In today's world when people are getting absorbed in achieving materialistic success, people like Ratna Joshi can be really asset to society. She belongs to that group of people who get sheer joy in reaching out to needy people to help them. Ratna Joshi runs an NGO BMI trust in Pune, India. It aims to find solutions to the issues affecting the urban and rural poor, with a special focus on children and education. It is pleasure for Women Lines to share her journey in her own words-
1. Please share with our readers little bit about yourself ?
I, Ratna joshi reside at Pune city in India. A Strong desire to give back to society eventually took shape in 2006 as BMI Trust. Our NGO started with adopting the village named Vihram for education in 2006 itself. With years and dedication of volunteers, staff and supporters the number has grown to 38 villages.
We started solely with the purpose of education and its requirement but then we realised that other fields needed attention as well. We started concentrating on health aspects where we started conducting free dental check ups, cataract operations, blood donation camps, distribution of vitamins to younger children. We also took up some environmental projects to create awareness among the villages.
We are extremely fortunate to have a considerate, enthusiastic and aware team of young volunteers.
2. So when did you venture into this venture and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?
I took the plunge in the year 2006. I believed that apart from the upbringing that I have got and the values instilled in me by my parents, my family and society played a major role in shaping me, making me aware of many things which otherwise do not register to me. A lot of my life's experiences have culminated from society and have taught me a lot. So it was time that I give back in whatever ways I could. It was a very strong desire that motivated me to take the plunge.
3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?
I plunged into this venture with a completely different mindset. I had visited a few schools in and around Pune and realized that there was a massive communication gap between the teachers and students due to which the children were not able to make progress. We started helping out by our dedicated volunteers to teach the children over weekends. I slowly started noticing other problems that needed attention. Problems like cataracts, dental problems, domestic violence problems, unhygienic living , tobacco chewing problems, girl child problems , education and many more. We started with programs like Swapnapurti, Doordrishti, Swapnashrishti, free medical aid and Heath and hygiene to focus on these problems.
4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life ?
When my children had gone abroad for their higher education I had a lot of time to ponder over how I am going to accomplish my dream of giving back to society.
5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?
Breathe your dreams, never let the flame of your dreams fade. Make it a mission that you have to accomplish. Gather all your inner strength to make it possible and come in LIVE.
6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?
"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples" . I strongly believe somewhere this quote has become my lifeline.
7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture's future development?
In 2016 and 2017 we are planning to open up a Mahila Prashikshan Kendra ( women training Centre) for the rural, downtrodden and less fortunate women. This will definitely equip them financially and give them a sense of power and confidence to be more open in society.
Women Lines wishes best of luck to Ratna for success in her future efforts to reach out to more needy people to help them.
I would like to request my blog readers to visit BMI website http://www.bmitrust.org to know more about the NGO. You can make contribution to BMI efforts by donating on the website directly.
Facebook page: BMI Trust India.