Yes, Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful state in northern India. Undoubtedly, The youth are coming up with new projects to make all-round development of the state. In this direction, a lad Amit Sood from Kangra District, H.P. is also doing commendable efforts. He is the founder of an NGO- Himalayan Development & Funding Society. Recently, Sr. Journalist-Author S.S.Dogra- Mg.Editor of Dwarka Parichay Media Group interacted him. Let’s chalk out what Amit says all about his life journey:
SSD: Where you born & brought up?
AS: Born on 9th February,1981. Sir since dad was in Army my birthplace is Udhampur J &K
SSD: Where you got the Formal education-Name your school/college?
AS: Schooling. Kendrick vidyalya Yol Cantt. Kangra HP, College : Hotel management- IHM KUFRI SHIMLA. Then did MBA and few certifications (Symbiosis, ISB)
SSD: Your parents profession (Mother-Father)
AS: Mother is a retired teacher & Father was an Army Officer (passed away in 2011)
SSD: What were your most favourite activities during your childhood?
AS: Swimming in local rivulets, Trekking to Dhauladhar . I have always been fascinated with planes & Bikes.
SSD: What was your ambition to become , just after getting your adulthood?
AS: I always wanted to be an Entrepreneur and social activist so that I can work for my land , my people . It’s still long way to go sir .
SSD: Why have you shifted to your native land, leaving all the luxurious city life?
AS: Sir I still operate at times from Chandigarh but slowly going to increase my time in village to get things on ground quickly . As I’m hopeful that post December, 2020 things will be different . Things are going to change for good. And mental peace I get while I’m in village can’t be explained. So it’s in our heart and soul. I miss the mountain backdrop in city . Luxury is a silent killer so need to moderate that.
SSD: What are your main activities, presently you are involved in?
AS: I have been always eagerly working on social cause around, like was working closely with Chief Minister Himachal on data analysis and getting people back home ( on unofficial platform sharing regular inputs which were duly followed by them which helped thousand of stranded people reach back home. And to shape and scale that up social work have founded a NGO – HDFS ( Himalayan Development & Funding society) and our NGO is registered with Himachal Pradesh Government. Sir, currently, we are working on HDFS NGO- Mask a Human – Project and to add more revenue streams into it.
We initiated a mask donation campaign with internal funds and friends joined hand with help of ladies from our village ( initial members – Charit Kumar, Anjana Devi, Mukul kumar, Manish Kumar ,Pammi devi, & Abhinav ). They all contributed in their own way and strength. Also taking it to national commercial platforms. Secondly village tourism, as I have a feeling post this pandemic domestic tourism on lesser known places like remote villages will flourish rest depends how much we can pull to Himachal Pradesh. At the initial level , there were no funds , where I introduced a concept & started a campaign: “Mask a Human” “Donate a mask” How does this work – we promote this online people donate 50 Rs for a mask which goes to these rural ladies they sew & handcraft a mask which then is distributed to poor by HDFS. So its helps two people at the same time .
SSD: What is your main object of your life?
AS: Sir, my main objective is to see a peaceful happy people till whatever extent I can create that will work towards it will keep touching lives and keep moving .
SSD: Why do you keep yourself busy in Social work? Any specific reason, please explain.
AS: Sir , my father after his retirement , was the inspiration for the same , he use to organize medical and veterinary camps in interior rural areas and that use to really help people , after 9 years of his death people still remember him and come looking for him I think that’s what you earn in your life time ..So that’s my inspiration
SSD: How do you manage your fund whosoever you earn? Please elaborate your source of income.
AS: Sir I worked in corporate for good 16 years now from last two years I have joined hands in 2-3 startup’s one into home stays in Himachal one into digital marketing and offline marketing which is generating my livelihood and growing . Our NGO so far is running on our own funding , once we will get into bigger projects we will approach Govt. I’m sure they will support .
SSD: Any Message for the youth.
AS: Sir, message is clearly on something that worries me. Increase of drugs penetration specially in Himachal after Punjab is worrisome. I request all youth to get engaged in social work it will get you peace of mind for which you get on wrong track, moreover doing for own people will give your confidence back. Have confidence you can achieve what you think of keep long term goals and work towards them. And you will surely achieve. Also request parents let your kids decide their future. Don’t force engineering on them, trust them and support them .
SSD: Your special achievement-during your stay in Himachal Pradesh.
AS: Way to go sir , well in my college days my recipes of salad was shortlisted nationally and our family picture was printed on 10 million packs of Kurkure by Pepsi lays . Rest I’m doing my bit and looking forward to achieve many mile stones with my NGO – HDFS Himalayan Development & Funding Society. Through which we were able to provide some income to rural women by mask making and at the same time we were able to cover more than one thousand people from street labour With masks which they couldn’t buy or afford. So that’s a beginning.
SSD:. What are the main drawbacks (problems) of Himachal suffering from?
AS: Being a Tourism state no proper tourism policy, Poor tourism infrastructure and No marketing for local produce are few major problems.
SSD: How these hurdle can be solved-your insight vision or suggestion?
AS: We hardly get any share of quality tourist because of : poor infrastructure- roads are bad , no Train connectivity and flights are limited to ATR CRAFT OR choppers. So, it’s very important to improve infrastructure & connectivity that’s the Mantra. We have a lot to showcase and sell but we are no where so far – way to go. Need to market our products extensively. One small example is Bhuttico – so your kullu shawl reached Paris through exhibitions. It’s possible just that some work to be done.
SSD: How can employment/income can be generated in the villages of hills?
AS: Sir I believe that we need to showcase our Himachal properly. There’s a lot of undermined potential we just need to focus on villages and we will find so many opportunities. Govt. also comes up with policies but there is lack of communication to the end user. I believe that’s why they are not participating in the main stream. We need these schemes in reverse manner what is required in village scheme should be based on that not that there is scheme by Govt. and we have to work that way.Area of improvement for Govt. We will work on this as well.
SSD: Any future project –you are planning in and around your village?
AS: Yes Dogra sir, Let me elaborate them step by step:
1 Rural tourism – showcasing village , make people work in farm , stay in mud house , let your kids play in the mud , in the field, they see how vegetable are grown , how farmer live , rural crafts. Local fruits , trek . Trail walk … list is endless sir we can show them a new life and at the same time a sustainable village .
2. Herbal / Ayurvedic product including Kangra Tea which was All time favourite of Britishers lacks marketing today , we have so many medicinal plants in abundance but they need to be marketed.
3. Volunteer Tourism – Also working on this , we will get volunteers to build our village – by painting , cleaning , educating our people , setting up IT infrastructure etc. also to skill train locals and make them self sufficient. They will be provided food and stay in the villages.
A way to go sir – I normally don’t seek from politicians but one quote by Mr Lalu Prashad Yadav in IIM Ahmedabad CASE STUDY . Never leaves my mind. For success of Railways he said rural thumbrule is “Agar bhains ka poora doodh nahi nikalo ge to wo bimar ho jayegi”. So we need to utilize all resources To optimum level to make village a Self sustainable. Thanks for motivating and encouraging youth , If we have people like you guiding us I’m sure we will make an Amazing & Incredible Himachal. Jai Hind
SSD: How can a person monitor your NGO’s activities & access you?
AS: Sir this is the age of internet connectivity, Anybody can access us through www.reachhdfs.wordpress.com and contact Email ID:firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us : Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hdfs-109748714094022/, Instagram : Reachhdfs , and communicate any message at our official What’s No.9357333327.