“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
These words of Mahatma Gandhi aptly describe the founder of Navratan Foundations, Ashok Srivastava. An electrifying , charismatic and charming personality, Ashok Srivastava is a man with a noble mission – to touch lives of those in need of a healing presence . . His rock solid determination and a never –say- die attitude make him stand apart from others . He is an avid believer in–Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. With this thought, Ashok Srivastava started Navratan Foundation in 2002. A member of many prominent social organizations since his early youth gave him an edge while viewing different perspectives of issues on ground. Leaving behind a lucrative corporate life to work with people at the grassroot level was not a sacrifice but a compulsive desire to inspire those who had the intent but lacked motivation to bring change.
A philanthropist and a social thought leader, Ashok focused his energies on creating a social enterprise, which focused on unseen talent and created programmes and initiatives around it which were pursued in a holistic and sustainable manner, in keeping with the needs of the environment in Noida and nearby areas.
An orator and speaker of the highest calibre, it is Ashok’s wit and ability to hold a conversation that make him a people’s person. A social entrepreneur with a penchant for honing talent, Ashok Srivastava aims to bring a new dawn in the lives of the less fortunate and hopes to improve and enhance quality of life for the oppressed and marginalized sections , build capacity and help those who have been suppressed in social and economic domain
“It is in giving that we receive”
There is no greater gift than the gift of opportunity to contribute and enrich lives of those in need. Starting Navratan was not about me being a philanthropist. It was a dream of creating a platform to help the less fortunate. The desire was to develop and showcase their unseen skills. The transition from my corporate role to dedicating all my energies into the Foundation has been a satisfying journey. My happy moments are small gestures . When a child from our slum school confidently recites a poem, he shines. When the women from our tailoring centre receives her first pay check, she feels empowered. It is this bond with them and the growing belief in their own ability that brings me great joy and solace!
My endeavour was to create a people’s organisation and give the underprivileged the survival skills by empowering themselves. I want to scale the mission and not the organisation. What we do is neither endowment nor charity. It is a human endeavour to strenthen lives of fellow human beings. They only need a supporting hand to lift themselves up from the unfortunate depths of hopelessness and despair .
Donations and help from likeminded individuals have become the backbone of the foundation. Every person who gave even a small contribution of a hundred rupees from his hard-earned money has become a stakeholder in this revolution of change. The volunteers approached us for donating their time and resources which is as important as any monetary contribution.
From the beginning, the Foundation was focused on creating new avenues in the field of talent spotting, education and skilling. We, at present, are working with hundreds of children and women on imparting basic education and providing skilling opportunities.
My appeal is to the people who believe in making a difference but need that extra push in taking the first step. I invide them to join us as partners in contributing to the sustainable development goals of India. Together, we can make a big difference through small contributions. It is only beneficence, generosity and compassion that can save Humanity.