I am Abhishek Saini, co-founder of Lending Hands Foundation, a social entrepreneur, a published author and a biker. I belong to a middle class family and have seen all the hard-times during my childhood – be it limited resources, working with my dad, discrimination on the basis of income and English fluency. I was the class topper from 1st to 12th class in a government school but when I got admission in Kirori Mal College, Delhi University I realized the difference between a topper from government school and one from a private school. My mom used to say that I was a triton among the minnows. I became aware of the major flaws in Indian government-run schools. I decided to prove my mom wrong and perform well. Not only I cleared my graduation with 1st Rank but I also got admission in Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University. This was the turning part of my life. During my first year at Delhi School of Economics, I chose to participate in a college based student-run social work society called “Prayaas-DSE” as a volunteer. I became the part of the Society’s education programme “Margdarshak Shikshya Yojana” (Education Guidance Programme) and started teaching students of my own school. I started working for the betterment of the society either through my study or working with different NGOs. I began to view my passion under the microscope of economics. I assisted one of the DSE professors in his European Union project “Dimensions and Dynamics of Indian Urban Poverty (Globally part of NO POOR)” during my 1st year at DSE, directed towards checking the current status of poverty in India and the effectiveness of government schemes to eradicate it. While collecting primary data in different slums of Delhi and understanding their problems forced me to think more deeply about the inequity and deprivation in the society, which helped me to develop a perspective on how various forms of deprivation take root and manifest themselves.
After my masters I got placed in a leading marketing company to manage their analytics department. Although, my pay cheque was like a dream for a person who belongs to a middle class family, I was determined to help those who were in need and started a small initiative Those In Need in 2014 along with my regular 9 to 6 job. Over the period I managed to create a network of 80+ NGOs and 500+ volunteers around India. My idea was to reduce the search cost of volunteership and increase the participation of youngster in social activities. After 2 years I left my job and started working with an international NGO which talked about love, sex and relationship with an open, honest, and non-judgmental attitude. Over the time I have organized many international social events in Delhi and worked with more than 6,000 youngsters. Finally I registered my NGO, Lending Hands Foundation, with my friend (Shreya Bhatia), which aims at bringing a strong base for volunteer support by civil society engagement, organizing resources to support an effective response, promoting community development and to work for the welfare of the society, Those In Need and Humans of Society being the active projects under Lending Hands Foundation.
Meeting new people, encountering interesting stories and undertaking adventurous road trips on my beloved bullet 350 shapes my prime interests. This year I have completed 7000 KM bike ride from Delhi – Kanayakumari – Delhi. The next destination on my wish list is the Mecca of all trips- road trip to the icy Ladakh.
Last thing: do what you love and there will be difficult times but it will just test your patience. “Apne Sapne Pure Karne Chahiye Nahi Toh Wo Sapne Reh Jate Hai”
(YIC IIT Delhi 2017)