Mumbai’s Universal Business School, popularly known as India’s first green B-school launched ‘SMART’ project, a social and sustainable development initiative for management students in collaboration with Light of Life Trust (LOLT) a well-known NGO working towards the holistic development of underprivileged rural communities in India. As a part of this project, 245 post-graduate students from Universal Business School actively participated in various educational, health, environmental and livelihood initiatives in over 130 villages nearby Karjat, Dist. Raigad in April 2022.
“SMART project stands for ‘‘Societal causes Managerial Aptitude & Responsibility Temperament’’ with a prima facie objective of sustainable development. This initiative has been curated with an objective to help students apply 3Es, that is, Ethics, Environment and Experiential Learning for working towards the environment and the external stakeholders by way of experiential learning,” shares Tarun Anand, Founder & Chairman, Universal Business School.
The students’ team of Environment at Universal Business School planted more than 60 saplings in different villages around the vicinity of 50 Kms from Karjat.
The students also interacted with villagers to understand the different issues faced by them at the ground level and how efficiencies can be improved to fill the gaps to solve their problems.
Akarsh Vaibhav, student from Cardiff MBA Batch shares, “We visited Wadgaon, a village where people’s source of income comes from making bamboo handicrafts. We witnessed that the cost for which they sold the handicrafts to the sellers was Rs 50 and the same handicrafts were sold in the market shops for more than Rs 100 which is double the cost of production. Livelihood Murbad Village Students team took the initiative to act as a mediator between these villagers and the nearby Bazaar shops and made the handicrafts sold directly to the buyers in the market, so that more revenue could be generated by the villagers.”
The students also conducted surveys on dental and eye health problems among the villagers and coordinated with the medical practitioners in the area for the upcoming medical camps to be conducted by LOLT in Tiware village from 15th April 2022 onwards.
They also conducted role plays on family planning in the Karjat’s rural community in coordination with Chief Health Officer, Karjat.
Rajashree Sharma, student of Cardiff MBA batch says, “We organised effective and creative Nukkad-Natak for villagers where we focused on issues such as child marriage, women education and empowerment, ways to create livelihood and generate income and so on.”
Kumari Shalini, student of Cardiff Met Batch says, “We have conducted educational activities such as career guidance and personality development sessions for youngsters, awareness camps for skill development such as computer training, bike repair training, selling of jewelry, cloth bags, paper bags etc.”
The project was spearheaded by Prof R.Sriram and Dr Pranjali Madhur of Universal Business School “This exposure has developed the abilities of the students to do diagnosis and find solutions to the social problems. This will prepare them to face business problems in the future,” adds Dr Madhur.