Five-day bootcamp to make social work attractive for Dubai students


Students will have the opportunity to pitch their socially conscious business idea.

Social entrepreneur and Dubai resident Jivika Rajani wants young people in the emirate to believe that they can work for the benefit of the society, and earn a great salary at the same time.

“Social work is not limited to charity or personal sacrifices. Business initiatives today must have inherent value created for people, community and the planet – all three should benefit from the business initiatives,” Jivika told Khaleej Times.

A recent graduate in environmental economics and media studies from Pomona College, Claremont California, United States, Jivika returned to the UAE to launch the Aspir8, a five-day social innovation and entrepreneurship boot camp (SIEB).

Jivika is one of the recipients of the prestigious Napier Fellowship, a programme that is held in partnership between Pilgrim Place and the consortium of Claremont Colleges to encourage leadership for social change. She received a $15,000 funding from Napier to continue her work in the UAE and India.

Students will have the opportunity to learn from scholars and industry leaders, and finally, pitch their socially conscious business idea. The camps will be held in Collegiate American School in Umm Suqeim in three batches, starting December 17, and will continue until January 4. Mentors for the SIEB sessions in Dubai include Mark Hanis, a research fellow with the Handa Centre, Stanford University and Madison Vorva, United Nations Forest Hero.

Students attending the programme will also have access to curriculum provided by Jane Goodall’s roots and shoots foundation, Net Impact, and much more. The sessions are free of cost, and up to 130 students have registered for the boot camp. Jivika added that she can host 10 more students.

Sonia Sawhney, whose son Sidharth (14) will be attending the programme said: “I enrolled my son for the programme so that he gets a better idea on what kind of future he wants to pursue. Social entrepreneurship also gives students the power to make balanced decisions.”

Jivika, originally from New Delhi, moved to Dubai at the age of five. She has been living here ever since and graduated from Emirates International School, Jumeirah in 2013. Jivika felt that students in the UAE were not able to apply their education in ‘real life’, unlike their peers in the US.

“Students in Dubai don’t have the opportunity to create small solutions for complex social problems. The camp makes that process attractive and scalable to students,” she added. Her first social entrepreneurial project here was when she raised over $1,000 for the Dubai Autism Centre through a photography competition.

Source: Khaleej Times