- Rajendra, 31, Pithoragarh
“Before Margshala, I did not know about any formal learning needed to enhance my business prospects and skills. I had never done any market research, but after Margshala I did a lot of it and even started a Facebook page for marketing. The most important lessons for me were on networking and marketing, and that's what I used my seed grant for too.”
- Priya, 23, Pithoragarh
As part of his Margshala journey in 2021, Pramod started his own mushroom business venture. You can read about Pramod’s journey to his first sale here.
Young people in rural India face difficult and sometimes impossible choices like moving to a city for a low-paying job, or staying back in their villages with little to no opportunities for sustaining themselves. Berozgaari and bekaari are unfortunately synonymous with the rural youth experience.
This is especially true for young people born and raised in the remote Himalayan villages of Uttarakhand, where mountains reduce the number of opportunities for the young people. Even today, many villages here are cut off from electricity and roads, while others have to access phone and internet networks from Nepal!
The Margshala Swarozgar Fellowship was born out of an idea that young people - especially in remote and rural parts of the Western Himalayas - should be able to create their own livelihoods opportunities and design resilient futures for themselves. Incubated for the last 3 years by IABT Foundation, Margshala seeks to create and enable sustainable livelihoods by providing training, skilling, mentoring, guidance and support to young people in rural and semi-urban India to further its mission.
Our team brings a collective experience of 25 years of understanding of livelihoods, employment, migration and life skills in India (including Uttarakhand). Margshala Foundation is currently a part of the NSRCEL Impact Orbit Incubation Program at IIM Bangalore.
“Margshala was like a margdarshan (life-guidance) for us. It was more than mere mentoring, I found hope in the program. The best part of the program is that the people who were there for us initially are still there for us, even after the program ended”
- Kishore, 30, Pithoragarh
Our first in-person Margshala event in Pithoragarh – a Local Livelihoods Summit – brought together youth, entrepreneurs and government officials from the region. The event was covered by the National Skills Network in November 2021 - read here.
A Brief History of the Margshala Swarozgar Fellowship
In 2020, we helped 5 young aspiring entrepreneurs from Pithoragarh district start their own businesses in eco-tourism, agri-marketing and digital marketing.
In 2021, we did the same for 15 young people from the region.
Margshala 2021 fellow Sunita has multiple passions and interests. She is a farmer, a para-legal volunteer, and an entrepreneur who runs her own sewing centre. It is driven people like Sunita that Margshala seeks to support. You can read Sunita’s story here.
In 2022, we aim to support 35 aspiring as well as early-stage entrepreneurs from Uttarakhand with mentoring, training and seed grant support.
Help us in helping them. With your help, we'll work with the 35 most promising young women and men from Uttarakhand aged 21-35 years, and support them with training, mentorship and financial support over 8 months to take their rural businesses "from zero to one".
Here are some stories of our past Margshala alumni and how they went forward with their business ideas.
Also listen to our past Margshala alumni talk about their rural entrepreneurship journeys.
Here’s how you can support our work:
1. Contribute financially:
Every small amount will help us reach our goal! If you choose to support us financially, you will receive our gratitude as well as a tax deduction certificate. With your contribution, you will be:
- Directly supporting 35 Margshala fellows entrepreneurs with a seed grant to help de-risk the early stage of their rural businesses (INR 15,000 x 35 fellows = Rs 5.25 lakhs). This amount will be transferred directly to each fellow’s bank account, and Margshala Foundation will guide the fellows to invest this money in the right things - be it on production, packaging, marketing or even registering a business entity!
- Meeting the costs of Mentoring and Learning Exchanges for 35 Fellows to gain practical, hands-on experience from experienced mentors locally and outside Uttarakhand (INR 5,000 x 35 fellows = Rs 1.75 lakhs). Each fellow will be assigned mentors who will guide them on a one-on-one basis on their most pressing needs - be it product development, market research, accounting and budgeting or marketing. These funds will be utilised for hosting 2 mentoring workshops in Uttarakhand (@Rs 1500 per fellow per workshop) and to meet the cost of fellows’ travel to the workshop locations and mentors’ travel to the fellow’ location (@Rs 2000 per fellow).
- Finally, supporting the fellows to pay it forward, through Community Engagement Drives in their own villages. As a Live Action Project during the fellowship, each of the 35 fellows will reach out to 35 community members in their region, and organise an event to showcase the stories of role model entrepreneurs from the region and start a conversation about the possibilities of rural entrepreneurship for supporting the local economy. Through this, not only will fellows encourage collaborative rural entrepreneurship, but they will gain critical 21st century life skills such as leadership, budgeting and public speaking (INR 2,500 x 35 fellows = Rs 87,500).
Your donations will be received by IABT Foundation. We'll send you monthly updates so you know how your support is translating to real-world action, and we'd love for you to engage further by attending our workshops, mentoring our students or just chatting from time to time - you pick how involved you'd like to be!
2. Engage with us: The Margshala family continues to expand every day and if you'd like to volunteer or join us, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org! Find us and stay posted on everything Margshala:
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If you believe in what we do, please share our story with your friends and family. This is as much an awareness campaign as it is a fundraiser!