My Story: Santosh Patil (Jain College, Belgaum)
I come from a village background. My father is illiterate but was determined for his four sons to have a different life, one with more possibilities. He worked hard for my brothers and me to come to Belgaum and attend Jain college, which we all did.
I first learned about LEAD when I attended a LEAD orientation at my college. I was attracted to the support the program provides, and so I decided to join the community. Amrut guided me through small projects, and then Abhi, another mentor, affirmed that he was ready to move on to the next level shortly after. His first project was turning plant waste from the field into usable fuel. Along with this, I educated farmers on the negative effects of pesticides, and the importance of organic farming. To date, I have promoted organic, sustainable farming to 100+ farmers. In addition to this noble feat, he has completed 26 other projects, which have all had a positive effect in my community. For my leadership, I was nominated for the LEAD Ambassador position, which I accepted and guided over 100 students through their leadership development.
Throughout this journey, I have never forgotten my roots in my village. At the government school there, there is no toilet, and the kitchen is very dirty. On October 3rd, 2014, my team and I turned the old kitchen into a proper bathroom and arranged for sanitary food preparation. This effort even got media attention and we were featured on city news.
My father has always been my role model in life, and now Abhi is a mentor for me also.
Because others have helped me so much, I want to pay it forward and help people also. Another dream of mine is to be a social entrepreneur – I want to be the job provider, not the job seeker.