Saaf India is a foundation that is currently being set up as part of my accelerator project. 'Saaf' means clean in Hindi, the national language of India and understood across most languages spoken across the country including English. The objective of the Saaf India foundation is two-fold:
- To inspire Indians to respect and care for common spaces with respect to trash, and,
- To provide world class waste management systems that can bring back a kind of pristine and pure beauty that India once had.
Making a difference in India with respect to the environment was always something that I wanted to do. Every vacation had a frustrating end knowing there was so much to do but so little time. The idea of designing a waste management system for the Indian railways started taking shape during one of my many train rides in 2009, where I watched passengers carelessly throw all the trash they generated out of the moving train into the beautiful landscape we were cutting across. The passion remained stuck in the back burner for a while.
It all changed on March 7th 2011 when I walked into THNK for my intake interview with my future coach Elly. Each participant was requested to bring a game-changing project as part of their SOP. My project originally was a digital platform to crowdsource designs to revive excess clothing stock. Elly wasn't impressed. It wasn't THNK-worthy enough. During the course of a typical participant-coach conversation Elly managed to bring the Saaf Train project out into the open to be tried and tested with the THNK methodology. The project was officially born on March 7, 2011.