Siddharth Ladsariya, Founding Volunteer of Young Volunteers Organisation (YVO)

Siddharth Ladsariya is a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, angel investor and enthusiastic mentor. He has been actively investing since 2008 and has invested in over 150 start-ups to date. Siddharth is the Founding Volunteer of the Young Volunteers Organisation (YVO), an Indian non-profit organisation that started in 2015. YVO is an organisation that acts as a facilitator between young working professionals and thoroughly researched NGOs and aims to empower the underprivileged sections of Indian society. Siddharth also founded Everest Fleet Pvt. Ltd., a fleet management company in October 2016, which is now one of the leading players in the fleet market, with a fleet of 1500+ cars, operating in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi and, is a trusted partner of UBER.

 

The power of technology has been felt greatly by people and organizations around the globe, more so in the past two years. These unprecedented times have been an eye-opener for anybody who was still unconvinced about the importance of digitisation.

One of the greatest challenges of our time is sustainable development. Our environment is burdened with a number of global issues – pollution of the spaces we reside in; poverty, starvation; climate change; depletion of natural resources; ecological devastation and global inequality. Though technology may have been responsible for adding to these problems in the past, it will also play a central role in solving them, for the simple reason that it is an intrinsic part of our communities and our individual lives.

Although there is no quick fix for achieving sustainable development, the manner in which digital spaces are disrupting the social and economic landscape is truly remarkable. It has transformed our behaviours, homes, and even the way we work. Today, digital disruption is real and is beyond a few companies and corporates. For nearly everyone, including established, successful and high-tech organisations, digital transformation is much more than merely operational issues. The term delves deep into the realm where systems and people connect digitally. This ubiquitous approach to digitisation has opened up new avenues and opportunities for everyone.

Empower us to connect with ideas, cultures, and activities

The power of social media: Social movements around the world have swiftly integrated digital connectivity into their tool kit; be it for organising, publicity or effective communication. For many, digital platforms have created pathways of safety, security, and connection. Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn became the platforms to engage audiences to understand their values, needs and concerns, create awareness, hear people’s stories, ask for donations, mobilise efforts in support of various social and development causes and more. 

Fundraisers for the needy: Fundraising, crowdfunding, and donations don’t come easy. It is a task one needs to master and do it well. Most young professionals today face a dearth of time and lack the resources to research noteworthy causes, not sure which organization to donate to. However, the internet has made reaching out and connecting to people relatively more straightforward. NGOs like YVO act as a facilitator between donors and thoroughly researched NGOs. They help bridge the gap between a donor and receiver. The emergence of digital spaces has made fundraising effortless. It has created a pathway for people to reach out and donate in large numbers.

Forging digital gatherings with purpose: Gatherings are integral to community wellbeing. We spend a large part of our lives gathering with people. Recent social restrictions have meant we need to bring these gatherings to digital platforms. The key to meaningful gatherings is focusing on the distinctiveness, purpose, and people you are gathering with.  Many organisations have channelled their energies using digital platforms to reach out to a wider audience supporting impactful social transformation and development in India.

Creating a sense of belonging and offering support to communities: While misuse of digital spaces have revealed a dark side – Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have all received public scrutiny for harboring a myriad of hate groups – they have also long offered places of connection for communities. We saw the positive impact digital spaces could create during the pandemic, as hoards of civilian volunteers came together and worked with government authorities to provide real-time, valid information regarding availability of medicines, hospital beds, plasma etc to Covid patients and their families. Platforms like Telegram & Whatsapp, along with social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram & Twitter became a boon to those scrambling to take care of their loved ones, as they brought together people from all walks of life, from all religious and financial backgrounds, for one common cause.

Learning from the past to gear up for the future

Our current landscape is both exciting and daunting. On one hand, the rise of digital technology has opened up our world. It continues to empower us to connect with ideas, cultures, and activities that seemed distant even a couple of decades ago. Equality and sustainability are something that will take years to build. The consistent rise of the digital era and economic growth has been instrumental in bridging the gap between income inequality among countries. It took a pandemic with strict lockdowns, shuttered businesses, and international travel ground to a halt to get people to see the inequality and impact that an unprecedented situation had on the less privileged. The journey towards being sustainable and equal will continue, and with digital by our side, the gap is sure to reduce. 

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