going with the flow.
Being students with no primary source of income, how does Youth Warriors foundation maintain its expenses towards the social work you pursue?
We do not have any primary source of income, but we somehow manage it by convincing people to donate for a social cause. There are always some people who wants to help the needy in some or the other way, we just try socialising more and tell people about our project and ask them if they are willing to donate, we have our enthusiatic team of interns (YOUTH) who posses an fantastic ability to convince people, so fund raising is the only solution for overcoming this hurdle on our way.
Where do you see Youth Warriors and Shuruwat foundation 5 years from now?
I think we will be at a great position serving all the people who come our way with having even bigger goals at that time and on our way to achieve those.
Which brings me to this question, what are your teams most immediate projects and services that can benefit our readers?
We are offering internship would be a 4-week online internship which will include four tasks in total, which are as follows: Fund raising, Event management, Editorial and PR& Marketing.
Click here to read more about the internship opportunity at Youth Warriors Foundation.
Ishanth, if there is one thing, one idea that you want to put out there in the world, what would it be? (Your suggestions to our readers)
Only advice to all from my end would be, “HELP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE”, because the secret to happiness is helping others selflessly. And after those tough times of COVID, I strongly believe in that fact that happiness lies in the little things. No matter if you can’t help someone financially but kindness goes a long way. We never know what someone is going through so it’s best to be kind to every person.
Small acts of kindness like complimenting someone, helping the elderly, getting groceries for your sick neighbor, or just sharing verified information on social media can save lives! This pandemic has led to frustration and anger, if we can do our bit to spread joy, then that’ll also make us feel peaceful.
Click here to view the interview of Ishanth Bansal on Shuruwat Foundation.