When Class 12 student Tulika Gupta learned that many of her relatives, including her mother, used cloth instead of sanitary napkins, she decided to make a career out of menstrual hygiene. Gupta and seven of her classmates said it was a “dream come true” when they had the opportunity to develop a business model to provide low-cost sanitary napkins to women in marginalized communities.
“We plan to source these towels from a non-governmental organization at lower rates and offer them to women in marginalized communities with minimal profit. The idea is to sensitize women and girls to switch to sanitary napkins and also learn to use them, ”said Gupta, who studies at Janki Devi Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Mayur Vihar Phase 1.
The business idea for Gupta came after the Delhi government announced the Business Blasters program as part of the Entrepreneurship Studies Program (EMC) last month. In this context, students in classes 11 and 12 must receive a start-up capital of ??2,000 per student to develop a for-profit business idea or to create social impact in their communities.
Gupta, who is part of the team called “Silence Breakers,” also plans to organize plays and street rallies, and make posters to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene in low-income neighborhoods such as as Chilla Khadar in East Delhi.
His teammate Palak plans to use his seed money to develop a non-profit education camp to educate students and their parents about government welfare programs.
“Not everyone knows how to take advantage of these programs. I love working with children and so I decided to set up educational camps for children and their parents which could function as a one-stop-shop which conveys relevant information through games and competitions, ”he said. she declared.
Hundreds of students in grades 11 and 12 of Delhi public schools are currently engaged in the development of such projects with the help of their EMC teachers and business coaches. These coaches can be students continuing their business studies, or even entrepreneurs / alumni who volunteer to help children with their ideas.
Students are expected to receive the seed capital by next week and will begin their market research in the coming days. All projects must be completed by November 15th.
Students can also pool their money by collaborating on a project. Following a presentation of the project, the peer review model allows their classmates to give their comments on the feasibility of the project.
On Monday, several of these groups of students presented their ideas to classmates, including Shivya Antwadia, another class 12 student at the school, who is working on a business model to market ‘purification plants’. air ”before winter pollution in Delhi.
“The product was designed with the environmental concerns of our time in mind. We will recycle the broken plastic cups and bottles for plants and mount them on circular disks with a rotating motor underneath. We also worked on a drip irrigation system so our consumers would only have to flip a switch and not worry about taking care of the plants. There is a huge market for such plants, ”she said.
When asked by other students why someone would buy them plants instead of the market, Antwadia said, “The USP of our product would be the decorative elements that we would add. We are also planning to use decorative lights so people can put these jars in their living rooms. The five-member group will initially invest 50% of their seed capital and later expand the project based on client responses.
Another group – Cookie Monsters – will work on developing healthier alternatives to cookies with their motto “health with taste”. Team leader Jayati Chaudhary said they will focus on baking their cookies with macronutrients after extensive market research, conducted through various bakeries in their neighborhood.
“In addition to fruit cookies, we will develop molds of superhero and cartoon characters to meet the needs of young consumers. Our mothers also offered to help us with our projects. However, my father was initially skeptical of our involvement in this project as our board exams are only a month away, ”said Chaudhary, who is due for her pre-board exams later this month. -this.
Several students said their parents were concerned that the Delhi government announced the Business Blasters program just two months before their board exams. This year, the CBSE introduced a two-term board exam with a revised paper template for students in grades 10 and 12 which is expected to start in November.
Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary of the Association of Public School Teachers (GSTA), also criticized the decision to implement the project at the last minute.
“The Covid-19 has already affected the classes. In addition to this, there are several initiatives, including this Business Blasters program, which extend beyond the school. Teachers should be allowed to run remedial classes and prepare students for the new board exam model involving objective-type questions instead of engaging in these initiatives, ”he said.
However, Ashok Tiwari, a mentor teacher engaged in EMC courses, said that these courses allow students to relax. “There was no other niche in the university cycle to implement this. But the kids are excited about the project because they don’t have to study all the time. This initiative would allow them to take a break from their studies and all engagements with the project will end by November 15.
EMC coordinator Nivedita Kohli, who teaches science at Mayur Vihar School to students in grades 9 and 10, also said that EMC classes help students connect with their peers. “Socio-emotional learning had been affected by the prolonged school closures. With these activities, the students become more enthusiastic and more focused, which also helps them in their studies. “