By Gopika Nair and Deeksha Garg*
The founding principal of Enactus MLNC has always been animal welfare. We accept as true the idea that it is our responsibility to look over all aspects of animal well-being including feeding, sheltering, disease prevention and treatment, and overall care of the animals. From the very starting, we are trying our best to bring about a positive change in the human–animal bond and our founding projects, Project Parivartan and Project DESI, cater to that very goal.
Project Parivartanwas initiated back in 2014, where we collaborated with 6 underprivileged women residing in the Chanakyapuri community of New Delhi. Acknowledging the patriarchal mindset in the communities, we trained these women to manufacture various dog accessories like collars, leashes, dog sweaters and rope toys. Helping the underprivileged women to acquire a skill set and earn a livelihood through the same became one of the objectives that Project Parivartan aims to fulfill. The team members provided these women not only training but also raw materials to start the manufacturing of products. Soon after the manufacturing of these products started, we launched a brand called BeDesi, where our exclusive line of dog accessories, which provides customers with an array of options and designs to choose from, made by these underprivileged women are sold. We also started collaborating and established partnership with various offline and online stores to further extend sales of these products. Now, 7 years later, these women are still working with us and have earned the badge of ‘Entrepreneurs’.
As a part of our revenue from selling the dog accessories goes to these wonderful women, they have become financially independent and bring in a share for their households as well. Since then, the list of products that are sold has grown substantially; we have successfully launched a variety of 15 plus pet product lines.
Enactus MLNC started another project in 2014 called Project DESIfor animal welfare. DESI stands for Duty to Empathize, Sterilize, and Immunize the stray dogs of Delhi. India has a huge population of stray dogs, it is a home to more than 30 million strays, and they are often seen being mistreated by people. Till today, animals are treated in an inhumane manner by large sections of people in the country. In a country where some animals are given as much respect as gods, others are thrown from buildings, ran over, and tortured in various ways for apparent fun. Through Project DESI, we intend to curb issues like overpopulation of stray dogs, rabies, aggressiveness in dogs and much more. Till now, we have got more than 130 dogs sterilized and immunized successfully by conducting regular drives. Project DESI also works majorly towards education and awareness of people regarding human–animal welfare, as we believe that knowledge and awareness are the keys to a greater change! We have effectively educated and made aware over 120000 people on serious issues like rabies, dog bites, and overall human–animal welfare. Recently, Project DESI achieved a huge milestone in the form of a very generous donation from The Pollination Project, which is a USA based funding organization. With their help, we are able to get more and more dogs sterilized in Delhi NCR.
As the pandemic became a greater and only cause of various deadly issues such as unemployment, increased death rates etc., the virus was also affecting those who didn’t have a voice. Losing their only source of getting food, many stray animals were subjected to starvation and death caused by the same. They were further mistreated because of various rumours, which stated that the virus could be transmitted through animals. Such rumours further led to many families abandoning their dogs in middle of nowhere. We could not keep quiet seeing the extent up to which animals suffered and we realized that the campus animals were neglected the most. We met Ms. Maneka Gandhi to discuss this grave issue and a remedy to the same. In collaboration with People For Animals (PFA), India’s largest animal welfare organization, we came up with an idea of DESI Club, which fulfills the empathy part of Project DESI. DESI Club is a volunteer-based service curated for feeding of dogs in and around college campuses along with creating a safe environment for the voiceless. The DESI Club also works towards rescuing them and getting stray indie dogs adopted. So far, we have got 26 homeless indie dogs adopted and over 10 animals rescued. Mahatma Gandhi once said that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” We, at Enactus MLNC, believe and live by this motto. Our aim is to create a safe environment for stray animals by awakening a sense of responsibility and sensitivity amongst people for these animals.
Under the guidance of Ms. Lakshita Shee, President of Enactus MLNC, we have achieved great success for all the projects under Enactus MLNC. Lakshita is a 3rd year B.Com student of Motilal Nehru College. She became a part of Enactus in her 2nd year and quickly rose through ranks to become the president. She stands for all the ideologies that Enactus MLNC works for and believes that through cohesive work for society, the world can be made a better place. Her religious hard work and exceptional leadership qualities have brought the association together to accomplish so much for the society and achieve landmark goals for all the projects. She has been the backbone of Enactus MLNC through thick and thins we faced and a major source of inspiration for our 75 plus team members.
For each and every member of Enactus MLNC, animal welfare holds great deal of importance. Project Parivartan and Project DESI have worked conscientiously towards betterment of human–animal relation; we have come a long way since we started and have achieved so much more than we could have ever imagined. But this success hasn’t put a stop on the work we do, rather it has made us more ambitious and has driven us to set new and bigger goals and work relentlessly towards the achievement of those.
*Gopika Nair, a second year student pursuing B.A. Programme, is the Content Head at Enactus MLNC. She works for Project Parivartan and the Marketing Department.
Deeksha Garg, from 2nd year English Hons., works primarily for Project Prabhakshay and is also a part of Marketing Department of Enactus MLNC.