By Sam Burley, Student and Alumni Experience Associate at Pearson Business School
On what can only be described as an ‘interesting’ domestic flight from Mumbai to Goa I caught up with the Once upon a Doug team as they were traveling to Goa to start the future planning phase of the project trip. We were all exhausted, the Once upon a doug team from an intensive 4 days with their beneficiaries in Nagpur and myself from a lengthy journey from the UK. The exhaustion was only matched by our sense of anticipation and eagerness to start work with Apu and Shweta (our project partners from No Nasties, an ethical clothing brand) on the future strategy of the project, something that has only been possible over Skype calls from the UK up until this point. After a quick tour of the villa, a dip in the pool and some good food we all gladly welcomed our beds.
The next day the team were refreshed and desperate to get started on the project. We begun by sharing our feelings and experiences on the trip so far and after hearing a few captivating stories it began to become apparent that the team were missing being with their beneficiaries. Although their time there was exhausting the team felt that that is where they could help the most. Doug is a story of cotton, clouds and communities, the communities are so crucial for these women in a way that is unimaginable in the UK and the team really learnt a lot by being with them. They shared stories on how they were greeted into the villages with songs (thankfully they didn’t give a rendition of their version of ‘what a wonderful world’ which they sang in response), how they had made their own Dougs and the visit to one of the women’s house and how happy she was with the changes once upon a Doug was having with her life and her children’s life already!It’s remarkable to see how the team has changed during their time in Nagpur, their passion for the project has intensified and everyone seems to be much more focused on priorities. What will help these women the most? What can we do to provide this? and what will we need to achieve this? The biggest realisation is how much we have in terms of resources.
We have connections to key business leaders in London and access to a captive audience to hear their story. This is most exemplified by the teams change of environment, coming from a village in rural Nagpur to a Villa in the heart of Goa has left them shocked and really quite sad. The key now was to turn these feelings into motivation and focus on the project at hand, we moved on to setting a strategy for the time we are here and the students each took a topic to work on and lead a session on over the coming week. We finished the day working on the beach, the perfect setting for a session on dreaming big. My two favourite ideals were getting Doug into outer space (maybe something our Escape studios friends could help with) and getting the Queen of England to wear a Doug and be aware of the issue. We spoke long into the night on how we were going to make these ideas become reality, watch this space!
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