Two 20-year-olds- Lavanya & Aarushi bringing a change by helping people in need by their initiative

With a view to give back to the society, two 20-year-olds have stepped forward in these difficult times, to bring the change they wanted to see in the world by their initiative Khwab- The Rural Project.

Two 20-year-olds- Lavanya & Aarushi bringing a change by helping people in need by their initiative

About the visionary founders

Lavanya Gupta, apart from being a co-founder at Khwab, is currently pursuing Political Science Honours from Delhi University. The young founder is also serving as the social media head at the Women Empowerment Cell of the National Service Scheme (NSS)

While she was in school, her knack for understanding the cultures of various countries took her to places like Ireland, Japan, New York and so on.

Lavanya’s friend and co-founder of Khwab- Aarushi Lohia, is majoring in history and political science from the University of Toronto, Canada.

She is a classical Kathak dancer and never ceases to learn. She gains valuable information from different sources, be it books, YouTube or any other. She believes that there is no barrier to learning if you have the will to do it.

Khwab- The Rural Project

Khwab is a one-and-a-half-month-old youth-led organization with the aim to better the lives of the underprivileged by creating sustainable employment and providing financial assistance to those in need alongwith supplying dry ration and essential medicines.

The project started by providing relief packages across the country during the testing times of the pandemic.

The idea of Khwab took root when Lavanya witnessed the suffering of people during the COVID pandemic and the havoc that it wreaked in rural India which took a toll on her. She expressed this to Aarushi who also felt the same and they set out to provide the struggling people with a ray of hope. This is how Khwab was born.

Operations performed under Khwab

“The first village that we touched under our rural project was the village called Deara in Uttar Pradesh. We received funds worth ₹1 lakh which we entirely invested in uplifting the villagers in Dera,” Lavanya said.

After that, they helped out more villages like Makhra in Bihar, sister villages in Assam- Hatimuria and Kalshilapara and a non-electrified village in Assam named Sattargaon which has been receiving aid from the UNDP. In Sattargaon, the project is helping in the improvement of the handloom industry. by providing them with the required funds from reputed financial institutions.

Apart from this, they also organize diverse workshops on topics like acupressure, make-up and so on. This is also one of the ways they raise funds, by imparting relevant skills to people and collecting a fee from them, which makes Khwab stand out.

Challenges faced

To begin with, collecting funds from people posed an obstacle because the people have been participating in fundraisers, charities since the pandemic began and there comes a saturation point when people resist giving out any more contributions. Since Khwab started a month-and-a-half ago, most people were already exhausted from contributing towards such initiatives, forgetting that there are still people who need our help.

Differentiating Khwab with any other non-registered organization also poses a challenge. There are countless social media pages of various social service organizations but not all of them are equivalent to what Khwab does.

Moreover, considering the fact that a couple of 20-year-olds are trying to make it big in such a short period of time makes people think they are over-ambitious and eventually, it won’t work out. However, Lavanya’s and Aarushi’s dreams were way stronger than the contentions.

What keeps them motivated?

Lavanya remarked, “Just the sight of the helpless villagers that we cater to acts as a driving force for us.”

“The working of the organization does take a lot of effort from our side, but the thought that the result of our determination would bring a smile on someone’s face is nothing less than a powerful motivating factor,” she added.

Most importantly, during their operation in Sattargaon, they came to know about the plight of the residents- how they have been displaced from their homes and now have no income due to man-elephant conflict. Despite such desperate conditions, the villagers never asked for help from the organization. “Understanding how much people needed our help without them even telling us kept us motivated,” Lavanya said.

Future plans

The organization will persist with their aim of creating basic sustainable employment opportunities across the country with the help of public and private sectors and connect with more villages that need assistance.

It is also trying to reach out to companies to carry out their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities in these areas.

“It is very easy to talk about the pain in other people’s lives, but the change comes from within- when you start feeling their pain in your hearts and start empathising with them,” Lavanya and Aarushi advocate.