This Mumbai organisation is enabling changemakers and bridging the talent gap in social sector
Mandeep Kaur (36), a media professional working in the corporate sector, was passing by Mumbai’s slums in 2014 when she witnessed the social-economic inequality. She thought how she could bring about a change in the lives of people living in the slums. Finding her true calling in the social sector, she decided to do something about it.
Mandeep quit her stable job in media marketing and started working with NGOs to understand the sector better. She realised there was a huge talent gap in the social sector, which led to the birth of Tribes For Good in 2014.
Speaking to Social Story, she says, “All these thoughts inspired me to dive into the social impact sector, and took my first step volunteering with an impact travel firm. There is a growing interest for people to do impactful work even when it comes to volunteering. For example, matching a marketing professional who wants to dedicate his/her time to an organisation that needs their expertise.”
Mandeep Kaur, Founder & Programme Director-India, Tribes For Good
Mumbai-based Tribes For Good is an experiential learning programme for people who are looking to understand the social sector and bring about a change.
To this date, the organisation has successfully trained over 1,000 volunteers and has created an impact across 50 social enterprises. It currently has its networks in the urban slums of Mumbai - Malwani, parts of Goregaon, and Dharavi.
In India alone, over two million social impact businesses are working to develop solutions to the country’s most pressing social and environmental issues, and reports suggest that more than 50 percent of these businesses are understaffed, leaving an opportunity for businesses to double their impact.
Mandeep says, “People like to see the impact they are making in real-time and are willing to put in the hours as well to be trained to achieve it.”
To help the young minds understand how he or she could drive the change, Tribes for Good guides them through a series of steps.
Mnadeep interacting with the local community and the participants
To give an insight, TFG trains students, professionals, and retirees from countries like Australia, the US, and Europe on innovations at the base of the pyramid in India. “They want to give back but aren’t sure how,” says Mandeep.
The flagship programme of the organisation, called Young Changemakers, is suitable for young adults who are likely to be the future entrepreneurs, consultants, and diplomats, and want to participate in social, economic, and environmental issues affecting India. The programme also helps to sensitise people and build essential problem-solving skills. It lets participants understand their responsibility towards future generations.
TFG's Social Impact Journey focuses on developing a deeper understanding of people’s potential to bring about a social change. This is a week-long, curated expeditions of discovery and insights in India where the participants work on a dedicated project. It is mostly focused on women’s empowerment and youth, and lets participants use their management skills, bridging the talent gap faced by the social impact organisations.
The last programme is aimed at sustainability, which are curated day experiences or day walks for individuals to give them an introduction to the sustainability scene in India.
The organisation charges a fee of Rs 22,000 for the Young Changemakers programme, and Social Impact Journey costs around Rs 50,000. “This later goes back into the community and works in the long-term sustainability of TFG,” says Mandeep.
Getting local community on board
These programmes are run along with vetted non-profits or social enterprises that have a strong influence on the community. The professionals are chosen as they have been working in the communities for years and hence there is trust, care, and openness to new ideas.
At present, Tribes For Good comprises of mentors from diverse backgrounds including engineering, law, and management professionals across the globe. Besides, the team also has well-known people such as Deepa Krishnan, founder of Magic Tours; Anusha Bharadwaj, a social entrepreneur; and Pradeep Mahtani as advisors on board.
To begin with, the organisation maps the area that the communities want to work with - be it financial inclusion, digital inclusion or even improving their comprehension skills.
Speaking about the challenges, Mandeep says, visitors, travellers, and students they bring in to work with marginalised communities sometimes find it difficult to overcome their assumptions on safety, lack of amenities, and bias.
“We help individuals overcome their preconceived ideas and assumptions through sensitisation workshops, others," she says.
Building inroads with the communties through great personal outreach and involvement and
adapting TFG services in an agile fashion to cater to both participants and local communities, she says.
The impact and the way ahead
The organisation is supporting 50+ understaffed social enterprises through 1000+ changemakers by creating material has been used for fundraising and positively impact the bottom line of the social impact organisation.
"We support the organisation in their marketing initiatives and run business communication classes for these women so that they can interact with everyone at events or exhibitions,” says Mandeep.
The video and communication material has been used for fundraising and to positively impact the bottom line of the organisation.
TFG also runs basic financial literacy training like using ATM and BHIM UPI to increase the financial inclusion and building on key components of trust, access, and comfort.
Mandeep along with the participants and the local community
Adelina Kriplani, an alumnus of TFG, shares that she could not only learn about the social space but also about whether the changes she, as an aspiring changemaker, strives for in the social sector are truly occurring.
Adelina was intrigued about how NGOs strive to make these changes, and if she, as a young recently graduated volunteer, really had any valuable skills that could contribute to creating sustainable change. It was those questions that led her to Tribes For Good.
Adelina says, “I not only experienced unique personal growth but was able to interact with various NGOs, communities, and beneficiaries. I also got to learn more about positive social change, and how to be a part of it and a driving force for it. I was allowed to flourish and experiment with my interests, and got to know myself better.”
Mandeep says, she looks forward to increasing our reach by partnering with students, individuals, and retirees participating in causes and have a pan India presence and expand to Tier two cities.
She says, “Over the last year, we have doubled the number of organisations that we have worked with and have expanded to Bengaluru and Delhi. We are also looking at attract more mentors who can work on social impact projects.”
(Edited by Megha Reddy)