"VARANASI : Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together" - Mark Twain
Varanasi, the holy city of India, is also known by the name of Kashi and Benaras. Kashi, the city of Moksha for Hindus for centuries, is known for its fine-quality silks, 'paan' and Benares Hindu University. Also called Avimukta in the ancient days, it is the most popular pilgrimage point for the Hindus. One of the seven holiest cities, Varanasi is also one of the Shakti Peethas and one of the twelve Jyotir Linga sites in India. In Hinduism it is believed that those who die and are cremated here get an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and re-births.
Inspired by the Deshpande Foundation's Hubli Sandbox, Mr. Dilip Modi (Spice Mobility Ltd) is supporting the Ek Soch Sandbox initiative to empower the seven districts - Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Ghazipur & Varanasi - in the eastern region of Uttar Pradesh. It is centered in the historical city of Varanasi which holds immense talent, intellectual ability and the keenness to see positive change happen. Community based social entrepreneurship, enabled by technology, can create affordable, scalable solutions addressing local challenges and bring forth the power of 1 million people.
The Sandbox will engage with not-for-profits, academics, non-governmental organizations and entrepreneurs to launch effective and scalable models of development. They will empower the urban and rural youth with the leadership and skill development necessary to manage their own social enterprises and become the change their community needs. Through the implementation of these programs, effective, scalable and relevant solutions will develop from within the communities of these seven districts.
The Sandbox provides a place for the catalysts to test ideas, make changes and eventually develop truly scalable solutions. The ecosystem allows for sharing, networking, collaborating and deliberating ideas with other catalysts. The value of the Sandbox lies in its ability to identify synergies and explore potential collaboration in the catalyst network. The aim of the Sandbox is to create an environment where an innovative approach to addressing social challenges is encouraged.
We work in compact geographic areas that we call¸(social) innovation sandbox, a living laboratory for a diverse range of entrepreneurs and development practitioners to get their ideas tested, strengthened and sustained over a period of time. Applying a 'bottom up' approach to building scalable solutions, the Deshpande Foundation at Hubli Sandbox works to create an effective ecosystem where resources are put to use through entrepreneurship. At the bottom of sandbox approach is the Foundation`s quest to create critical mass to take up entrepreneurial solutions of various magnitudes and scope.