Reap Benefit had always been pretty big in my school. I used to see stickers and posters showing savings all across our school. But I never completely had an idea about what Reap Benefit actually did. In the start of my 10th grade, Kuldeep had given this extremely inspiring presentation, showcasing some very interesting innovations made by my own seniors, like the water-less urinal designed by Rohit Satish, our former Prefect. That innovation alone inspired me so much that that year I decided to join Reap Benefit’s year-long school program and pulled along 5–6 of my friends to join.
My engagement with Reap Benefit during that school program made me look at problems in our daily lives in a different light altogether. There were problems that had existed for quite some time in my community, but I had failed to notice them until then. The funny part is that I missed my 1st ever Reap Benefit session on account of a match I had had that day! We created a sort of a bond with the people at Reap Benefit. Be it giving us free food at the old Indiranagar office, or acknowledging each of our efforts by giving us each a personalized gift at the end of our school program. I got a book called “Who Moved my Cheese”, a book that I had already read and really liked. This shows how much effort the mentors had put in to get to know us.
The following summer, I decided to be part of the internship. Again, I pulled along my friend, Shriya, to join alongside me. I worked on the topic of Waste management with Utkarsha as my mentor. One significant event during this internship was actually the result of a miscommunication. I had messaged UD saying that I had come up with a prototype of a dustbin and wanted to run it by her and had asked if I could come the next day to the office. UD saw the message pretty late and assumed that I meant Monday, not Sunday. When I was halfway to Indiranagar, UD realized this and called me immediately, clarifying the miscommunication and asking me to come to Silk Board. I changed buses, cursing myself on how I had assumed that the office would be open on a Sunday and heaved my weirdly large dustbin prototype along with me. She picked me up from there and we went to a McDonalds nearby, where again I got free food. I showed her my data and we even did an RPT right in the middle of that McDonalds!
My small idea of a dustbin actually did more for me than I could’ve ever expected. The idea surprisingly got appreciated by many and paved the path for me to be chosen as a Youth Board Member at Reap Benefit 2 years later. Just this year, I got invited to be part of the KER week in Mumbai along with the team and due to this, I had the absolute privilege of meeting Shaheen Mistri, a woman whose efforts and achievements I had admired for a very long time, along with many admirable Youth Leaders. To be honest, I had never understood what exactly trigger mapping was until early this year, but explaining it to about 100 students and adults over the course of the two days of the National Summit did give me a feeling of enthrallment and achievement. Additionally, I understood how much Reap Benefit had grown over the last 4 years, in terms of the techniques, methodologies, and beliefs it has adopted.
Reap Benefit did a lot more for me than I could have ever imagined and today, I can proudly call myself a Solve Ninja.