Faith has a deep meaning for Social Entrepreneurs. While for most it’s mainly around religion, for me, it is about an absolute belief in something and the perseverance to work on it despite changes of any other nature.
‘’There is only one religion, the religion of love; There is only one caste, the caste of humanity’’ said my divine master and I have complete faith in this belief that is now my life’s mantra.
On the day of the Graduation ceremony of SSE India Social Start-Up fellowship programme 2016, one of the fellows– Amit Tandon walked up to me and gifted me a picture that he clicked and titled it ‘FAITH’. I was delighted with this gift.
During the nine months of the fellowship programme, I witnessed enduring trust & faith in every fellow in their social enterprise. Where did it come from? While some re-thought their idea during this journey, I wondered what was making them continue their journey in our programme. This made me realize that FAITH drives Action especially in the context of social entrepreneurship.
I recall my interaction with one of our fellowship participant, Akansha who shared her dreams that she saw as a child. For her, dreaming was very important as it helped her shape her purpose of life. She joined the SSE Fellowship programme after she had completed a pilot on her idea & was battling with questions, confusions & expectations. For months waiting to take her next steps, while being in SSE programme, she realized a difference between an idea & a business model. On the day of the graduation, she described her experience as a ‘transformation from an individual to a social entrepreneur’. She considers this transformation as a result of her faith in the process of SSE and its commitment to engage with fellows during the programme.
Last week, I was at Harmandir Sahib, the Golden temple at Amritsar & one of my key purpose was to witness the spirit of service at the place. The selfless expression of people serving at the ‘langar’ was demonstration of their faith, but it led me to question – ‘Was it religious?’ Yes, to many who saw people serving the devotees at the temple as a religious activity but for others with whom I interacted and served the langar – it was their expression of love ‘service to man is service to God’. It baffled me on how people despite religion driving them to do what they did, were conscious of this idea.. Social entrepreneurs also genuinely want to serve the communities they work with. FAITH is beyond religion.
Social entrepreneurs endure and fight to work for the cause with self-awareness, fear, respect and absolute assurance on the purpose. And this assurance sums up the faith that drives action. SSE India endeavors to strengthen this faith and enable action around the social enterprises that the fellows work upon. The programme philosophizes our faith that ‘Everybody has the capacity to be remarkable’.