[Round Two Winner: 1/8] Samik Ghosh – Head Held High: a social movement towards transforming rural poverty
Posted By: Rise Team|Dated: January 18, 2012
Samik is transforming lives in rural India. His results: 300+ villagers gaining English fluency, plus a rural BPO job – in 12 months.
As you watch this, notice a few things:
How his organization changes lives not through any magic bullets, but through incremental gains: teaching people skills and providing them with higher paying jobs.
Even though Head Held High has a social cause, it cannot compromise on quality—it faces the same problems as any other business.
His answer to what was his inspiration to start this organization: he realized he had privilege and wanted to make others’ lives better.
What is Head Held High all about?
The project is about transformation of poverty: taking a poorest of the poor people, who have never been to school, training them in a most unconventional yet very impacting manner in six months, and the provide them an employment in their villages, so that they can earn a decent amount and live a life of dignity.
Samik’s model shows us that there is no magic bullet for a better life, just proper skills training and incremental gains up to a well-paying job.
Tell us about your results.
We did a proof of concept with eight people, taking eight people from various villages, who had never been to school. It was successful because the people who couldn’t speak in Hindi, read and write in their own vernacular, after eight months they could speak in fluent English in front of a public, and then within a year they started working in a BPO organization. And then the pilot with 130 people, and then now with 240 people getting trained, it seems to be no longer a dream, but it’s just a matter of time.
What about your challenges?
While it’s a social cause, but at the same time we have to run this commercial arm like any other BPO organization. We cannot differentiate just because of the social aspect of it.
What was your inspiration to start Rural BPO?
We have seen the poverty, experienced the poverty, and at certain point of time when we came to a stage where we were well-to-do, we realized that we had a chance, we got a chance at that time. Wish we could provide these chances to the people who do not have any hope in lives. If we could impact them, if we could transform them, and provide those people an opportunity, then we could impact the entire population and the economy of India.
While it’s a social cause, but at the same time we have to run this commercial arm like any other BPO organization.
Your experience with Spark the Rise?
Spark the Rise is creating a platform for people like us not just to have a momentum, or gain momentum, but at the same time connect to like-minded people, to take these projects to the different level.
Head Held High Foundation, together with its subsidiaries, works on creating sustainable models for rural transformation. They have developed training programs that seek to identify, empower, and enable the most vulnerable people and communities.
People around the world are living Rise every day - accepting no limits, thinking alternatively, and driving positive change. Do you know someone whose story should be shared, or an organization whose work should be recognized?