What do you do when you see a bunch of people sitting idle. Get them working on something. This is what Anuradha Tiwari, a mechanical engineer from Delhi, decided to do when she saw people wasting their time in the evenings when it could have been used for something productive. She started a weekend fair known as Sell Your Talent and gave idle minds a productive outlet.
Sell Your Talent is a weekend marketplace for household communities in Faridabad. Every Sunday, people come together and sell their creations which include things like pickles and papads from stay-at-home moms, people teaching dance or even selling their time for tutoring others or helping kids with their homework, sharing their talents like music and so on.
Since its launch two months ago, Sell Your Talent has grown with the participation of over 550 people from the initial 30 people in the first fair and is looking forward to reaching the 1K mark soon.
Born and brought up in Faridabad in NCR, Anuradha has authored a book, Water Burns, and had started a coaching academy named TORQUIES for IIT JEE examination following her frustration with the huge fees demanded by large institutes.
” Apart from the financial factor, many students were reluctant to travel to Delhi everyday especially girls. I hired IIT Delhi engineering students to teach part time to these children and used up all my savings. It was an experiment worth doing as three out of nine students cleared the JEE in six months.”
Once the results were declared there were many inquiries for admissions. And some big training institutes also wanted to acquire it. After a lot of thought, Anuradha sold it to a bigger institute named Satya Studies. Following her success with TORQUIES, Anuradha moved on to start a social enterprise called EIW (Empowering Indian Women) by giving them access to basic education and exposure to an urban lifestyle.
“ I again took the help of engineering students who would go to communities to give them basic education. I had the permission of the Municipal Corporation to use public land for the purpose. I started this in a small town of Haryana, Ballabgarh, and paid students Rs 100 for hour.“
There was a lot of support from the Municipal Council but somehow this did not work out and the number of women attending the classes started declining. People were citing various reasons from illness to pregnancy to death of older relatives.
“I worked on it till the last woman stopped coming,” says Anuradha.
Working on social challenges is indeed difficult.
The best thing about Sell Your Talent is that despite the involvement of so many people every one is very punctual and supportive. Anuradha says, “The enthusiasm of people makes me want to work even harder.” Her parents, who were initially skeptical, are now supporting her initiative. At present, Anuradha works with the ‘National Geographic’ magazine.