This article is part of a series on the International Business Fest at IIT Bombay’s Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management

Alankar is the Global Leadership Summit at Avenues, the International Business festival of IIT Bombay, organized by Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management. It presents the students with an opportunity to understand the persistent efforts put in and tribulations endured by eminent leaders who pursued their ambitions to reality. A host of speakers would be attending the event and giving speeches on varied topics.

Dr. Prakash Amte, renowned social worker and activist would be gracing the occasion as one of the speakers for the event in 2014. Born to the legendary social worker Baba Amte, Prakash Amte has dedicated his life for the cause of development of tribal people in the forests of Gadchirolli district in Maharashtra. After completing his MBBS, he joined the Lok Birdadari Prakalp, a non-profit organization started by Baba Amte to equip the youth of Madia Gond, a primitive tribe situated in the Dandakaranya forest in central India, with education, access to healthcare and basic skills and characters to lead an empowered life. Over the next several years, Amte worked tirelessly for the cause, sometimes even without basic facilities like telephone or electricity, primarily in the area of healthcare and education, addressing formal and non-formal education through hospital, school and ancillary activities. The project has now grown onto form three things – Lok Biradari Prakalp Davakhana, a hospital which provides free medical services to the estimated 40000 tribal people around the area, Lok Biradari Prakalp Ashram Shala, a residential school for over 650 students and Amte Animal Arc, an orphanage for injured wild animals.

Today, the Lok Biradari Prakalp Davakhana hospital serves around 1000 villages in a 250 km radius. It serves close to 45000 patients in a year and receives more than 100 OPD visits every day, a large percentage of which are repeat cases. It has a 50 bed in-patient capacity for patients who require longer treatment. The hospital does not charge for doctor consultation or procedures, lab tests or medications. It has a decent laboratory with an x-ray, sonography and basic blood and urine analysis equipment.

The Lok Biradari Prakalp Ashram Shala school provides education right from the primary to 12th grade has been able to bring about a lasting impact on the community. Customised text books in the local tribal language is used to have the students accustomed to books and gradually move to the Marathi language. Classes are held not only in classrooms but also under trees and riverbanks to give students a feeling of belonging. A number of students have done well and gone onto pursue further studies. Many have managed to excel in sports and other activities. The school also provides vocational and livelihood training to a lot of locals who are unable to study further.

For his substantial contributions and social work, Prakash Amte has been conferred with a plethora of awards. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2002, Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 2008, Godfrey Philips Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and Lokamanya Tilak Award in 2012. A biopic film, portraying the life and contribution of Dr. Amte and his wife was recently released in three languages.

The excitement in the IIT Bombay campus is high in anticipation of Dr. Amte’s leadership lecture. “It would be an incredible opportunity for us to learn and listen to Dr. Amte. The way he has selflessly dedicated his life for such a noble cause is such a big inspiration for me” says Jethin, a first year student of the institute. The organisers are also pumped up about having Amte “At Alankar we have always strived to bring to our campus eminent leaders who have crossed the barriers of impossible and gone on to achieve great summits. We are sure that interacting with Dr. Amte would be an incredible learning experience for all of us” says Rahul one of the organizer of the event.

For previous news article on Avenues and Alankar, click here.

For more info on Avenues, visit the web page here.

(Students at SJMSoM, IIT Bombay have contributed to this article)