Aashish is a youth activist and a pasionate social entrepreneur based out of New Delhi, India. He has been a British Council’s Global Changemaker and founded MASH Global. A graduate from Jamia Millia Islamia, he represented India at the International Youth Forum 2011 in Seliger, Russia and the Global Youth Summit in the UK, 2009. Recently, he was invited at a high-level Experts Meeting on Youth Mobile initiative by UNESCO in Paris, France.
Aashish also consults businesses in Media and Waste Management. He has also been a part of Young India Challenge since it’s inception in 2014, first as a Happiness Team member and also as a mentor.
We got a chance to interact with him recently and he happily answered a few questions for us.
Here’s a snippet of our conversation:
Q1. What drove you to come up with the idea for MASH Project?
Ans. I had been volunteering with various youth organisation during my school and college time. During this period, I realised that many of my friends also wanted to volunteer and work with various cause based organisations but, due to time constraints and challenge of travelling from one-point to another, it would be difficult for them along with their ongoing studies and other extra-curricular.
On the other hand, I saw many grassroots development organisations facing major challenge with basic tech-based requirements like a decent website, good quality content for blog and active social media engagement. Many of them also required a mobile-app based intervention to scale their impact.
MASH Project started as an idea while I was attending UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris in 2013 where one of the workshops focused on how young people can use the mobile apps as a platform to make a social impact. This got me excited and I started thinking about various ways how young people can remotely/virtually volunteer to create mobile apps which requires not only tech-based expertise but also other areas like research, designing, content writing and social media marketing among others.
Q2. Being a Social Entrepreneur is tough and a lot of struggle is involved. How difficult was it for you to convince yourself and your family that this is what you want to do?
Ans. I believe anything that you do which is not a conventional or a mainstream career choice, it’s difficult to convince your family & friends when you start. Most important thing in this journey is yourself belief. I’ve had many challenges during this course and it’s the self confidence which has kept me going! I think once you’re confident about what you want to do and do it regardless of all the challenges, people around you, and start believing in you. One must know that it will take time, and you need to have strong perseverance.
Q3. You were a part of the 1st Happiness Team at the 1st Young India Challenge and have been associated with Human Circle and YIC since then. How has your experience been being associated with the #DoWhatYouLove Movement?
Ans. It has been a real pleasure working with Human Circle since its early days, the energy and zeal Kamal, Wioleta and the whole team brings together is amazing! I have learnt a lot while working with Human Circle and it has also been a great partnership with MASH Project.
I have some great memories as a member of the Happiness Team during the first Young India Challenge. I made some very good friends and really happy to see the community and #DoWhatYouLove movement getting bigger! 🙂
Q4. What was your first thought when you heard about #DoWhatYouLove?
Ans. I was like Wow! We really needed something like this. In a country of a billion, with over trillion dreams, we need passionate young people who are committed to turn their dreams into realities. We need platforms where these young people can come together, meet like-minded people, get inspired and work together to create a community that continues to empower many more. I draw a lot of inspiration from #DoWhatYouLove movement and very excited to see it growing and touching lives of so many people.
Q5. What inspires you to be a part of #DoWhatYouLove?
Ans. I think the biggest inspiration to be a part of #DoWhatYouLove has been the cause and intent behind it. I personally have gone through an experience where I felt the need to be a part of community which believes in you and supports in your journey to follow your dreams and turn your passion into profession! Another reason is the people behind the movement and people you meet during this movement, I have personally learnt so much being part of the various programmes and look ahead of greater involvement with it.
A version of this article appeared here