Ompriya's designs | (Pic: Pencil For Change)
Ompriya's designs | (Pic: Pencil For Change)

Pattnaik Ompriya Mohanty's Pencil for Change is making Odias around the world proud. This is how

"Today, I am a confident entrepreneur, an analytical thinker and an aspiring business leader — the sum of my experiences," says Pattnaik Ompriya Mohanty while talking about his initiatives with us

When it comes to Pattnaik Ompriya Mohanty, we wouldn't know where to begin. It would be suffice to say that he is a man who wears multiple hats. Brought up in Muniguda, Odisha, as a child he used to tag along with his mother, who used to work for UNICEF-funded porjects, and visit tribal areas across Odisha. He grew up never forgetting the lessons he learnt at his mother's side and so, he pursued his post-graduation in Sustainable Architecture and Environmental Design from the UK's University of Nottingham.

While working as an Environmental Consultant in from 2011 to 2013 for the World Trade Center Manesar, Gurugram, he came across children of labourers near the construction site. Moved by their lack of education, he founded Chrysalis Foundation and started conducting workshops for them. And what were they all about, you ask? "The aim was to create an interactive learning environment where kids can relate to stories and pictures and gain knowledge about the world around them so as to develop a sense of right and wrong, all done in a fun and interesting set-up through paintings" explains the architect. 

High-street fashion | (Pic: Pencil For Change)

The paintings they worked on gave them a medium of self-expression and instilled confidence in them. Carrying this forward, when he returned to the UK, he started Pencil For Change. This initiative stands for many things, just like its founder. You can shop for his designs (yes, somewhere in between he started Invoguevari London, his sustainable fashion label) and all the proceeds go towards the education of the underprivileged or helping the poverty-stricken. Or you can opt for the many e-learning courses that are available on the portal that connects teachers around the world to students. From fitness to animated lessons for CBSE classes I to XII, there is something for everyone. And as the website itself will tell you, this particular initiative was started as a "distraction" from what is happening around us and one should use this time to "focus on self". "It's like project lockdown," he shares jovially.

It was in May 2020 that the Immediate Environmental School, under the e-learning courses, was started

So you see, there are many past glories Ompriya could rest on, which includes using Odia calligraphy on fabric to promote Odia culture and working with the Government of Odisha, 25 master weavers and 10 craftsmen to create niche products, like cufflinks made of buffalo horn and bowties with pattachitra motifs, and giving them a global platform. But instead, this entrepreneur believes in reinventing himself every step of the way. As if this was not enough, next he is working on a documentary based on a true story from the LGBTQIA+ community. Before we can ask him for more details, he rushes off to another project of his, promising to let us in on what he is up to very soon.

Ompriya | (Pic: Pencil For Change)

Courses one can opt for on Pencil For Change -
- Odissi dance programmes by Ileana Citaristi, an Italian-born Odissi and Chhau dancer
- Archeology and Eco-Tourism by Jitu Misra, Co-founder of Virasat-E-Hind Foundation
- Artificial Intelligence and Bharatanatyam by Ferin Philipose based in Bavaria, Germany
- Guitar by musician Partha Hazarika

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