I was a student of the first batch of ISDM’s PGP-DL, and went on to become a social entrepreneur. I became interested in environmental issues during my Bachelors in Environmental Science and subsequently, during my work with Centre for Science and Environment. I started an organisation called Harit Griha in Meerut which sensitises Resident Welfare Associations and government bodies on composting waste, thus reducing the volume of garbage generated that eventually finds itself in unsustainable landfills and into the ecosystem. Our model has been accepted and validated by Meerut’s civic agencies, resulting in the municipality granting an 80% subsidy for composting kits. More than 12 Resident Welfare Associations enrolling hundreds of homes compost their waste in Meerut as a result of Harit Griha’s work.
My engagement with ISDM’s PGP-DL course and my unique understanding of environmental concerns and development leadership are helping me scale Harit Griha organically. My engagement at ISDM within the rubric of Organisation Building and my elective on Social Enterprise and the sustained mentorship I continue to receive from the founders and faculty have helped me understand myself and the onward journey for Harit Griha.Swati Singh
I worked with a for-profit organisation before joining ISDM’s first PGP-DL batch. My time at ISDM was marked with several phases of transition and exploration. At the conclusion of this journey, I took up an opportunity with a grant-making organisation. During my time at ISDM, I was able to learn how to identify and defend the needs of community-based organisations that are often strapped for resources. One such CBO in Andhra Pradesh, that was working to rescue and rehabilitate women from human trafficking, was unable to document and showcase their impact and reach, which in turn affected their fundraising. I volunteered my time with a few friends to help them raise funds for their amazing work. I can definitely say that the curriculum and people at ISDM facilitated my growth as a development leader and a champion of universal human values.Roopesh Kumar
ISDM completely changed me as a person. It gave me the opportunity to try out new things, get out of my comfort zone and not to be afraid of failure. I became more confident and prepared to take on real-world challenges head-on. At ISDM, I was exposed to an atmosphere of learning where my personal journey mattered the most, where there was no pressure of exams and collaboration was paramount. The assessments conversation at the end of each term was a way to reflect on my own personal journey. The focus on skills and knowledge pieces along with developing inner potential and self-awareness while being anchored in values through PMDL (Personal Mastery for Development Leadership) and RTL (Radical Transformative Leadership) is what makes ISDM unique. I don’t know of any other higher education institution that has understood education the way ISDM has and I feel it has the potential to transform how higher education and adult learning is looked at in the country and beyond.
The sheer diversity in the batch in terms of educational background, gender, previous work experience, geographical area enriched our conversations, and there is so much that I’ve learned from everyone's experiences. ISDM’s culture is one of sharing, where people can be open, honest and vulnerable without being judged. Everyone is approachable and helpful, and my understanding of friendship has evolved and deepened a lot. I am grateful to ISDM for providing me the space to think, act and reflect on all of this. If there is one thing that I’ll take away from ISDM, it is the importance of building deep and meaningful relationships which I’ll cherish for my lifetime.Sparsh Maheshwari
ISDM has played a pivotal role in my transition from the corporate to the development sector. It gave me the right combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes. As I began my journey at ISDM, I started to gain a deeper understanding of what ‘development’ is and what it means to become an authentic development professional. The journey has helped to shape my thoughts, opinions and build perspectives around the problems that our country and the world is facing today. It made me better understand the complexities and challenges faced in the social sector and made me look beyond the obvious – to look at both the micro and the macro views together. We were exposed to a vast body of knowledge, theories, frameworks and empirical learnings, and were given frequent opportunities to interact with practitioners and learn from their vast experiences. Through problem-based learning we could apply the classroom learnings through focused enquiry and collaboration. Over my time at ISDM, I learnt to appreciate ambiguity and become comfortable with the idea of emergence, which is key for working in this sector. I learnt to first look within and change myself, to be able to create any change outside.
We had an amazing and diverse set of peers in our batch, who continue to amaze and inspire me even today – with their commitment and zeal to make a difference. They act as a binding force and help me reflect and question my own journey. ISDM is like a close-knit family and we share an amazing relationship with our founders – Gaurav, Ravi, Sharad and Suparna. After graduating we have all taken on new paths, exploring new horizons. I am a proud alumnus and I know that ISDM will always be there for me with support, mentorship and guidance. ISDM is not a mere one-year course, but a life-time journey of self-discovery and learning.Nivedita Ghonghe