Published: 04th November 2020
This organisation in Mumbai trains aspiring Gen Z social entrepreneurs to volunteer for the right causes
TribesforGOOD connects young and socially-conscious children in the city with non-profit organisations who are in need of the talent and can benefit from a few extra hands
A little knowledge is, famously, a dangerous thing. And when it plagues an entire generation, it takes a joint effort to try and spread the right information. When she moved from Ludhiana to Mumbai for the first time, this was the first thing on Mandeep Kaur Jhajj’s mind. “As I was coming from a smaller city, Mumbai seemed very scary and intense. The poverty that you see here is something you can't ignore. And despite the skyscrapers standing tall next to the sprawling slums, many of us know very little about the people living next to us or what they need. How can we help if we don’t know why or how?”
After completing her MBA from Symbiosis in Pune, Mandeep moved to Mumbai for a corporate job. And she started questioning the need to sell the products it was her job to sell when thousands of people were suffering right in front of her. But she believed in her education and decided to use her skillset to benefit those who needed the most help. Mandeep set up TribesforGOOD in 2018 in a bid to connect millennial and Gen Z youth in the city with organisations that were attempting to solve real-world issues.
VISIT VOICE: 1,500 young people have been conducting digital field visits
“What we are building is a platform targetted at these generations of people who are digital activists,” she explains, “They are always active online. Anything that happens, be it locally or globally, they have a say in it. Young Indians are so vocal about Black Lives Matter when most of them know so little about the casteism and other biases that exist in our own society. What is happening here is that people are simply picking and choosing issues without attempting to know more about them. The main problem that this generation faces is that they don't know how to act. They want to give back but don't have enough knowledge to do so.”
This is where TribesforGOOD catches the most committed young volunteers. If a student hopes to volunteer in their school but doesn't know where there help is needed, they can sign up with the organisation. Here, they are trained and sensitised to what services are necessary in each sector including gender equality, climate change and so on. Since the pandemic began, more than 1,500 young people have been conducting digital field visits with over 80 organisations in and around Mumbai.
DIGITAL DOERS: The changemakers use their digital know-how to share stories
Mandeep says, “You have to give them that direction and expose them to multidimensional content. If you're looking at gender, you need to know the intersectionality of the issue and how it may impact each individual differently. After that, they have the option of working on a live project with a non-profit or they can start something of their own. When it comes to live projects, we have mapped the areas where their help will be needed. These are all understaffed organisations where, especially after the impact of COVID-19, the funds have dried up.”
Most recently, their volunteers worked with an organisations called AfterTaste which supports women from urban slums in the city. They use art as a medium to create handmade products and generate a revenue for the women themselves. The change-makers at TribesforGOOD used their digital know-how to share stories about the women and create Google forms with all their products listed. In a way only a Gen Z netizen can, they summed up the effort saying, ‘Don’t donate money, buy the products!’
What is the impact that Mandeep has envisioned? “There are two main objectives. First, we begin with individuals who want to make a change and make them socially conscious because they are tomorrow’s managers and CEOs. They need to associate with their community in order to be good leaders. And second, through them, we want to bridge the talent shortage that NGOs are facing.”