Orenda Trust

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Orenda Trust: Changing the world, one conversation at a time

New Delhi, IndiaNew Delhi, India
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We believe that every person hold the potential to change the world around them. Through a peer-driven, workshop based curriculum, we initiate developmental conversations with over 5,000 students every month, to empower them to ensure their own economic, physical and social wellbeing.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if students could learn about gender equality through movies and financial literacy through monopoly?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

A child needs to ambition to study, to understand preventive healthcare to get a vaccine, to learn equality to respect the opposite sex. Textbook education is neither sufficient nor necessary for a better future as there is a huge disjuncture between the education system and society in India. We are bridging these gaps to produce individuals who are empowered to enhance their wellbeing and contribute to the community.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The essential prerequisites for growth are developed through our personal infrastructure of family, peer group, conversations and experiences. We replicate these through a peer-driven, interactive workshop based curriculum covering 50 modules on economic, physical, environmental, social and personal wellbeing for children from underprivileged sections. The workshops are conducted bi-monthly (ideally 2-3 years) in schools by college students, who gradually create peer leaders from the students, to conduct future workshops. Peer based model mirrors cognitive learning processes and provides developmental experiences, allowing students to learn better and the workshop conductors to develop sensitivity and leadership at the same time.


Global Teen Leader 2011, Global Teen Leader 2015, Action for Nature Eco Hero (2nd globally) 2014
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The project initiates conversations on key issues. We learn financial literacy through monopoly, gender issues through movies and health issues through skits. The interactive nature of the workshops allows students to engage and learn, without any traditional teaching, in a comfortable environment. One of our initial students from a community program was a girl who had dropped out of school, was to be married off shortly. She attended the workshops for over a year, during which she opened up and even initiated discussions on marriage and career. She entered VLCC on a scholarship. Even though she was married shortly after, has now set up a home beauticians service. She also has her own bank account and practises waste segregation.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We are working with 5,000 students across 5 schools directly. We have conducted workshops workshops with over 100 teachers, leading to an indirect impact base of over 20,000 students, without even counting for families and ripple effects. We have seen close to 100% retention rates and jumps in educational, health, environmental metrics like 93% increased willingness to pursue higher education with increased understanding of careers, institutes and financing options, over 80% increase in nutrition and preventive healthcare knowledge and adoption of waste segregation and no-litter policies. We will expand to 36 schools in next two years - covering 400 college students and 20,000 schools students. We aim to reach 90% higher education enrolment, 90% financial and health literacy scores and improved qualitative metrics like equality, confidence, ambition, conflict resolution and leadership.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

1. Geographical - We will reach 15 major cities in next 5 years and have a national presence in the next 10 years. 2. Impact - We will work with over 500,000 students over the coming years, creating a strong network of students who support each others growth. We aim to connect over 95% of these with higher education/career opportunities, but more importantly, impart them with skills and agency to be involved in community development and ensure personal health and hygiene, financial planning, environmental conservation, gender equality, respect and acceptance.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The project requires a small budget, since we operate on a student volunteer based model. We currently utilise a grant and innovative fundraising model. By the end of next year, our first batch of students will be reaching final year of school - post which we are implementing financial partnerships with leading vocational training institutes and micro-lending organisations, to charge a basic fee to connect students to these institutes.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are various literacy, vocational training, career guidance or social/emotional learning based initiatives in form of NGOs, educational institutes, foundations and government initiatives. We differ in several key aspects - 1. We are not textbooks or sports. We initiate conversations that are enabling factors for any developmental activity 2. We are a student based model - it helps in initiating conversations that are difficult with adults as well as promotes sensitivity in workshop conductors 3. Innovative content, pedagogy and assessment - comprehensive curriculum based on 3 pillars

Founding Story

We started out as an environmental and health awareness organisation, conducting drives and workshops to involve youth in community action on these issues. During one such workshop in 2012, a girl Bharti, from 8th standard, who worked extensively with us, asked us during a conversation if we could also discuss how she could clear her complexion. On further discussion, we realised that while everyone is conscious about body image, the concept that who you are as person and what you do is more important than looks, had never been communicated to her. This was the first of many conversations we progressively found the need to initiate in an impactful way, for all youth.


Board - 5 members, including self, a doctor, an educationist, an environmentalist and a financial expert Executive - 9 permanent members (Founder, Co-founder, 3 research heads covering content, pedagogy and assessment, volunteer manager, school manager and a newly formed editorial head for an upcoming blog) and 10 voluntary teaching assistants The executive team is entirely composed of students, from top colleges like SRCC, LSR and IIT, who have undergone training with educational psychologists and make up in passion and out of the box thinking for what they lack in age. We are actively expanding and will have 12 established college-based teams by next year, covering one school each, and more than 36 teams across 3 cities by 2017.