Support for the Disabled – Our next stop was a visit to Hubli’s Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. Supporting the physically challenged is a revolutionary concept for a country with a history of little communal acceptance of the disabled. Samarthanam educates and trains clients to be independent workers in the information-technology sector and international call centers across India. Despite having very few resources, this nonprofit organization’s progress is incredible. Touring Samarthanam was perhaps the most galvanizing experience of the trip. 4 This dilapidated bike/wheelchair, used by a client at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, illustrates the hardships physically challenged individuals face. School for the Arts – We enjoyed our visit to Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya, a privately funded boarding school nestled on the side of a hill outside Hubli. This school educates socially marginalized children (ages 6-18) from all over Karnataka, with an emphasis on the arts. The grounds pulsated with the sound of drumming, sitar music and singing, and the children staged a performance for us. Filled with positive energy between staff and students, it was an exhilarating place to visit! Students at Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya, a school for the arts outside Hubli, perform in concert. India’s Finest – Development Dialogue ’13 was packed with India’s most innovative thinkers. Networking sessions and facilitated workshops served as hubs for exchanging resources and focusing on issues like food insecurity and how it affects India’s next generation of publicly educated youth. Everything revolved around how innovative new ideas, when properly supported, can help focus in on – and solve – pressing social problems. 4 The Deshpande Foundation Development Dialogue 2013 gathered academics, investors, grassroots activists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs from India and around the world. Reflections – Before our 50-hour trip home, I had a chance to reflect on the connections made within our group of North American delegates, and the interactions we had with Indian entrepreneurs. The Hubli Sandbox and its students triggered a new-found sense of commonality: The social obstacles preventing economic progress and happiness – in America and India – are, in fact, surmountable. Together, we can address issues like climate change, poverty and education. I learned that social entrepreneurship develops because problems occur and need to be solved – as well as that achieving success requires some form of trial and error. Whether addressing a 50percent dropout rate in a Massachusetts public school or a water shortage in India, social entrepreneurship has the potential to sustainably solve these problems. We can learn so much from one another! Profiles 4 Ryan Manita is studying environmental science and economics at Middlesex. He hopes to graduate this summer and transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in the fall. His FLY Mentor Program, developed through Campus Catalyst, aims to reduce high school dropout rates and promote a smooth transition to college. i For more information about the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, visit: http://merrimackvalleysandbox.org/ For more information about the Deshpande Foundation Development Dialogue 2013, visit: http://www.deshpandefoundation.org/events/develop ment-dialog-hubli [ 19 ]