Name: Shubham Singh
Current Location: London, UK
Born: Morena, India
Describe yourself in 3 words: Compassionate, Explorer, Curious
What do you love about your life?
I have lived in different cities and now different countries where I have met amazing people. What fascinates me the most, is the sheer human interactions, affection and bonding. Each of us dwells within us an entirely different set of perceptions and exploring those is truly a journey of learning. It’s interesting to meet new people and learn something from them. Somehow, the values I learned from my friendships have been reflected in my personality and I am constantly changing. So, to answer the question about what I love the most about my life would be the people around me who have invested in shaping me for what I am- knowingly or anonymously.
How are you a member of the Tribe?
My first contact with the Tribe of Lambs was through Bobbi. I received an email from her regarding a compassion project which she wanted to do with my non-profit, Gramiksha. After exchanging couple of emails and skype call, we decided to go into a collaboration. When I read about Tribe of Lambs, I was inspired to see how they wish to help less privileged kids in India through their projects by bringing the communities together. Soon after, we started our first project together where TOL funded education of a kid for a year and sponsored 80 goodie bags for street kids. Just 6 months later, we completed another project which impacted over 300 school kids through a resource centre. We painted the murals of Tribe of Lambs and Gramiksha on the school walls as a testimony of our friendship.
What do you love about the Tribe?
Each member of the Tribe has a story to share, which tells about their remarkable journey. I like how these stories have been embedded in Tribe of Lamb’s products with so much affection and love.
How is TOL impacting you?
Together with Tribe of Lambs, we have been able to make one of the biggest impact as without their support it wouldn’t have been possible. The resource center is one of it’s kind in the city and is benefiting hundreds of kids from nearby schools as well!
Favourite life experience thus far?
There are different memories and experiences which I hold close to my heart. Something which comes in my mind right now is my stay in Bangalore after graduation. I was working in a multinational company there, which had provided me accommodation in a service apartment for a year. I am a huge fan of the American television show, ‘FRIENDS’ and I have always wanted to have an experience like that. Coincidently, things turned out to be pretty much same for me when I met my ‘Insane’ friends. Btw, we had our own Central Perk as well.
What is your biggest dream in life?
I wanted to be an entrepreneur, earn money and then start a non-profit to help people like Bill Gates. Though, things turned out to be opposite for me. I started the non-profit first and recently I have just starting working as an entrepreneur. Life has its unexpected ways.
Why did you start Gramiksha? What are/were your biggest challenges and achievements?
As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to a start a non-profit much later in my life and had no intentions even when I started my first project in Gramiksha. It all started with a conference call, where I proposed the idea to my friends about doing something in the summer. After high school, all my friends were in different parts of the country and I thought this would be a good idea to re-unite and do something better for the society. I also thought that people of my generation had so much time which could be channelized into doing something useful. It was an opportunity for us to do something on our own instead of criticizing the system and waiting for the change to happen. Firstly, we named our group ‘Shiksha’, which means education and later we renamed it as ‘Gramiksha’, which is formed from the merger of two words ‘Gram’ (means village) and Shiksha. We started with a 7 days project in a small village Nithera in northern part of India. The problems were far more serious than we thought. At the end of the project, I felt if I had contributed something in the lives of the kids through our little efforts and that meant a lot to me. My family and friends appreciated our efforts and encouraged us to register our small group as an official NGO. In the initial days, most of my time spent in researching about developmental organizations as I was inexperienced. It took me two months to rush through door to door at government offices and prepare documents for Gramiksha and get it registered under MP Society Act.
Nobel laureate in physics, Riardo Giacconi, summed up what might be the driving force for Gramiksha, “A scientist is like a painter, Michelangelo became a great artist, because he had given a wall to paint, my wall was given to me by United States”. I now had the wall and I started painting. Gradually, more people started joining us and we even got some projects from government. In just 2 years of its inception, Gramiksha had spread across 6 cities in India with a team of over 250 volunteers. Today, we have a team with a strong organizational structure which gives college going volunteers a first hand experience of corporate functioning while engaging them simultaneously in projects on ground for social change.
*Shubham & all the Gramiksha volunteers we’ve worked with continue to be an inspiration & example of how young people working together can change the world. Please visit their site & help them carry on their mission.