Published: 03rd July 2019
Here's how these Odisha youngsters raised funds to help the victims of cyclone Fani
Ansuman Mohapatra has represented India in the Harvard Conference, Hong Kong in 2016. Through the organisation, he has impacted 1,500 children
It was just last week that Ansuman Mohapatra, Founder and President of Visionate Youth Organisation met the Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik. It was to hand over the amount raised through the fundraiser he organised in Bengaluru for the victims of Cyclone Fani, which wrecked this coastal state in May. The event itself, which was conducted on June 22, 2019, featured a line-up of various artists and bands from both Odisha and Bengaluru including Odia rapper Big Deal, music composer Tosh Nanda and more. Bands like Girish and The Chronicles, Thermal and A Quarter and Gauley Bhai were also part of the line up. But the event went beyond the format of a fundraiser when Ansuman informed the audience about the natural disasters which have ravaged Odisha in the past and how that has, for some time now, stunted the growth of the state.
Speaking up: Ansuman at the event | (Pic: Ansuman Mohapatra)
This was the organisation's first fundraiser and as many as 300 people were in attendance. "We are planning to make fundraisers a permanent event and maybe next time, we will do something for the youth and education," says Ansuman. And these are the two areas Visionate has been working for since its inception in 2013. The 27-year-old started this organisation when he was pursuing an engineering degree from SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai. The organisation ended up in the top five (out of 153 participants) in the National Entrepreneurship Challenge organised by IIT Bombay and they went on to work in Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Puducherry and more. In fact, Ansuman even had the chance to work under the guidance of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi and conduct life skills workshops for government school children in the union territory. Amassing all this experience, Ansuman, born in the Khordha district of Odisha, shifted to Bengaluru to work as a Technical Consultant for German IT company T-Systems. And he continues to run his organisation, which is registered under Yuva Sangathan, Bangalore Urban, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India.
All ears: Ansuman conducting a workshop at KISS | (Pic: Ansuman Mohapatra)
So what does Visionate do? It conducts free and extensive seven-hour workshops with students, from both schools and colleges, where they are encouraged to form groups and several activities are introduced to hone their skills. The fact that these are group activities is most important, asserts Ansuman. "There are reports that doing activities in groups help with the emotional and performance level of individuals," he says, stating the reason behind their method. Ansuman conducts all the workshops himself, accompanied by a few facilitators of course, and ensures that he builds a personal rapport with each and every participant. He has delivered workshops at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, De Paul School, St Vincent's Convent School Brahmapur and many more, and this is just Odisha we are talking about. "These activities are aimed at making students believe in themselves and in the fact that they can do anything," he shares.
What hit them:
Apart from the recent Cyclone Fani, these are the devastating disasters that Odisha has recovered from:
- 1999 Odisha cyclone
This is known as the most severe storm to hit Odisha in the 20th century, with wind speeds as high as 160 mph. It is said that there were 9,887 fatalities and 8,000 of these were from Jagatsinghpur alone
- Cyclone Phailin
Occurring in 2013 with wind speeds of up to 130 mph, the state government said that as many as 12 million people were affected by it. More than 5,50,000 people were relocated from the coastlines of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh
- Cyclone Hudhud
With wind speeds of up to 115 mph, this cyclone occurred in 2014. A high alert was declared in 16 districts of Odisha and it was reported that two people were killed because of the cyclone
In good company: Ansuman (second from right) with Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi | (Pic: Ansuman Mohapatra)