As I enter the third week of my 40K globe program with my fellow 5 team members, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my choice to join this incredible organisation for one month. I initially chose to do this program as I love being immersed in new cultures and it encompassed the two key things I want to incorporate into my career; social business and global business. Little did I know how much more of an impact it would have on me other than solidifying what direction I want my career to head.
One of the key things that attracted me to 40K and one of the main things I think that differentiates it is the drive to move away from gift giving and charitable donations to providing people in rural Indian villages with the tools to be self sustainable and self efficient over the long run. Being given the opportunity to aid in this by implementing social impact projects and helping empower those in need, has been one of the best parts of this journey.
I was lucky enough to have been given a project where I could see this happening firsthand and where the values of 40K were really evident. My groups task was to expand the current Halli laptop bag range to a Halli iPad case range, whilst also tackling women’s employment concerns. Our goal was to engage with a new local women, with the aim of providing her with long term employment. This project also identified the scalable nature of the 40K Impact Projects in order to provide a positive impact for as many people as possible. In starting off this project I was able to see firsthand the impact the Halli laptop case range has had on the lives of the two women who are employed on the product. We engaged with Asha and Mangala to make the first prototypes of our iPad cases, and in the process got to hear their stories and better understand the needs of people in rural communities.
In our team we constantly strived for a better way with these initial prototype designs and patterns. We tailored our iPad range designs to target both a professional and fashionable demand, to showcase authentic Indian materials and also remain in line with the current laptop range. The design of our new product was created following initial survey results and market research, where we discovered profound interest in adding a front pocket and having a slightly larger size to fit all iPad devices and similar sized tablets. Some things took longer than anticipated in our process but that was largely due to how passionate we all were about the product as we knew success would allow us to make a massive difference to another woman’s life.
Now heading into the final stages of our process we have successfully engaged with a new woman and have employed her to produce our initial 50 prototypes on a casual basis, with the hope of eventually hiring her permanently if our product proves successful. It is clear to all of us that this employment will have a profoundly positive impact, not only on her own life but the lives of her family as well. We are now in the process of finalising designs and liaising with all involved to allow our upcoming pre-sale to go live. We are all extremely excited to get this product to market to see the response from consumers and also to see the impact this has for women’s empowerment in rural India.
Being a part of 40K has really instilled in me how important it is to be good to people and I’ve seen for myself just how rewarding that is. Helping to build lasting positive change is a challenge but it is one that is worth every fail along the way to see the results at the end. I believe that 40K equips you with all the skills necessary for leading a meaningful career and I, along with my team, can’t wait to see all the ideas that generate in the future to tackle similar complex social issues.