For DLRC's first community time, we invited Dr. Radha Shelat, the Farm's owner. As the primary, middle, and high schoolers settled themselves, Dr. Shelat introduced herself. She animatedly explained her journey starting with growing up in Banaras in a business family and her education there until she graduated from Banaras Hindu University. She continued to recall from when she started her career with joining IIM Ahmedabad and then moving to IIT Mumbai to pursue her education. She continued to achieve in all she did by being on the team that set up Veritas in India and going on to starting her own enterprises.
Dr. Shelat's speech was centered around life lessons for students. She spoke about the importance of sports as a student. She was a university basketball player, national level cricket player, a state level table tennis player, and university level in badminton.She emphasised on this as she believed that her fitness level as a student plays a great role in her fitness level today, that really helps her to do focus and continuously work with a rigorous schedule.
Dr. Shelat inquired about entrepreneurship - who all wanted to be an entrepreneur. Majority of the students raised their hands, fascinated by the thought of earning large sums of money. Even a few primary students enthusiastically expressed their ideas on starting a business! Dr. Shelat continued, that as an entrepreneurs one needs to start with an idea. Next, one should share the idea, as it is important to understand if it is feasible and to plan the necessary actions to take the project forward. Following this, an entrepreneur should build a team for their "startup.” Along with the team, the product should be marketed to spread the word in order to make a profit. Startups take tremendous effort, and profits must constantly be made to keep the enterprise running.
Dr. Shelat emphasised on innovation as an important aspect missing in the Indian corporate industries. She mentioned that her passion for innovation motivated her to start her company (which is focused on Cyber-Security.) Dr. Shelat then asked the children what they understood of cyber security and explained how her product is being used in the financial sector or banking industry.
About the Farm:
Dr. Shelat first had a farm at Sus gaon with about five trees, but she desired for a campus full of green. So she and her husband bought this farm and planted a variety of trees including 300 mango trees. They carefully choose to keep the farm organic. Dr. Shelat said she gained her understanding of Organic farming by attending workshops so she could follow the right practices. They had been approached by many builders and another school to use this space, but the thought of a concrete structure choking this green space was unthinkable. This farm has been and remains a labour of love for her.
When Dr. Shelat met Ajay, Mona and Pavan, around six months back, the vision of DLRC resonated with her. The conversation flowed and soon was taken forward to becoming a project. She truly believes in both the green policy as well as the wholesome approach. She emphasised that the learning at DLRC, that also aims to ensure that children should be equipped with a skill that is practical and applicable was also one she felt strongly and agreed with.
Aspirations for The Students:
Dr. Shelat spoke to the children on responsibility and discipline, which is essential and inculcated with the freedom that one enjoys. She continued to speak about making best use of time by spending time in the outdoors, reading, sports and less time with gadgets.
Q&A Session :
Dr. Shelat replied she would have studied at a US university, though would always work in India.
-Do you have any further plans for the farm?
Dr. Shelat promptly confirmed that she definitely wanted to open the space for families to visit. She strongly felt that a family dining out which means eating and drinking , should reconsider to make it a more active outing, which is what she hopes to achieve at her farm. Where the family will work on the farm together, maybe take a trek around, and after that have a hearty meal together. She hopes to incorporate some of the ideas of design she has collected from her travel overseas as well.
DLRC’s very first community time was wonderful, and students enjoyed Dr. Radha Shelat’s informative and inspiring talk. With such amazing speakers, the students were eagerly awaiting the next Friday!
In pic below - DLRC Parent & Facilitator explaining to the community about the Community Time and introiducing Radha.
Written by: Shoba George - DLRC Parent & Facilitator