By Nitish Mehta
An old adage says, “A vision without action is merely a dream.” I’ve always been intrigued by social enterprise ideas and their impact on the community at large. Over the years, I have worked on different projects and issues to make a change in the way society works. My one-month internship with Sehgal Foundation has changed the shape of my working technique and ideas. This was the first time I worked in an office setting, following a standard 9–5 routine. Sounds monotonous, right? Well it turned out to be the exact opposite. Walking into the Green Building every morning, I mingled well with the other interns and ended up with good friendships, the coffee machine being the closest of them. Work was fun too. I worked with the Communications team with software called Zoho, a platform with forty applications and multipurpose utility. I studied all the features, handled CRM data analytics, worked on campaign management used for planning and mailing newsletters, and designed posters. Scrolling through contacts and data cleaning improved my accuracy and judgment. Designing work put my creative skills to good use and brought me closer to a hobby I nurtured as a child. The entire team was very helpful and disciplined, providing a warm and productive workspace.
Sehgal Foundation emerged from an idea for impacting our own society in a bigger way. In 2011, when Facebook had taken over the entire world and other platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram were following its path, other initiatives were far away from the world ruled by social media. A grassroots initiative pursued by Sehgal Foundation is community radio. Alfaz-e-Mewat FM 107.8 was started by the organization in Nuh district of Haryana in 2012. The station has given a voice to rural communities in the region. I had an opportunity to visit the Community Center in Ghaghas, a small village on the foothills of the Aravallis. A small setup has one transmission room and one recording studio. The station is run by a staff of five people and reaches more than 250 villages. With more than twenty different programs, the radio channel runs five hours in the morning and eight hours in the evening. The staff has learned so much due to their energy and skills have made the station well-known in the community radios across the nation. Shakir and Fakat, lead staff at the station, gave me insights about the programs and how the recording and transmission work.
Mubina, the caretaker who lives behind the building, learned radio by witnessing the work day in and day out. It was a great to see a local Nuh singer, Niyamat, perform and record songs at the station. The harmonium and table used in the recording added a local touch to his singing.
The peaceful ambience at the center gets its green streak from a nearby crop demonstration plot used for piloting new techniques and methods. Although my internship is over, the experience and memories I am taking with me will stay with me for my entire lifetime.
(Nitish Mehta, a student of BTech Computer Engineering at Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, interned with Sehgal Foundation for the month of June 2019.)