(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)
Ganderbal- The Department of Management Studies (DMS) at CUK, Ganderbal, in collaboration with The Village Academy at Sagg Eco Village (Sagg) and Mool Sustainability Research and Training Center (Mool), Ganderbal, Friday launched two of its flagship clubs – RACHRAAV (preserve in Kashmiri) and TABSUR (to reflect in Kashmiri) to promote dialogue, reflection, and action on ecological awareness and ecopreneurship among its students.
The event brought together a diverse audience and saw participation from all stakeholder corners – students, researchers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and educational administrators.
The program began with introductions, followed by a spirited panel discussion, a presentation by student teams, and an eco walk.
In her introduction to the event, Mir Insha Farooq, Faculty, DMS, and coordinator of these clubs stated that the purpose of these initiatives is to strengthen the sense of connection among students with ecology and nature. The initiatives will also work towards building entrepreneurial capacity among the students.
She stated that the launch is the beginning of this journey and students will continue to benefit from the experience and mentorship of the entrepreneurs present at the event through a calendar of activities that the clubs will undertake.
Fayaz Ahmad Dar, Founder and Chief Instructor at The Village Academy at Sagg, in his address welcomed all participants and reiterated that the mission of RACHRAAV, TABSUR, and Sagg are aligned. He encouraged students to look at every challenge as an opportunity to build their success. He also stressed upon the need to view culture and ecology as the biggest resources available to humans, and how our living can become easier if based on the principles of nature.
In his remarks, Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, Faculty, DMS, stressed upon the need to transform ideas not just into a 'business' but an 'eco business.' He appreciated CUK for its support towards initiatives that expose students to such learning.
This was followed by a special address by Prof. M. Afzal Zargar, Registrar, CUK, who congratulated the team at DMS for conceptualizing and initiating RACHRAAV and
TABSUR. He encouraged students to 'think differently' and referred to Sagg Eco Village as an example. He also regarded the event as an example of practice – based learning for the student community, as also propagated in NEP 2020.
Dr. Mir Insha Farooq appreciated the ideas shared by the esteemed speakers. She reiterated that the launch is the beginning for the road ahead where the clubs envision to organize theme-based events and activities around ecological preservation and entrepreneurship.
The panelists for the event included Mr. Fayaz Ahmad Dar (Founder, The Village Academy at Sagg Eco Village and Mool Sustainability Research and Training Center, Ganderbal), Ms. Insha Mir (Founder, EcoKash), and Ms. Afshan Burza (Founder, The Club).
The discussion began by the moderator, Dr. Mir Insha Farooq, inviting the panelists to share some highlights on their entrepreneurship journey. The panelists also shared their top learnings and advice for the audience.
Mr. Fayaz Ahmad Dar sharing his entrepreneurship journey with the audience.
While reflecting on his journey, Mr. Fayaz Ahmad Dar (Founder, The Village Academy) stated that his diverse set of lived experiences while growing up in a farmer family in Ganderbal and beyond in different spaces including in India and abroad provided a design for his entrepreneurial ventures now. He shared that the practical work began in the year 2010 with a participatory action research project. In this journey, he found out that people wanted initiatives that would protect environment and culture and could cater to a holistic lifestyle. This is what led to his current vision of building integrative and regenerative lifestyles and communities.
The three important advices he shared, which have helped him immensely in the journey, were the ability to adapt to any situation; the ability to work irrespective of the rewards in return; and the faith/trust to go beyond and explore the unknown. These experiences have also helped shape the coaching and consulting programs that The Village Academy offers now for self designed success based on integration of time tested cultural wisdom and cutting edge scientific discoveries.
Ms. Afshan Burza sharing her entrepreneurial journey with the audience.
Ms. Afshan Burza (Founder, The Club) began by sharing the challenges she faced as she started her initiative. She stated that her own experiences have motivated her to devise a space for women to make a purchase of the items they require in a comfortable manner. She also spoke about the importance of trust building with one's clientele. In her advice, Ms. Burza reiterated the importance of consistency, focus, and negotiation in building a flourishing business.
Following that, Ms. Insha Mir (Founder, EcoKash) spoke about her journey. She recollected how every experience made a contribution to where she is now. In particular, she spoke about two pain-points that made her start her own enterprise – first, handicrafts have been invaded by machine craft. Second, there was a lot of negative environmental impact which needed to be addressed in some way. Therefore, the focus of EcoKash is to work in sustainable fashion that is environmentally friendly. She discussed the challenges at length. She also reiterated the importance of perseverance if one is ready to work on their idea.
Following lunch, there was a detailed round of questions and answers. The questions asked ranged from the kind of outreach strategies panelists employ in their work to the most important ingredients of building an entrepreneurial venture. To one such key question about the need for capital, Mr. Fayaz Ahmad Dar (Found, The Village Academy and Mool) responded by emphasizing the role of finding one's 'why' and building an entrepreneurial mindset before anything else to initiate and sustain a venture.
This was followed by presentations from eight student teams. The themes involved identification of a problem within our ecology and proposal of innovative solutions that can help resolve the problem. Students had prepared the work on a range of themes including recycling, solid waste management, preservation of biodiversity, and afforestation.
The panelists provided astute feedback to the teams. Mr. Fayaz Ahamad Dar appreciated all the teams for their efforts at participation and coming forward.
This was followed by an eco walk in vicinities of Sagg Eco Village for students to interact with the local communities and reconnect with nature.
The program created a timely and vital space for our young student community to benefit from ideas, learning, and experiences of individuals and institutions that have made their mark in sustainable entrepreneurships.
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