“Life can be a fairy tale if you break the silence,” believes Summaiya Afreen, the 26-year-old social entrepreneur and philanthropist from India who runs the organisation Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti (LJJ). The Delhi-based venture, which she started at the age of nineteen with a mission to provide quality education and skill training for women and a mere amount of INR 7000 as the initial investment, has created a positive impact in the lives of hundreds of women by now.
Starting from her early school days, Summaiya knew she is not born to lead an ordinary life. Instead, she dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur. She says “When I was in school, I always wanted to do something different from the rest and I always knew that I cannot live a usual life as expected by the society. After my senior secondary exams, I got trapped in a distance-learning-mode college. Soon I observed all my peers had surrendered to their destiny, boys accepting petty jobs and girls started preparing their mindset for marriages. Both conditions were unacceptable to me.”
It was during her graduation days, she met her mentor Rahul Goswami, who later became the co-founder of Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti.
She recollects, “Rahul, a motivational speaker joined our college as a faculty. His series of workshops made me think beyond and inspired me to dream differently. I decided to challenge my destiny, and started taking part in different educational programs conducted by prestigious business schools which cleared my vision.”
In her second year of graduation, Summaiya along with her team started Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti with a strong vision to contribute to the social development sector. However, she continued her studies to gain a master’s degree in social work while managing the responsibilities of her social venture.
About Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti
Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti is a social enterprise with dedicated efforts on improving the social and economical conditions of women by providing skill-based training and education. The social enterprise aims to encourage women to participate in stakeholder committees and take leadership roles. It provides leadership coaching, literacy training, entrepreneurial training, and assists in organisational mobilisation. Moreover, they help women entrepreneurs in getting access to the markets and enhancing their knowledge level on business operations. The program is named as Aao Sath Maa, which is abbreviated as ASMA.
Summaiya says, “We offer various courses to the women and youth of underprivileged backgrounds. We provide several skill-based training programs ranging from basic literacy to graphic designing. Mostly we work with women hailing from lower middle class and middle-class economies.”
The challenges never stopped young Summaiya from stepping back of her dreams. In her words, “challenges are the part of a business, the moment you become an entrepreneur, you should be clear in your mind that this job is going to be challenging in every sense.”
Reaching out to the woman and convincing them to attend the workshops was not a walk in the park for the team. During the initial days of Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti, her team did house marketing, announcements in temples and satsangs to reach out to the targeted population.
She says, “Creating a trust in the society and convincing the toughest customer was the biggest achievement when our team is considered. As we are targeting the womenfolk who are supposed to perform the household tasks, they find no time to take out for themselves which is a major challenge for us.”
Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti’s programs are perfectly designed for the housewives. The organisation offers tailor-made solutions for the empowerment and skill development of the women caught in household responsibilities. They can avail flexible timings and study in the friendliest atmosphere as most of the trainers are females.
Even then Summaiya knows she needs to constantly motivate the womenfolk enrolled with the training programs to keep the ball rolling.