As a run up to the International Women’s Day, Indian Women’s Network-Confederation of Indian Industry along with Indian School of Business’s Women’s Leadership & Excellence Initiative came together to create a journey of self-discovery and learning for young girls called, Pehchan Yatra.  The objective of the three days, two nights trip was to give the selected girls an exposure to the multifaceted and interdisciplinary world that exists outside of their classrooms.

Applications were invited from girls aged between 18-25 years across the country and 23 of them were selected. The girls were accompanied by Reema Gupta and Professor Saumya Sindhwani from Indian School of Business and Mr. Sumanpreet Singh from CII. They were taken across Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana on a bus ride and were introduced to some celebrated women who are made of grit, courage and resilience.

Talking about Pehchan Yatra, Professor Saumya Sindhwani said, “This journey intended to set the tone for dreaming big, fulfilling dreams and helping others dream bigger by breaking the shackles of negative and pessimistic mind traps. The trip combined self-discovery with learning from women who have seen struggles, hurdles, biases and have still managed to succeed.”

The focus was on women entrepreneurs (both mainstream and social enterprises), women who lead the brigade in administration, third sector and defence.
Pehchan Yatra was kicked off by Mrs. Gurpreet Kaur Sapra, DC Mohali and Dean Rajendra Srivastava from Indian School of Business on March 06, 2018 and culminated on March 08, 2018 with Mrs. Kamna Raj Aggarwalla, Chairwoman, IWN NR and Director, GDPA Fasteners felicitating the participants. 

The trip, aimed to be an immersive learning experience, gave the girls an opportunity to meet and see first-hand the achievements and struggles of women like Mrs. Anita Punj, IPS officer, Inspector General of Police cum Director Punjab Police  Academy (PPA), Phillaur, Dr. Inderjit Kaur, Patron-President of All India Pingalwara Charitable Society, Amritsar, Ms. Rachna Khaira from The Tribune, Ms. Deepika Singh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Jalandhar, Ms. Sandeep Riat, Managing Director, Akal Spring Limited, Ludhiana and Ms. Mridula Jain, Founder, Shingora Shawls.

The girls were especially impressed with their meeting with Mrs. Kamna Raj Aggarwalla at her factory. She gave them three tips for success, “Keep your mind open, do not complain and keep learning. Things you will remember the most are your failures and the joy you experience in overcoming them.” Through this journey the girls learnt the importance of hard work, dedication and commitment to what they do.  It helped broaden their horizon in terms of the opportunities that lie ahead and how to make the most of them. One of the participants, Mahanoor, said, “I have learnt not only from the women I have met but also from my co-yatris. Now I feel if all of them can, so can I.”

Further, the girls were encouraged to document the learning journey and share the same with their larger communities. In fact, it was a common sentiment that all of them shared of becoming able to mentor and host the Pehchan Yatris ten years down the line. “I feel that this trip will mark to be a life changing event for these 23 girls. The women they met have inspired them to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.” added Reema Gupta.