- Talent Quest for India
In 'Quest' for India's next socially responsible leaders
- Mr. G. Ramasubramaniam
Mr. G. Ramasubramaniam, or Ram as he prefers, was born with the qualities of a leader. On one occasion, during his high school days in Chennai, his best friend took part in a coding competition which he happened to win. Soon later, his best friend took Ram to meet his family and said, “This is Ram, my best friend. He is the reason for my success and victory.” Ram’s recipe to help his friend win the competition does not lie within anything too magical or technical. Ram understood the importance of non-judgemental listening and appreciation during his teenage days. This took him a long way. Today, he is the founder of Talent Quest for India (TQI) Trust, which in 2020, completes a decade since it was conceptualised.
TQI started off in a small group consisting of Ram and his few friends. It grew organically, through word of mouth. They started off by targeting students between 9th to 12th standard (ages 14 – 18). They wanted to help them with community skills and personality development. The team created a network between university students and school students, fostering an environment of leadership and responsibility within their society. All of this resulted in the holistic youth and child development. Companies were soon interested and impressed by TQI. They incorporated activities into their corporate social responsibility programme. It was particularly the culture of volunteerism and efforts of creating socially responsible leaders that attracted them the most.
Today, TQI has managed to mobilise over 3000 volunteers between 3 states (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra) and 30 districts in India. They touch a population of more than 10,000 schools students every year in addition to another 25,000 people at large through various programmes. Over the past years, he has touched about half a million lives and counting. They have implemented numerous programmes, all aimed at active participation of students and citizens to be more aware, informed and active in society. One of their most recent programmes, ‘TQI Express Phone Mentoring’, which aims at widening digital literacy.
TQI has also managed to convert their challenges to opportunities. As majority of volunteers come from Tier II and Tier III cities in India, people tend to be sceptical about the idea of volunteerism. However, TQI has managed to grow by achieving to get an equal number of both sexes to participate in the process. They have tried to break stigmas and barriers through this. Moreover, the trust has managed to acquire funds primarily through donations from friends and family rather than major investors or companies.
Ram’s advice to future social entrepreneurs such as himself is to put yourself out on the field and just take initiative. To quote Ram, “Whether it is a largescale problem, or even a social problem at the corner of your street, gather a team within your wavelength and take action. Non-judgmental listening far more important than you think, it can truly give someone a lot of courage.”