“I have promised myself, I will live every single dream (no matter how silly or absurd it is)”, says 19-year-old Yatri, Aakash Mishra. Aakash hails from Indore. On the JY train he is always found with his iPad, interacting with other yatris, taking phone numbers and clicking pictures. When asked about his Yatra experience, Aakash had something very interesting to say, “These days to live your dreams one doesn’t really need money but a strong network. I am here to expand my network and learn from other yatris.”
During his school days, Aakash realized that studies were mundane and boring. While he was in 8th standard, he had a fantasy of having his photos on Disneychannel.in. He tried but failed to get his photos through. Aakash browsed further and stumbled upon hacking, through which he could upload his pictures. He then visited the nearby browsing center and requested more information about hacking. He was introduced to a guy, who taught Aakash ‘ethical hacking techniques’. More than the techniques Aakash learnt about the morals of hacking, after which he dropped the idea of hacking websites and was keen on working for cyber cells, helping them to tackle other hackers. Around the same time this school-going kid was introduced to the world of books; he started reading books on Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and Bhagat Singh.
That was the beginning of Aakash’s journey; his dream? Convert India into a golden bird, through his Golden Bird Foundation – seeking to empower India through focus on social cause. After series of road blocks and miserable nights in Delhi, he got this foundation registered. During these nights when he had to walk for miles because he had no money, he recalled the struggles Gandhiji went through that kept him motivated throughout his struggle. Barely sixteen, he wanted to make India a golden bird. “People didn’t believe me because of my age; many even tried to take advantage of my age and tried to deviate me from my Golden Dream. During the stay in Delhi for those 3 months has helped me to understand the reality of people and life. I am very glad of those experiences as they took me closer to my dreams.”
Aakash’s first project under the foundation is Param – Initiating Genius, this is a fellowship program that allows the fellows to interact and guide the kids from rural areas. To implement this, Aakash and his team visits nearest Government school, conducts an exam on English, Math and computers. Through this exam they finalize few students who are week in computers and offer them training. Aakash also observed many NGOs identify the students and teach them, he was sure that he is not a teacher but he can appoint a teacher. He then checked with people in his network and sent these kids to a computer training center nearby. Now the fellows of Param used to interact with these kids, during weekends at the kids place. They became their ‘bhaiyya’ aka mentor. Once the repo was built, the fellows helped these kids with their personal and school life. As of now Param has 67 fellows all from IIMs and IITs and is set to celebrate the second anniversary in February 2014. Aakash’s journey is about resilience.
At such a young age people often discount his passion but there are few who believe in him. And that’s how The golden Globe foundation is working on two other projects connecting compassionate souls. Aakash loves cycling, as mentioned he always wants to live up to his dreams, he came cycling from Indore to Mumbai, 750 kms in 4 days and is awaiting his return journey after the yatri for another 750 kms.
For Aakash, Sky is the limit.