Education

“I want to be a changepreneur”

Kartikeya Goel (right, in white) coaching children at Assist. (Below) Karfa is a platform for artisans. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Kaushik Krishna 23 January 2021 13:54 IST
Updated: 23 January 2021 13:54 IST

Kartikeya Goel’s mission to give back to society has resulted in three platforms that help empower the underprivileged and youth

“It’s important to have big dreams but it’s also very important to work hard,” says Delhi-based Kartikeya Goel. “Just having a passion is not enough.”

Eighteen-year-old Kartikeya has founded three organisations: Assist that gives underprivileged kids the opportunity to play basketball; an e-commerce platform Karfa to help artisans; the National Youth Parliament Organisation that gives young people a voice.

Excerpts from a chat with the changepreneur, as he calls himself:

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What made you start Assist?

In 2016, while playing at a stadium, I saw many underprivileged kids watching us. When I wondered why they weren’t participating, my coach said, ‘because they don’t have the equipment to play.’ He also pointed out that they could only give a few subsidised rates.

At home, I had a small basketball court on the terrace. So I started training the children of our domestic help. Over two months, there was a major change in their lifestyle, behaviour and discipline. That’s what sports does to you.

Then, in 2018, I went to the IMG Academy to train and my coach asked me to start a project through which I could help the community. So I came up with Assist. Just because they belong to a certain section in society, their basic right to play sports or enjoy their life shouldn’t be denied.

You have been vocal about your journey with ADHD. How has it impacted your life?

In India, mental health is a huge problem. People don’t want to talk about it. I was diagnosed when I was young and, for me, to study in school was always a problem. My situation has improved because of playing sports, which really helps.

What was the reason to start Karfa?

I have always liked fashion and preferred to read Vogue over my school books. I also noticed that the prices of artisanal products differed at, say, a Santiniketan mela or Suraj Niketan mela and when sold commercially in a store. So I thought, why not create an e-commerce platform where the products can be sold without middle-men. The idea was to create a free and fair market for artisans.

Your most recent project is NYPO, through which you are holding the Budget Dialogues 2021. Why are the youth’s opinions important?

In Budget Dialogues, we have children from across India participating. We will compile all the budgets presented by children for various ministries and send them to various parliamentarians and to the PMO.

The youth makes up about 30% of the country but we don’t participate in the budgeting decisions even though we are affected by it. Talking about the government’s various acts or bills is not enough. I think it is important to take the youth’s opinions on board.

What are your plans for the future?

I will be attending Babson College in Boston, the U.S. and all my projects can be carried forward. I would like to start an Assist collaboration with the college and take Karfa to the Lewis Institute of Social Innovation to get it incubated. I also hope to take NYPO to the US as it is a political organisation. Small steps in the future and I hope we can do good things.

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