There are dreamers and then there are doers. The world needs both. In some ways it is serendipity to spend time at SSN because the E Cell members, innovators and student entrepreneurs are a balance of dreamers and doers. What else explains their vision and the steps taken to make it happen. This year, the team decided to continue on the successes of last year by focusing on small but quality projects.
Our time at SSN began with an introduction to the batch of biodiesel they had made from ‘used’ cooking oil. Claiming this to be the second best method of making biodiesel, the team explained the process from gathering the raw materials –in this case all members of the Lakshya team (SSN’s E Cell) brought used cooking oil from their homes. After many trials and errors which included arriving at the right proportion of the different chemicals used, the team was able to filter a small batch of biodiesel. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the eco friendly diesel, they had drained out all fuel from a tractor (hired from a local farmer) and into its fuel tank they poured a concoction of biodiesel and diesel. And yes, the tractor started and even carted a load of students around.
The success of an idea especially a green one depends a great deal on the distribution. The team pitched their biodiesel to Southern Railways who have promised to implement a workable solution of the biofuel.
The team wants to empower women from rural areas by introducing them to crafts that have a market. Of the many crafts, they are positioning terrariums as a craft that has a ready market. Terrariums are enclosed gardens generally in used bulbs, soda bottles etc. The team has pitched the idea to the Director of Khadi Crafts who has expressed interest in giving the terrariums shelf space in their stores.
More than their projects, what strikes me is the thought they have put into their approach. They want to stay small, scale and focus on impact. After all, the Lakshya member chorus, “It’s not about one week in the year. We want to do this all year round.”