Ashoka India: A Summer Internship in Bangalore and Beyond
The WorkVenture and Fellowship are the flagship programs at Ashoka India.This summer I was an intern for these programs, which work tosupport and network social entrepreneurs all around India (andaround the world).During my 10 weeks in India, I worked on a variety of projects, including: Preparing for and facilitating a on-site meeting of Ashoka Fellows to discuss solutions to malnutrition Editing Ashoka literature and online content prior to publication Creating supplementary literature designed to assist Ashoka Venture Partners in identifying Fellowship candidates Designing and collecting data for a comprehensive, up-to-date FellowshipDirectory Writing a research and interview based article for Ashoka’s Fellowship magazine
I had the great fortune to travel extensively during my internship, mostly onthe weekends. Through an agreement with my supervisor, Ira, I was able totake a whirlwind trip to Rajasthan and Agra with Trap Yates ‘14, anotherPrinceton Intern at Ashoka. I’ll never forget it!
Working with AshokaThe most rewarding part of working with Ashokawas being treated like a full-fledged member of theteam, not just as an ‘Intern’.From my first day I felt I was given the full trust andconfidence of my coworkers, a phenomenal groupof friendly and supportive people from around Indiaand the world.
Traveling with the Fellowship team to an on-site Health Initiative meeting of Fellows.
Impact at AshokaI supported Ashoka’s Fellowship and Venture teams in a widevariety of essential projects, including:Data Collection Publication Design Publication Editing Article Writing Fellow Meeting Organization/FacilitationWorking with these projects, I feel I brought my own knowledgeand intuition to Ashoka’s collaborative table. I was able to advanceAshoka’s work with their Fellowship community and contribute tothe discovery and success of new social entrepreneurs who willchange thousands of lives.
A wild trip to Kashmir, the contested northern state nestled in the Himalayas between India and Pakistan, was a both beautiful and chilling glimpse into another world.
Future ImpactAlthough it will take a long time for me to fully digest the vast experience of thissummer, there are several ways I can say with confidence that it has impacted myfuture, both by sparking new interests and providing invaluable work experience: It sparked in me a new interest in social entrepreneurship and especially social business. It familiarized me with a real office work environment, providing practical experience in office dynamics and responsibilities that I can carry with me for future employment. It gave me my first experience doing the research, interviewing and writing necessary to produce an approachable but academic article for a professional grade magazine. It immersed me in India’s non-profit world, fueling my desire and passion to bring positive, large-scale change to the world.
Jaipur, Rajasthan was a place of elephants, heat, and the Maharaja’s Amber Palace.
GrowthMy time in India was filled with incredible experiences – eating new foods, seeingmagnificent palaces and temples, exploring the winding streets of Bangalore andalleys of Jodhpur. Most important to me, however, were the new people I met. Fromthese meetings grew a realization that has completely transformed the way I thinkabout ‘others’, especially about the poor and the suffering around the world:People are people, no matter where you are. We all love and laugh and live in a waythat unites us in an inexplicable common humanity, even while the details of ourcultures, circumstances, and beliefs are incredibly diverse.This trip brought me to realize how similar I am to the auto-rickshaw driver in Kerala,and to the shopkeeper in Jodhpur, and even to the children playing in the dirt underthe overpass beside the Ashoka office.I do not mean to belittle the struggles of their lives, nor take for granted the manyriches with which I am blessed (by only fortune of birth). To the contrary, myexperiences in India have vastly expanded my appreciation for both. What I mean isthis: India taught me that we are all more than those factors of circumstance; weshare a basic library of emotion and fundamental human experience that relates us allto one another.This realization will drive the work I do for the rest of my life.
This summer would have beenimpossible without Princeton, IIP,my parents and friends, and theincredible people of India andAshoka. Thank you all so much.