Learn. Travel. Give back: An interview with TribesFORGood participants

Established in 2017, TribesFORGood offers social impact journeys for people wanting to have a better and in-depth understanding of India. They offer three programs – The Social Impact Journey, a seven-day experience in Mumbai with workshops, field trips and a hackathon, Be A Young Changemaker, a two-month experience for those with no previous experience to social impact and Day Walks.

S: Tell me about yourself.

Anant: I am a 17-year old living in Kuwait. I always try my best to help out in the community as much as I can, taking part in important roles in school and beyond to give back and improve the environment around me. I have a knack for debating international relations and polarizing issues in Model United Nations as well as the Debate Team at my school. Among other things, I also enjoy playing the guitar, competing in basketball, and I’m looking forward to starting my tenure as a university student this fall.

Albert: I am the founder of ‘Colour Them Safe’, an Australian based arts organisation that improves the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people experiencing disadvantage through visual art programs and partnerships. We currently have partnerships in Australia, India and Nepal.

I am a graphic designer by trade and have over 12 years of experience empowering communities through creativity, working with not-for-profits and social enterprises to make a positive and significant impact in our world.

S: What made you decide to choose TribesFORGood to go to India rather than another program?

Anant: When looking for different internship programs in Mumbai, what truly separated TFG from other programs were how much they appealed to students like me, giving us the right experience and ensuring we learn a lot, not just from a social service standpoint, but how much they focused on exposure across Mumbai, which was a strong factor in why I applied to their program.

Albert: I choose to do a social impact journey with Mandeep and the TribesFORGood team because we share very similar values around social change. A colleague and I met with Mandeep a year prior. We were inspired by her vision to connect and educate change-makers like us.

S: Can you talk about what you did on a normal day as a participant in the program?

Anant: There wasn’t one day in my month-long internship when I didn’t do the exact same thing on consecutive days. My internship consisted of creating videos so the majority of my time would be spent on collecting and editing footage, as well as conferring with Mandeep and Kashyap to see how I could improve my work. Furthermore, there were many days spent out of the office where we would go to different parts of Mumbai to not only collect footage but to learn so much about the social services that are making a big difference across the city and beyond. This experience was fantastic, as I got to see so much of a city I didn’t know much about, including visiting Dharavi, which was something I will never forget.

Albert: As a participant of the TribesFORGood social impact journey the days were tailored by Mandeep and the TribesFORGood team around my learning aspirations. I wanted to meet with and learn from local organisations engaging children and young people experiencing disadvantage while also drafting a strategic plan and beginning an international partnerships strategy for Colour Them Safe. Each day included a briefing meeting, some form of the field visit, reflection and note-taking and debrief.

S: Can you tell me about your expectations before going? Was your experience anything like you thought it was?

Anant: My expectations were that I would focus on video creation, not doing much beyond that apart from the occasional field visits to some NGO’s to collect footage. In reality, these expectations were exceeded greatly as the entire TFG team made it a priority to ensure I was engaging in a lot of different ventures that I benefited greatly from, not just for my internship, but beyond that which I can apply to later in my life, which is why I’m so happy I joined TFG for an internship.

Albert: My experience was better than expected, I did not think we would have the time to do as much as we did within the week. While each day was quite busy and I was admittedly exhausted by the end of it, it was the intensive week of immersion that I needed to map out our strategy and push my learning.

S: What did you learn from the program? Has the program influenced your career/education?

Anant: I learned a lot about how to focus and build on the weaknesses of other enterprises, how to properly market and concentrate on the strengths of enterprises and shape those features into points that appeal to your audience. Furthermore, I learned so much about how to manage my time in terms of running a business, and manage my resources, which was very valuable considering that I want to be a social entrepreneur in the future. 

Albert: I learnt a lot about both the barriers and enablers to social change in Mumbai and more specifically working with children and young people experiencing disadvantage. I was able to draft a strategy for Colour Them Safe and interview a number of potential program partners that provided amazing insights that have informed our international partnerships strategy. The leadership coaching session at the end enabled me to plan future learning opportunities, I am currently applying for scholarships to do an MBA specialising in social entrepreneurship.

S: What advice would you give to those wanting to go on this program?

Anant: I would say go into the internship with an open mind. Never narrow yourself to what your program entails as there is so much for you to learn that at first, you don’t even realize. I would also say never be afraid to ask for advice or help. The entire TFG team is extremely supportive and great to have around.

Albert: The social impact journeys are great if you have a specific goal or area of interest in the social change space you want to learn about. Having the week tailored by TribesFORGood meant I was about to learn and achieve a lot in a short space of time. It was also an amazing way to meet lots of Mumbai’s inspiring change-makers, Mandeer and her team included.

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Sinead Simpkins

Sinead has graduated from a Bachelor of International Studies at Western Sydney University and a Graduate Diploma in International Relations at Macquarie University and a Master of Arts at the University of New England. Sinead has worked and volunteered at NGOs and Government departments. She first went to India on a New Colombo Plan scholarship in 2017, undertaking a two-week study tour. Since learning from her classes and her study tour of India, Sinead loves what India has to offer.

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