Proportion of women working in rural areas is almost double that of urban areas. Photograph:( WION )
What influenced you to set up this organisation?
I was always concerned about the environment right from my childhood, I wanted to educate and inspire people about minimizing our carbon footprint , I have seen wealthy people throwing away so many things into the trash that could have been freecycled otherwise and channeled to the needy. I wanted to change the way people get rid of useful but unwanted items. That’s when I thought of PassItOn
Almost everyone has unwanted but useful items in their households like books ,clothes, toys, gadgets etc and are stuck in a dilemma whether to throw it away or to give it to someone but in these days no one has the time to go out and search for people or organizations to donate their item to. It is really pointless to throw away stuff that can be used by someone. This is where we come in, we offer an online platform for people to declutter their house in a meaningful way . We have tie ups with many NGO's, orphanages, old age homes etc who will be the direct recipients of these items .
What are some of the long term objectives you would like to see completed?
A better waste management system in our country, Western countries like Sweden are so efficient in managing their waste is that they actually buy waste from other countries to convert it into useable energy. We should certainly follow their footsteps. In an energy deficient country like India we are not doing a good job in minimizing our carbon footprint and literally dumping tonnes of waste into landfills, This is disasterous to the environment. We want to see and work to create a more educated class of people who are concerned about the environment.
What are the challenging facets of the job?
I think the challenging part is convincing people to freecycle instead of throwing away stuff or selling them for dirt cheap money . It is quite hard to change the traditional mindset of people. But, the good thing is that more and more people are becoming aware and concious about their actions.
What are the key indicators by which you measure your impact?
From small items like books, clothes , People have been putting up high value items such as Televisions, Furnitures, Smartphones on the site for donation. Initially when I started the organization people told me that in our country people will not give anything for free but with the amount of donations pouring in everyday they have been proved wrong, This just goes on to show how generous our counry is. In another instance I was really moved when a lady had put big bags of cat food for donation since her cat died recently and she wanted to give it away to anyone who has a cat. You can find so many similar items on our website that would have ended up in a trashcan otherwise. We have been getting more and more calls everyday, More people are coming to know about our organisation and they are very happy to pass on their items instead of throwing away.
Who are the NGOs in the same space or in general whom you consider as role models or benchmarks?
Goonj, SADS are some of the NGO’s that are doing a great job in this space.
What are the creative and innovative things that you have done in your journey?
From a Chemical import business to a mushroom farmer , Graphics Designer, Ecommerce seller, Fast food chain to name a few, I have done it all, I have tried my hands in atleast 30 different types of businesses failed in some, succeded and exited out of some. I am looking forward for more challenges that life will throw at me, I hope whatever I am doing now will create positive impact. I feel we as humans have a greater purpose in life than just being 9 to 5 workers.
How exactly would you define social entrepreneurship?
Putting human values before profits and consumer culture. applying commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being
It’s not for everyone and certainly not for the weak minded. It’s not a space where you can make a quick buck and exit.
What would be your advice to the youth today?
Don’t pay much heed to people who try to bring you down no matter what you do. It’s so hard to find people who will just put some motivating words in to you and pat your back. Stay away from negative people who just complain, laugh at others and do nothing. The most important skill a human being needs is the skill of overcoming failure, Although skill , talent,perseverance plays a role, Overcoming failure is the most important skill one has to learn.People quit very early, Any business or organization for that matter needs some time to get traction, Always follow your heart and do the right thing , Don’t just get a job and follow the “herd”. Have the guts to chase your dream, You don’t want to regret it when you are 40 years old. Take risk at young age if it doesn’t work out you will still get a lot of experience doing new things. Of course it’s a hard path, All this entrepreneurial thing is not for the weak minded, You would have to deal with failure on a daily basis and have the guts to get up one more time and try, You may fail 1000 times but you only have to be right once to be successful.
Who has benefited from your program and how have you made a difference?
At one end we help the everyday modern office goers and general public de clutter their house in a meanging ful way in the ease of their doorstep and in the other end we channel these item donations to struggling NGO’s , Orphanages, Old age homes procure item donations easily without having to go to each and evreyone’s doorstep and beg for donations. All they have to do is register on our site and they will get a constant source of item donations , Many times delivered for free by generous people. And all these service is completely free and advertisement free.
In what ways can our readers contribute to PassItOn?
I would request the readers to spread the word about this initiative to more people and next time when you have something lying around in your house that you have no use for , be sure to pass it on on our site!. We need each and everyone’s support to take this initiative into a larger scale.
In your opinion, what is the biggest economic challenge the world is facing?
Energy Crisis is I think the biggest economic challenge the world is facing right now and it is linked to all other crisis such as poverty, starvation.etc So many people in the world don’t have basic access to clean energy. Yet despite growing global momentum, there is still little agreement on the best set of actions required to reduce global dependency on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. We collectively have to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and move on to cleaner energy sources, Global warming is not just a theory anymore It is happening, Ice caps are melting faster than ever, It is time we all start implementing environmental friendly measures otherwise nature will take over us.
How do you arrange the financial support for operations?
Right from the start , This is a bootstrapped organization , I am running the operations with my personal savings and trying my best to keep the site AD free . But we are looking forward for corporate entities to come up and support us on our journey!