By Triman Kaur

Introduction: Anticipation and Belonging

I’m bursting with excitement to share my extraordinary journey at the Pune Regional Summit. This life-changing experience was filled with priceless moments and unforgettable connections. From the moment I embarked on my first solo trip to Pune, anticipation soared. I met other Visioneers at the Delhi airport and immediately felt like we’re a close-knit community. We shared stories of how we discovered the Fellowship and engaged in stimulating conversations that created an instant sense of belonging.

Igniting the Fire: Engaging Conversations and Collaborative Opportunities

Arriving at the Residency Club, the Summit venue, I was greeted by enthusiastic participants who had arrived early. Our discussions on projects and collaborative opportunities ignited a fire within us. During dinner, our deep conversations about the collective vision for a sustainable future empowered us all. The diversity and passion surrounding us were truly inspiring.

Day 1: Setting Our Purpose and Connecting with Peer Mentors

The Summit itself was a whirlwind of enlightening activities and sessions. On our first day, we kicked off by reviewing our purpose statement for the Regional Summit and brainstorming our visions for the further months into this Fellowship. Dividing into groups of two, we came up with a verb to represent the integral part of our journey. Mine was to “treat everyone equally,” fostering an environment where we can all grow together and unleash our true potential.

One of the most memorable activities involved the hilarious randomness of running at different speeds, orchestrated by Neha, our fabulous facilitator. It was like being in a Bollywood movie! As she called out numbers, we formed groups accordingly, ultimately finding our peer mentors. These mentors became our partners for the next two and a half days of thrilling Summit activities. But first, we enjoyed a delicious lunch and reconvened for the enlightening Values Museum.

Finding Deep Meaning in Objects and Connecting to beVisioneers’ Values

At the Values Museum, we shared objects that held significant value in our lives. I proudly presented a medal, symbolizing resilience and integrity, which I earned after years of perseverance and determination. It was a victory in my annual sports day race, marking my first-ever triumph after several failures. This medal perfectly aligned with the beVisioneers value of integrity, representing the fulfilment of a once impossible goal. Witnessing others share their objects and stories, I realized that no matter how seemingly insignificant or unconventional, these treasures filled us with pride, honor, and self-respect. They fuelled our focus on personal and collective goals.

Day 2: SMART Goals, Brainstorming, and Nature’s Inspiration

The second day commenced with a fun ice-breaking activity, where we shouted names and pointed to the corresponding person with lightning speed. Laughter and friendly competition filled the air as we embraced the challenge of learning everyone’s names.

We then delved into sessions on setting SMART goals and identifying the tiny anchor of our projects. This anchor, once corrected, had the power to steer us toward success. It was like finding the missing piece of a puzzle that unlocked the path to achievement.

Next, we were divided into groups of ten to give suggestions, brainstorm ideas, and offer feedback for the Fellowship’s next cohort. The themes of belonging, connection, impact, collaboration, and engagement sparked a creative frenzy, resulting in a myriad of interesting and even hilarious ideas. From crafting Spotify playlists to fostering groups based on shared interests, our imaginations soared.

In the midst of this intellectual exploration, we embarked on a nature-based excursion to Tikri in Pune. It was a delightful opportunity to connect with fellow Visioneers, share our vulnerabilities, and celebrate our first hike together. We immersed ourselves in the wonders of nature, marveling at the delicate balance of the forest ecosystem. The resilience and adaptability of exotic species demonstrated how nature finds its equilibrium, inspiring us to strive for balance in our own lives and work.

Day 3: Indian Jugaad, Storytelling, and Inspiring Panel Discussions

On the third day, we embraced the Indian Jugaad spirit, honing our skills in creative problem-solving sessions led by Nihal. We explored innovative alternatives to the challenges we encountered in our projects, discovering new approaches and perspectives along the way. Along with a fun intellectual activity wherein you had to explain your idea to a ten-year-old in the simplest form with a time limit of only a minute. Though I stumbled during my final speech, my fellow Visioneers graciously supported and motivated me, reinforcing the bond we had formed.

Later, we had the incredible opportunity to engage in a panel discussion with Mercedes-Benz executives and volunteers. We delved into how this luxury brand is spearheading sustainability initiatives and actively contributing to climate goals by 2030. These deep conversations further solidified our commitment to a sustainable future and energized us to take action.

Creating an Ideal School and Lasting Bonds

In one of the most thought-provoking activities, we envisioned an ideal school that transcends the confines of traditional academics. We explored ideas like introducing unique career paths from an early age, empowering students to teach their passions, and incorporating sustainable studies and field trips. The aim was to foster an environment that encourages growth and authentic exploration, freeing children from the constraints of the rat race.

As the Summit activities drew to a close, emotions ran high. Tears were shed, and the support we received from Visioneers was overwhelming. Through our experiences and the heartfelt words by Marisha and Eva, we solidified our lifelong bond along with a cherished group hug. We celebrated our connection and unity with a night filled with a nature-inspired musical journey. The powerful melodies of instruments like the rabab and tambura resonated deep within us, reminding us of the strength of classical Indian folk music. Dancing the night away, we merged cultures, languages, and music genres, creating memories that would forever fuel our spirits.

Takeaways and Looking Ahead

This transformative experience has expanded my horizons and redefined my understanding of collaboration, resilience, and the boundless potential for positive change. It has taught me that age and background should never hinder one’s sense of belonging or ability to make a difference. Inculcating this, we can address problem at its core, going beyond surface-level fixes.

As we continue our respective journeys, the bonds formed during this Summit will serve as a lifelong support system. By exploring different layers and perspectives, we can develop holistic solutions that create meaningful and lasting impact. I am determined to contribute my skills and passion to this collective effort, collaborating with fellow Visioneers to address societal challenges head-on and pave the way for a more inclusive, just, and sustainable future for all.

Triman is a 2023 beVisioneers Fellow from India. Her planet-positive project focuses on empowering rural communities through the implementation of solar panels in agricultural fields, providing reliable sources of income, access to clean energy, and operational education opportunities for women.

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