Vision is everything. Having goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
Sahithi Divi is the Director of Mohanam Village and Heritage Centre, Founder @impactscientist, a Tedx Speaker, and Rural Innovator. She is also the National Brand Ambassador SDGs (CIMSME)and was also mentioned in Forbes 30 under 30 special mention. Her goal is to bridge between the rural and urban women entrepreneurs, educate people about gender equality, and succeed in reaching her Goal number 5 of Sustainable Development Goals.
Here’s where it all started…
Sahithi once came to her grandfather’s village from Bhopal for her summer holidays. He was the one who adopted a few activities by himself and helped the village in constructing a school, libraries, and so on. As a child, it was the first time Sahithi saw such an excellent service. She understood that every individual could do something for society that can significantly impact if it is indeed a collective effort.
If this was one end, the other involves her father. He was into entrepreneurship and was the CEO of Spencer Retail. As he also worked with ITC before, he was present while creating brands such as Ashirvad. Also, when Sahithi was in her tenth, her father studied Executive MBA in IIM, Ahmedabad. Furthermore, her mother grew up with 14 dogs in her house. “You know like these micro-details from both the ends, business, and social impact made me this person,” expresses Sahithi.
From Pharmacy to Business..?
Sahithi added, “As I am a creative person, I sometimes cook over everything, and I also didn’t have much interest in Pharmacy.” So after completing her Bachelor’s in the same, she thought of being educationally equipped with a degree that can give her a structure to scale up her thoughts and create them into products and services for the rest of the world to access her experience. And that was Masters in Social Entrepreneurship, which she graduated from Hult International Business School, San Francisco. As it was her interest subject, she soon completed it and returned to India to practically apply her skills.
How did her ideas come into implementation?
Unfortunately, she felt empty as the social impact space was shallow. She observed that in India, it was all about Social Impacts or Non-Profit Organizations. But due to her Masters, Sahithi had an in-depth insight into Sustainable Development Goals, what is Sustainability, how are people and the planet directly proportional, Consumerism, Social innovation, and a lot more. These helped her to structure her thoughts and experiences well. She wanted to use her expertise in real-life problems, so she traveled to Sri Lanka, which is no different from India. Sahithi did a United Nations Development Project for two months, teaching the local village dwellers, schoolgirls in cities, and churches about sex education. She was also getting comfortable with the social impact space of the developing countries.
Coming Back to India…
Even though Sri Lanka was similar to India, her travel helped her self-discover what she wanted to do and her mind. So, after returning, she joined Chezuba, an online volunteering company that provides online volunteers to NGOs worldwide. As the Head of Partnerships, she got a chance to explore so many NGOs, social impact organizations, and individuals. People interested in volunteering, what are the skills nonprofits meet and where is the money going in the non-profits, are we able to measure the impact or not, and many more. Sahithi completed her Executive Education on Sustainable Business Strategies from Harvard University Online and earned a Practitionership Certificate for Design Thinking. Moreover, she wanted to document her thoughts and be a blogger. She started writing stories on Sustainable Development Goals (mainly on Goal No 5), Numbers about Women’s employment and where’s equality missing, why is employability not proportional to education, the literacy rate in the country. She believes that everything is interrelated. “I tried to put all thoughts and wrote about women entrepreneurship, women artists, women actors, basically, women from various segments and fields who are achievers in their skill.”, says Sahithi. Even when Covid occurred, she didn’t stop. She continued writing on Sustainable and Social entrepreneurs from across ten countries who were her classmates from Masters.
A Voice for Women
Later, Sahithi moved from Hyderabad to Rajahmundry. She worked with all the supply chains, including women working with broom making, brick making, cashew nut industry, mango jelly, bamboo art, handlooms. She also did some business by taking them and selling them online on her website. She understood how the sales cycle worked for them and what the main points were. “I felt like I wrote and met successful women entrepreneurs, and on the other hand, I met women on the bottom of the pyramid, and now I want to be in a place where I can become a bridge for both.”
And that’s how she became a platform, an influencer, and a voice for the women and the products in Rural India, providing them Global Recognition, writing their business model out, and promoting their products and services. So, she shifted from Andhra to Auroville, a Global Experimental Township, Tamil Nadu. The Central Government governs this beautiful place, and it is the only place where fifty different country people live, and more than a hundred various social enterprises are present. Presently, Sahithi joined as the Director for Leading NGOs in Mohanam Village and Heritage Centre, Tamil Nadu. Both are on the same page, so they came to help each other, amplifying the role together.
Bringing a change is what she strives for. We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.