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Teacher’s Day Special: “I want to build my own unique pre-school, maybe along a beach!”

On Teacher’s Day, Swati from Pune tells us about her journey as a teacher and recalls how her childhood experience as a student moulded her approach later as a teacher.

Please introduce yourself and briefly tell us about your career

I reside in Pune. I am a Pre-School teacher and have been in this profession for nearly 12 years now. I am currently working at Modern Montessori International School. I joined 2 years back.

What made you choose teaching?

I have loved kids from the start! They are the most innocent human beings on Earth. After my graduation in Psychology I joined a Pre-School and loved being with kids and teaching them. I pursued it further and did an Early Childhood Education diploma from Pune and became a full-fledged teacher.

Do you have a ‘philosophy’ as a teacher? Does it keep evolving?

No, I don’t have a philosophy as a teacher. I am a hands-on teacher. I always see my children’s potential and work around it. I believe learning should be done in a fun way and should spread happiness. A child should look forward to coming to school the next day in anticipation of what he/she will learn that day. My teaching methods evolve every day and I always strive to bring new things in the curriculum every day.

Tell us an anecdote from your own childhood about a teacher, favourite or otherwise!

I really don’t remember any teacher because I was a slow learner and was always a last bencher, and a very shy kid. No teacher during that period recognised my slow learning and always told my parents that I am not intelligent. They never saw what my potential is. This stuck in my mind and I decided that when I become a teacher, I would make learning interesting even for those children who are a little special.

How do you think your own approach to teaching differs from your teachers’ in the past? Are we better or worse off now, and are we heading in the right direction?

Like I said earlier, I don’t believe in sticking to some philosophy in teaching. Our teaching methods should evolve according to the current time. I always try to teach children in a new way every time so that they don’t get bored and really learn the concept. Overall, I just want to see my children happy and for them to feel secure in the school surroundings 🙂

I think that we as teachers are heading in the right direction as earlier, some people used to take up this job as time pass, a means to just get out of the house; and just because they loved kids, they used to pursue this profession. The current teachers are really thinking about new ways of teaching, preparing a curriculum according to the children’s intelligence and and thinking of different ways to execute them. Nowadays, they take courses to upgrade their skills and then take up teaching. So that’s good to see. I think we are heading in the right direction to make a better future for kids.

This Teacher’s Day, make a wish! And tell us about it!

This Teacher’s Day, or rather for every Teacher’s Day, I wish that I go one step closer to building my own unique pre-school, maybe along a beach!

Film-Making and Communications: Twin Powers that Can Effect Social Change

Research need not be confined to ivory towers, nor films to Bollywood.  Make them application-oriented; and they can very well be used to our advantage in ‘communications to drive social change’.

Making place for differentiated skill set in communications for social change

Here is a sector brimming with stories waiting to be shared (with stakeholders, or internally), and decisions waiting to be made, (whether in boardrooms or production studios).  We lend the narrative a framework for visual storytelling, and/or collect and analyse hard data from the field, something the decision makers can thoroughly rely on.

Films and its variants for the social change sector

Few formats have the ability to bring an issue to life the way a film does.  Use them to share experiences, explore, persuade, and create awareness.  In a jiffy, your viewer is magically transported to the place of the action – whether in the heartlands of Uttar Pradesh or the highlands of Manipur.

Use films to document processes – either through a fictionalized format or a series of live shoots, you can document the ground work, processes and outcomes of a particular project.  When implementing the same in a new region, simply get your new partners together and watch the film through a neat 15-20 minutes and it tells all.  Films have an added emotional dimension; and case study films give us a peek into the lives of the people we feature.

  

Next, the promotional film creates awareness about a project. Tight and succinct, it can help bring different players of the sector on the same page, share knowledge and perspective, and garner support to work towards a common cause. Finally, when films are made to study impact, it combines perspectives and experiences of people who have benefited from an intervention and also the learning and experiences of the planners and executors of the project.

Research and its applications

Using research is the best way to help organizations invest their funds in the right place.  Use it also to determine the future course of your projects.  By and large, research can be clubbed into baseline or endline surverys, need and impact assessments. While qualitative research comes with smaller sample sizes and uses interviews, case studies and focus group discussions, the quantitative kind uses larger sample size with statistical analysis.  Some situations demand combining the two, and this is where research design comes in.  By using research, a radio station could profile its audience and understand programme preferences, for example.  Or go into the tribal pockets and examine how agricultural patterns have changed – if you’re looking to understand what kind of training would be most suitable for the farmers.

And then there are by-products of these formats: case studies, photo-features, articles, reference guides.  A customized product can emerge using any permutation and combination and even be a stand-alone product. In creating all of this, we combine the academic, journalistic and the creative, drawing from its skills and capacities, values and philosophies. As much as it brings value for the company who employ these skill sets, it creates an equally soul-searching and fulfilling experience for us communication professionals.

International Youth Day 2018: The OP Open Thread on ‘Safe Spaces’ with Mohammed Ali

12th August has been christened ‘International Youth Day’ by the United Nations, and this year’s conversation was around ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’. The UN especially recognises the importance of such spaces as part of the ‘2030 Agenda’ for Sustainable Development.

On Purpose took this opportunity to raise some questions on what safe spaces are and how they can be made to fulfill the intentions with which they are created. The answering voice was that of human rights activist, Special Correspondent Officer in the Department of Women and Children, UN, and manager of two safe spaces in Lebanon and Turkey for LGBTQ refugees, Mohammed Ali, on an open call to questions on a Facebook thread which used the hashtag – #SafeSpaces4Youth.

Let’s catch up on some things that stood out from the discussion:

What Safe Spaces are:

A safe space is a space which caters to specific needs of a certain group of people who are marginalised in mainstream communities. They are free from “racism, bias, conflict, or threat from external forces.” They usually cater to a specific cause and, therefore, a certain group attached to it.

The DAD logic:

Mohammed says that this is the recipe for a safe space that can sustain.

Determination to keep it going no matter what, Attachment with the space and its people, and Dedication to spend time and effort to run the space and seek help from people who are equally “determined and attached” to it. Ambitions and needs of the community are worked on as common goals in a safe space and the will to make a difference should light your way.

It is also crucial that a safe space be free of any personal, communal, racial or political opinions that digress from the focus of the gathering and even hurt the sentiments of some members.

An Emotional Haven:

An emotional safe space strives to work towards supporting individuals emotionally and mentally. The inevitable requirement is freedom from demeaning judgement towards the stories of fellow members and encouragement of conversation around mental health with assurance of confidentiality.

Listening Is Your Way of Meeting Halfway:

Communication is an art form and it can be instrumental in leak-proofing a strategy to make sure it aligns with the interests of the community. Ample field work and one-to-one conversations bring us closer to the simple needs of the group, and just the intent of getting to know the community and their aspirations is a good place to start the conversation.

An Oasis for The Unheard:

It isn’t impossible to imagine an effective space even in the midst of a city like Delhi. A peaceful and green public park, Mohammed mentioned, can be an ideal place to begin a meet-up if the basic elements and principles stand in place. Spaces sometimes can be anxiety-inducing and take a toll on people who are introverts. Change of place is also important, as it refreshes people and their minds. “A potluck can unite people and food brings people together.”

A lot of spaces do not advertise themselves as ‘safe spaces.’ But, many organisations work in collaboration with or run their own safe spaces that can be found online or by getting in touch with them.

Safe spaces are essential because while their existence is a measure of the gap that still persists between communities, it also signifies the extent of effort that a society puts into bridging that gap. They become centers of mental and emotional development and ready people to face life’s challenges. In Mohammed’s words, “Foster dreams and foster spaces, and you will foster great minds.”

Has The Influencer Cat Escaped the Bag?

The On Purpose #CriticalMatters series was started to deliberate on some hard questions. This Twitter-specific brainstorm exercise by us has its interests spread across matters relevant to the field of communications and of our larger goal of championing social change.

On July 6th, the @onpurposecomms handle hosted a tweet chat on a question that so many of us in the communications industry have been mulling over – Is this the end of the influencer era?

Clearly, there were no easy, straightforward answers to be had here! Which is why the tweet chat included three highly-experienced guests, all of whom graciously accepted to be on the panel – Karan Bhandari (@karanbhandari), Arvind Passey (@arvindpassey), and Moushumi Dutt (@moushumidutt).

Karan Bhandari, Head of Digital Marketing at Weber Shandwick and, Arvind Passey, a well-known name in the influencer circuit, aptly put forth that a majority of brands are testing the influencer waters but not many brands are willing to think out-of-the-box and bet huge monies yet.

I can immediately think of brands (in India) like Godrej, Royal Enfield and Nykaa (the e-commerce cosmetic portal) who have managed to build a very loyal community of influencers, who are also their customers. Their entire focus is nothing but enriching the brand experience for their end user. As Brian Solis writes in his research study – The Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing that “this is a call for a new era of marketing beyond influence to improve the journeys for customers and stakeholders everywhere.”

The Current Scenario:

Here’s what is happening. We’ve only become comfortable with the idea of giving access or money to the influencers with very little thought about the benefit to the end user. The impact of influencer content on their followers has reached a plateau and that’s where we’re losing the marketer’s confidence.

  1. Today’s SM savvy audience is well aware that every time an influencer is roped in by a brand, there is a monetary transaction involved and hence, it greatly compromises on the authenticity of the content and the brand. And authenticity can’t be bought. As Moushumi Dutt, a veteran in the communications industry advises brands to choose influencers with care.

  2. Each time, we select influencers for our brand engagement, we make the same mistake of going after the well-networked influencer with an envious ‘follower’ count and reach. As Arvind Passey who speaks for the influencer community states that at times, brands completely negate the maturity of content and their relevance to the end audience.
  3. Influencer engagement is not rocket science. It is like any other relationship that is based on mutual value, and a continued engagement over a period of time. Like Kate Mathews, Strategic PR Director of Stickyeyes says, “Brands need a genuine link with influencers and influencers need a genuine link with their audience, which in turn closes the loop in connecting audience and brand.”

The verdict from the experts? Influencer marketing is here to stay but here’s what needs an ear.

  • If there’s mutual value, it’ll click

  • Don’t be afraid to start a partnership and co-create content

  • Go beyond the follower count! We’ve said that enough

  • It is only prudent for brands to declare the sponsorship openly and voluntarily. It only makes you more credible

  • Keep your end user in mind, before defining your influencer strategy

If you have any thoughts about this blog, do leave your comments below. We’re always eager to chat up! 🙂

 

Find Your Own Calling. Don’t Just Follow Others.”- How Shilpa Became A Popular Mangaluru Entrepreneur

Shilpa quietly walks up to the lectern, her eyes shyly scanning the applauding crowd in the room. She wrings her hands for a few seconds before leaning in and speaking. Her soft-spoken style and calm demeanour stand in contrast to the steely determination she has shown in her life and for which on this day she is at the St. Agnes College (Autonomous), Mangaluru, to collect the first-ever ‘Woman Entrepreneur Award’ by the Ethel Prabhu Foundation.

Set up as a way of encouraging women entrepreneurs from Mangaluru who are below the age of 50, the award is a perfect homage to Ethel Prabhu, who had been an inspirational teacher and a spirited entrepreneur herself. Shilpa, deservedly, becomes the first in a hopefully long line of entrepreneurs who will carry this legacy forward.

The proprietor of the popular Halli Mane Rotties food truck in the city, Shilpa began to forge a path of her own when about a decade ago, she suddenly found herself singly responsible for her young child and her livelihood. From the depths of despair, she found a calling. “I had always been interested in cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I realised then to try to use that skill to earn a living,” she recalled on the day of the award ceremony. Today, her business, run from the belly of a Mahindra Bolero pick-up truck, has become near-iconic. All the press coverage recently caught the eye of Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group, via Twitter, and led to the company investing in Shilpa’s venture through another Bolero pick-up truck to help her expand the business. The new truck will serve more customers in the city, after first undergoing some specific embellishments in Bengaluru.

It has been a heady journey for Shilpa and her family, and she never fails to mention how blessed she feels. It is also a story that has incredible hard work as its basis. The family’s day starts at 7 am. Shilpa’s mother, father and brother are all involved in the goings-on, especially since some recent health troubles have forced Shilpa to slow down and not stand around cooking as much as she used to earlier. All hands get busy in the household, some shopping for vegetables, some preparing the masalas, some readying the foundations of the dishes. Shilpa is the brains behind the culinary details – the recipes and innovations are all hers. By afternoon, the food is ready and carted off to the truck close-by, with brisk business running from about 5 pm to 10 pm. On some days, the food runs out by 9 pm!

Halli Mane Rotties serves an impressive variety of Malnad dishes, with some items dedicated to certain days of the week. Shilpa rattles off a long list of mouth-watering dishes as she explains her work – ragi mudde, donne biriyani, thatte idli, chicken curry – and one can’t help zoning out to imagine the appetising aroma and taste that her food truck must bring into people’s lives! “I am happy to have found an income doing what I love doing. I feel that is important. It should never be about, oh she is doing that so I will do that too and replicate her success. One needs to find one’s own strength and go after that!” Priceless entrepreneurial advice indeed!

‘Woman Entrepreneur Award’ by The Ethel Prabhu Foundation

The Ethel Prabhu Foundation was created to keep alive the memory of an ordinary and simple woman called Ethel Prabhu who was ahead of her times. She stood by these values during her two decades of work as a school teacher across four cities – Equality, Excellence and Empowerment.

Ethel Prabhu was my mother. She passed away in 2001 at the age of 51 due to a cardiac asthma attack. She was a school teacher and had returned from a regular day at work about three hours before she breathed her last. Her life mission had been to give to others, and this had remained incomplete. In order to continue her spirit of serving others, the Foundation was informally established in 2001 in Karnataka with the launch of the annual ‘Best Teacher in the State Award’. This award carries a cash prize.

There are also a few other initiatives that are run by the Foundation to benefit lesser privileged students at the Ferrando Speech and Hearing Centre in Shillong and at St. Aloysius High School, Mangalore. The Foundation also supports students at the School of Communication and Reputation, sponsors prize money at the Knowledge Factory, and the awards the ‘Woman Entrepreneur Award’ in collaboration with St. Agnes College.

The vision for the organisation is that by 2020, there be a dozen initiatives that inspire others to take up similar work. All it takes is determined effort and a few thousand rupees to start. Eventually, these philanthropic activities create an impact and build a set of people who equipped to achieve their goals. Currently, the Foundation makes grants worth Rs 6 lakh annually. These include scholarships, prize money, interest-free loans and knowledge events.

Woman Entrepreneur Award

The late Ethel Prabhu did her under-graduation studies between 1968 and 1971 at St. Agnes College, Mangalore. This year marks 50 years since she first entered college. She was a teacher par excellence and was one of the first Indian women who went as a high school teacher, when barely 24, to Hong Kong to teach English and Social Sciences in 1974. She taught at the St. Joan of Arc School for three years before returning to India.

She was also a closet entrepreneur who made handcrafted wines, pickles and preserves in order to earn extra money so that her sons could have a better life. Her dream was to start her own food business by opting for voluntary retirement. But, she could not realise the dream as her life was cut short.

Since the Ethel Prabhu Foundation supports a dozen causes that have been instituted in her memory, here’s one that will celebrate a woman entrepreneur annually. The Woman Entrepreneur Award is a cash prize of Rs 50,000 to be given to a woman in Mangalore who has been a solo entrepreneur for at least two years and is under the age of 50. The Award will be presented during the annual Mother Aloysia Endowment Lecture at the St. Agnes College in Mangalore on the first Monday of July.

Mother’s Day Special – The Mommy ‘Rules’ I Break

Mums get a lot of attention in early May every year. This has been the pattern strongly for advertisers, marketers and now the new breed – influencers. Apparently, I am supposed to belong to the last category.

To be honest, yes, it is an overdose of mommy videos, campaigns and contests but I do believe yet we need this day to celebrate and to accept ourselves. One, it does open up a lot of conversations, emotions and attempts to recognize moms for who they are and what they do.

I am quite sure I am not the ideal mum as prescribed by the unsaid rules of society; however, I do not aspire to be one!

So here are a few rules that define me as a woman, as an individual and as a mum. With this I also feel it ends in breaking a few rules too.

  1. As a mum, not being aware of everything in life – More often than not, I do admit to my child, I am not aware of the answer to the question asked by him and I do say that I will come back to him with the answer if he is really keen. As curious as the young one’s mind can get, he does come back to check for a few questions, if I have the answer and I do reply as appropriately as I can.

  2. Ditching the stereotyped colours for boys and girls – I remember once in a toy store located on the third floor of a fancy mall, I was browsing through the toys and stationery and so was my kid at a little distance from me.  Soon came the time when my kid decided to have a pencil box that was arranged on the shelf along with others. It was a PINK pencil box. Before I could take it ahead and go to the counter, the sales assistant, watching carefully if the child will pick something or not, rushed to his rescue to help him make an informed choice. She told the boy, “Oh no, pink is not for boys! You can buy the yellow, blue anything else.” It seemed like my boy had made his decision and now wanted a yellow box but not the PINK one. I remember that day, we rode back home with two pencil boxes. It took a long time for my boy just to open the PINK box and find it acceptable on his desk.

  3. As a mum, being not so excellent a cook – If you ask me, I am tired of advertisements which portray mums who love cooking all the time. There can be various reasons for one to dislike cooking and I, too, have my own – primarily because it takes a lot of time from me when I would rather be doing something else. I literally learnt cooking after having my child! Even now, I manage with bearable cuisines being dished out. Yet I have to admit I absolutely love it when my child says he loved the meal I cooked as only I am aware of the amount of effort I would have taken to make something tasty. It is not always in my hands, of course, for it to turn out that way. However, the learning and the acceptance has been that it is fine to have meals that are sometimes boring or bland. Kitchens at homes are not spaces to create magical menus every time or for every meal. Kudos to those who can cook very well every time, but for me as long as I am sticking to a few healthy options in the day, I can’t go further into it.

  4. The ‘Dress-down’ mum – Super mums in films, on television, in glossy magazines, in Bollywood are chic, have super fit bodies and are energetic all the time. I love dressing up and sometimes it can be really weird, according to others, but after a few years into motherhood, I really don’t see why I should strive to be accepted for my dressing sense. There are days when I really take effort and days when I don’t feel like it and what’s wrong with that choice?

  5. Omnipresent mum – Lastly, while I am at home, I have never taken an oath to be around at all times. Recently, I started enjoying my travels, as it was giving me the freedom of solo travelling. However, on a number of occasions, I have loved travelling with my child, too. But, when travelling is not on my itinerary, I do go for theater plays, art exhibitions and to restaurants without my spouse accompanying me or the little one tagging along. I like my space, too, and I think it is fine me not worrying what the next meal for the child should be or worry if the house is in order. As mums, we manage without our partners being around all the time, so it should be so for them as well.

Mums have the special quality of taking on a lot but one must remember, like everything else, motherhood too has changed over the years. We love the identity of being mums but it cannot be the sole identity of who we are.  This, I have learnt by finally accepting myself and through the interactions I have as the curator-content creator and founder of ‘Mums and Stories’.

Mother’s Day Special – Ignore Unsolicited Advice and Keep Motherhood Simple!

Mothers are complex, volatile, apprehensive and extremely emotional beings and I’m no different. Mothers are not perfect but motherhood does come with a lot of self-imposed pressure – to be on one’s toes and know the right thing and do the right thing for the children all the time. If something doesn’t go by the ‘rules’, the ‘big’, ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ guilt sneaks in every now and then.

Tell yourself this everyday – You’re not perfect! Nobody is! And the one rule to being a great mother is that there are no rules! Every child is different and every experience is unique.

Here’s what I’ve learnt from my 3 years of motherhood. And this is not a rulebook, but just my experience of what I’ve learnt to do and not do to myself, to keep some sanity intact in my otherwise eventful life:

1. It’s OK if you don’t fall head-over-heels for your newborn: When I learnt that I’m going to become a mother, I started preparing myself mentally with all the reading up and joining of social groups of first-time-mums, to pick up from their experiences. But I didn’t know what was coming my way until I had my baby and I took a break from work for the first time in 9 years! Reality struck and I slipped into post-partum depression and it turned my world upside down. I wasn’t ready for this change. I felt angry, frustrated, extremely emotional and exhausted. I wanted to run away. I wanted to sleep for days. The change was enormous and I wasn’t ready to deal with it physically or emotionally. Moreover, (this might sound horrible), I did not feel instant love for my baby. I only felt very responsible towards him and took care of him tirelessly. Love happened a lot later and that’s OK. Today, when I look back, I cannot imagine my life without my son. There is no rule that tags you a horrible mother because you took time to come to terms with the new reality. It’s a different experience for every mother and love does happen, sooner or later.

2. It’s OK to put yourself first: Being a mother isn’t easy. Like every parent, I’ve seen my mother juggle work and home and putting me and my needs first. In that process, she completely forgot to have a life of her own. Her world revolved so much around me, that after I got married, she was deeply affected by the sudden void and her recovery was long and arduous. Now, I’m a mother of a 3-year-old boy and I am aware every single day that it is very important to connect with your inner self, give yourself ‘me time’ to feel like any other normal human being. I love my son unconditionally and I will always tend to his needs to the best of my abilities. But, putting myself first doesn’t make me a bad parent. My husband made me realise once that our son will grow up one day and go about living his life independently and that’s the way the world works. Simple.

3. Don’t quit your dreams: As a mother, you have the right to make all the choices that make you feel comfortable and at peace with yourself first. I made a choice to go back to work only after 3 months of having my son. I felt guilty every second of my life, to have left him with a nanny and resumed office-work in full swing, but I learnt to grow out of it gradually. I realised that I cannot stop working. More than financial, it was an emotional need and it helped me get out of depression. It helped me regain my confidence and purpose in life. But, even if you decide to quit your job and be a stay-at-home mother, it should be entirely your choice, without a trace of guilt.

Going back to work was the hardest thing for me but I don’t regret my decision. I continued to work for 3 years thereafter, and now I’m a work-from-home mom. It doesn’t mean that I’ve quit my dreams or am taking it easy at all. But I want to accomplish something else in life that couldn’t have happened without this pivoting. This also allows me to strike a balance between work, self-studying and my son and gives an elevating sense of self-control and freedom.

Motherhood doesn’t mean that you and your baby be joined at the hip and that you sacrifice everything that defines your existence. Do what makes you happy in your head and heart and it’ll reflect positively on your child as well. Ignore the unsolicited advice that interferes with your peace of mind and just keep it simple 🙂

One Year of (Living) ON PURPOSE

One year. The one that just flew by, the one that tossed us, twirled us, threw us from a trapeze and shot arrows at us as we rode into the great, wide, open unknown.

It took a while to let go – but the space in between has been thrilling, hair-raising, nerve-wracking, sometimes (read every day) annoying, but overall – enthralling. It’s like stepping out of the matrix and breathing in the fresh air. You know you could never go back.

ON PURPOSE started as an idea – that communications can drive social change, that if we were clear about our purpose, we’d attract a certain type of people and work and that we could do what we enjoy and make a difference. It was about making choices.

One year later, with 16 clients and 8 team members, we know we’re on to something. It’s not perfect, but it’s something of value. And we’ve created it together. Every time we said ‘yes’ to something we hadn’t done before, every time we said ‘yes, we will’ rather than ‘we’ll try’ and as long as we’re clear about why we’re doing what we’re doing, we’re building shared purpose, together. Here are a few things we’ve learnt in the last year:

  • Clients will pay for differentiated expertise: Today, we have five clients in renewables and have gained considerable expertise in designing campaigns for Central and State governments to drive demand and effect behavior change. We’ve no longer had to pitch for business. We’ve replaced presentations with conversations about how we can work together effectively.

  • Clients will pay for research if it solves a business problem: We’ve conducted research across seven states of India across public and private sector organisations and consumers to understand barriers and motivations in purchasing behavior. It’s becoming the foundation of our strategy and campaigns for clients – local insights presented to clients in the language of the boardroom.

  • Flexible work spaces encourages creativity: We started our business from a co-working space at SOCIAL and meet at a common venue when we need to brainstorm and come up with strategy or creatives. Else, we work from home or from a client’s office in Delhi and Bangalore. It’s helped us maintain positive cash flow without requiring external investment and gives our clients our creative best, without the trappings of a formal office space.

  • You don’t need a formal background in PR to be successful in communications: Someone took a risk with me more than a decade before. I’d switched careers from hospitality to PR, post MBA and have never looked back. Today, 50% of our team is working in communications for the first time. We have an ex-street theatre activist, an ex-Goldman Sach’s employee and journalist, a development sector researcher and film-maker and the diversity is helping us deliver campaigns that reflect the diversity of audiences our clients need to reach.

  • We can work independently, yet be part of a team: 75% of our team have more than ten years of professional experience. We bring specialist skills together to deliver integrated content-driven work for our clients. That means we don’t need to necessarily supervise each other or work in the same location to deliver different requirements for a client, brought together by a single lead.

We couldn’t finish a first year anniversary post without thanking everyone who’s taken a leap of faith with us. We’re incredibly lucky to have attracted a set of extraordinary people with raw talent, attitude and unique quirks that allows to connect with each other as people first and then as professionals. We’re also grateful to the clients and industry peers who’ve supported us so whole-heartedly. We’d need to thank hundreds of people for every email, coffee, recommendation and good word you have put in for us. We hope someday to be able to repay you, or better still, pass it on

We’ve started our second year even more committed to social media than ever. Read more about our first Open Mic session to break stereotypes in our lives, how we spent our first year anniversary in Bangalore playing games in a community library and look out for our first tweet chat of the year in a series called #CriticalMatters coming to your newsfeed soon.

If you have any thoughts or ideas of how we can make ON PURPOSE a stronger force for social change in India, we’d love to hear from you. Do drop a comment or share further if you’re so inclined. Thanks for reading this and for your consistent support. We couldn’t do this without you!

One Year of ON PURPOSE – Talking About Breaking Stereotypes

An ice basket full of bubbly was ready, the house had been cleaned within every inch of itself and since we were in CR Park, local street-food dominated the menu. We just couldn’t wait! For what you may ask? An evening of revelry with some friends of On Purpose!

We were celebrating one year of On Purpose. One year of helping brands articulate their purpose. One year of working out of unconventional places. One year of choosing to work with interesting, inspiring people. And as we reflected on the year that was, we realise that one of our favourite bits was striving to take a stand for social issues and change-making. Our campaigns, where we interacted with like-minded people to discuss social issues, were fun, which is why, our celebration became another opportunity for us to gab away with some amazing people in an open mic format!

The guest list was small yet significant. We had invited friends, ex-clients who had become friends, ex-colleagues and pretty much anyone who had words of encouragement for us during our first year! What we didn’t anticipate though was a hailstorm an hour before start time. As the strong winds blew and the city came to a halt with broken trees and crazy traffic, a few brave souls made it to CR Park. To each of you, we’d like to extend a deep thank you!

We thought we’d have to urge people to speak, but were we wrong! A room full of strong, independent women with opinions – add a question to the equation and everyone was engaged! 

Even though we tried to follow a trajectory of questions, ‘What do stereotypes mean to you?’, ‘How do you think you’ve broken a stereotype?’ etc., the evening took its own course. We relived childhood memories shaped by stereotypes – two young girls not given the correct information by the kite vendor because girls don’t fly kites (obviously!). Experiences in our education/ career paths of dealing with stereotypes (Psychology? but why?!). Advice on motherhood shrouded in stereotypes (You have a son, why do you need to adopt another child? A girl?). We tried to delve deeper into our conditioning of these stereotypes.

While the whole evening was very casual, one of our friends, Pratiksha Tewari, a child psychologist, feminist, prone to writing verses on paper napkins and willing to get paid in food, took the time out to pen down a little something for us:

Hide behind a smoke screen

Keep my name out of the papers

Be called a victim or survivor

As per your convenience

I won’t.

Drop out of school

Not play with my friends

Hear my mother being criticised

For wanting to raise me as an equal

I won’t.

Be the next name for whose justice

You go on a hunger strike

And watch you easily shun

Another me behind the camera

I won’t.

Have you take away

My pain, my humiliation, my hurt

Because I knew the person

Who stole my agency

I won’t.

Be questioned on the authenticity

Of my despair, my wounds, my cries

Because the finger points

At the respectables in my family

I won’t

Cry as I share my story

Look like I wear a shroud of shame

Letting the abuse be everything

That my life will ever be about

I won’t.

It was an amazing evening, where champagne flowed, food was delicious and laughter abundant! Thank you, everyone who made it, for making it special. And everyone who was there in spirit, cheers!