1. How was your JY Experience?
  2. Did you experience any difficulties during the yatra?
  3. How was the whole JY team?
  4. What was the total expense of the Yatra, other than the amount we pay to them? How did you go to Mumbai from Kerala and reach back?
  5. What was the impact of this yatra in your life?
  6. How safe is Jagriti Yatra?
  7. How did you fund your travel?
  8. Who do you think JY is apt for?
  9. What is the level 1, 2 and 3 scholarship?
  10. Is it worth spending 40,000 or more on JY as a student?

Did you experience any difficulties during the yatra?

Yes. I’m prone to cold and fever and so I fell sick on about the fifth day of my Yatra. I got cold and fever even before we reached North India. However, we had 3 doctors on board who were very helpful. Most of all, my cohort was super supportive and they took very good care of me. My Co-Yatris were all very nice and I remember how they got me fruits and tried to make me laugh :)

I was sick for about 9 days of the Yatra and given that I was travelling in a train, it was a bit difficult. But I see it as an exercise to build resilience. Few others who got sick stayed back in the train and mentioned that they were very well taken care of by the team on board.

My pro tip would be to cover your head and sleep away from the window if you are prone to cold and fever. If you expose yourself to the cold winds overnight, there is a high probability that you will fall sick.

How was the whole JY team?

The team was really good. You could walk up to anyone from the team and talk to them about anything. Apart from the core team, there were also about 30 ERCs who are previous yatris. They are onboard as volunteers to assist us. They were also super fun and resourceful!

What was the total expense of the Yatra, other than the amount we pay to them? How did you go to Mumbai from Kerala and reach back?

So I haven’t really tabulated this. But I got myself a backpack and sleeping bag so it would be comfortable. (Investing on a sleeping bag is a good idea) I also got winter clothes, warmers, sweaters since I did not already have them.

My other expense was my travel to and from Mumbai as I took a flight.

In total, I would have spent close to 15K apart from the Yatra fee.

What was the impact of this yatra in your life?

Once you travel in that train for 15 days, you can live and survive in any situation. Believe me. Having fallen sick and pushing it through was tough on me. But I learned to take care of myself, wrap up my emotional drama and get going.

To me, this was a huge impact because I’m the kind of person who wants to hug mom and sleep when I’m sick. But now that I have gone through this situation, I feel much stronger.

Aside of this, I learned a lot from each person I met along the way. It was an eye-opener for me — just being able to visit parts of India where development has just begun. Listening to people and stories from our sister states was very very moving. When we live in Kerala, we don’t really see what poverty means. Our understand of it is different. But when you really live in Deoria for a day and experience the life that the residents at Deoria have.. It really dawns upon you.

I think more than the sessions and talks, JY is about the experience and the people you meet.

My JY Experience blog: https://medium.com/arya-murali/one-country-one-train-15-days-450-change-makers-d3e25113adcf

How safe is Jagriti Yatra?

JY is very safe. Especially for women. Two retired Army Colonels travel with us throughout the yatra and head the safety department. There are also guards who ensure safety in the train.

You will also be put in a cohort of 6 yatris and a facilitator and the facilitator ensures at all points that you are safe and sound.

How did you fund your travel?

I ran a crowdfunding campaign — AruforJY to fund my travel. I raised INR 68,650 in 5 days from 52 supporters.

This is my TED talk on the entire CF experience and how I helped my parents understand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nna1B8s9XnA

The following 3 blogs also sum up how I went about the campaign:

  1. AruforJY — Thank you believing in me
  2. Campaign Overview
  3. Tips to run a CF campaign

Who do you think JY is apt for?

In my opinion, JY is apt for someone who is interested in the development sector. More specifically, someone with an inclination towards social entrepreneurship would benefit best from the yatra.

I took the yatra when I was 21 and I felt that it would have been better if I took it after few years of work experience. I would have been able to contribute better to the discussions and make most of the learning.

What is the level 1, 2 and 3 scholarship?

You get a scholarship based on your financial ability.

Level 1 — You pay registration fee of 6000 + full yatra fee

Level 2 — You pay registration fee of 6000 + half yatra fee

Level 3 — You pay only registration fee of 6000

If you wish to avail the full scholarship, you should be selecting Level 3 scholarship. You will also have the opportunity to substantiate why you must be given the financial aid once you get selected.

Is it worth spending 40,000 or more on JY as a student?

As a student, the biggest takeaway for you would be the exposure. If you aren’t interested in the development sector or if you are not looking to actively gain anything out of JY, then there is not much point in you going for JY.

If you have had some kind of exposure to travel, hackathons, conferences or other programs, then I’d say there may be nothing new that you’d gain from JY from a professional value addition perspective. In such a case, the trip would be something like an adventure travel or trek. And I’d deem paying anything more than 5K for such a trip as expensive. And you attending the program would pretty much be like a more adventurous version of your college industrial visit.

On the other hand, if you have had very limited exposure, access to networks and if you are really clear about how you will utilise the trip in advancing your career/interest in the development sector, then you can consider attending JY.

In any case, you paying all that money from your pocket and attending , especially if you are a student— I would say it is not worth for money. There’s nothing transformational that you can expect. It’s just going to be a fun trip if you don’t actively participate. So in my opinion, as a student, paying anything more than 25K for JY might be a bad investment. On the other hand, if you are working and have money to spend, and want to have a challenging journey, then you can consider taking up the yatra.

If you have any other questions for me, feel free to email them to hello@aryamurali.com.

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