Reap Benefit’s team of mentors are a diverse group of individuals bound together by a firm belief in the power of teaching young people to flex their civic muscle. In this instalment of Mentor Mondays we catch up with mentor Baiju Balan.

Baiju Balan takes a session for young Solve Ninjas.

An early desire to serve society

Even when he was in high school student in Kasargod, Kerala, Baiju Balan knew that he wanted to work in the not-for-profit sector.

“I was part of the N.S.S from grade 8 and had spent four years working in the community on various initiatives. By the time I reached Grade 12 I…


We interviewed Kavya PK about what prompted her to volunteer as a Covid Ninja and what she has taken from the experience.

Kavya P K is 3rd year Engineering student at PES University, Bangalore.

Q: Why did you volunteer?

A: Witnessing the pandemic unfold especially during the second wave was heartbreaking on many levels. While staying safe at home tuning out the numbers on the news was something that I did for a long time, there was always this question at the back of my mind wondering how I could help, even if it was in a small manner. That’s when a friend of mine told me about the initiative of the…


Ashish VR, Archana Kr and Anwesha Oburai take time to reflect on the spirit and efforts of our Covid Ninjas during the second wave of Covid19.

The past three months have been more than taxing! It goes unsaid when we state that almost each one of us have seen our own share of suffering and loss due to COVID-19. Despite this, many of our Solve Ninjas have stood up, taken charge and continue to work on multiple fronts to proactively address COVID-19 issues and support the larger ecosystem. Owing to our Solve Ninja spirit, we are glad to share with…


Indumathi S was one of many Covid Ninjas who registered with us to volunteer during the second wave. She shares her thoughts and experiences here.

Covid19 and the subsequent lockdowns have exacerbated the inequality and the poor have suffered the most. In March 2020, during the first Covid19 lockdown, the images of men, pregnant women and children walking miles and miles, crossing highways and rail roads, with the hope of reaching distant homes with no money or food was beamed into our homes. …


In this instalment of Mentor Mondays we catch up with Ashish VR to find out how this Engineering graduate wound up mentoring young public problem solvers with Reap Benefit.

Ashish VR handing over a Skill Certificate to a Solve Ninja.

An early habit of taking on responsibility

Ashish is always volunteering to help out with new projects at Reap Benefit, a habit that can be traced back to when he was just six years old.

“I joined a residential school in the third standard, and being in hostel taught me a lot about how to work for and with others. …


‘Get your hands dirty’ is a phrase bandied about at Reap Benefit very often. It means a number of things: literally get your hands dirty by composting or DISS-ing a black spot or planting a garden. It means not sitting back and just talking about the world’s problems but actually doing something about them. It means creating solutions to the problems that plague our communities.

Over the years Solve Ninjas have invented 542 innovative solutions that have solved civic and environmental issues in their schools and communities: from simple DIY water aerators to overhead tank alarms. …


by Baiju Balan

Reap Benefit Mentor Baiju Balan recently attended an Acumen Academy course on Adaptive Leadership, a program designed for those who wish to understand the path of leadership. He shared some of his learnings and insights with us.

One of the key messages I took away from the course is that if we are spending most of our time doing it is likely that we are not leading adaptively.

The program shared the concept of the Dance Floor : a space where all the action happens in the organisation. This could be an Email inbox, day-to-day meetings, deadlines…


As the second wave of Covid19 devastated the country, five Youth Board Members came together to set up a Disaster Management Task Force, start an information helpline and create a verified directory of resources for multiple cities. We caught up with Lalith, Lavitra, Sneha, Rajashekhar and Sruthy to find out how they got this running off in such a short time and what they’ve learned from the experience.

The idea was a simple one: connecting people to the resources they required during the second wave. “Our main focus was on Covid beds, followed by treatment resources like oxygen, plasma, food…


Archana KR shares some of her favourite moments from Season 1 of Panchayat.

Archana KR is a Reap Benefit teamster passionate about issues related to sanitation and hygiene.

Panchayati (Panchayat). When I hear this word I am taken back to my childhood days. Our village’s Panchayat office was a small, pretty building with a red tiled roof (in Kannada we call it Henchina Mane). In the front, there was a big tree and some round stones.

In those days, the buses usually stopped in front of the Panchayat office. On Saturdays there would be many people waiting for the morning bus which would reach my village at 11:30 am. But people would start queuing up…


Nikhila Kanakamedala joined Reap Benefit in 2019 in the partnerships team, and joined the data team soon after. So, how did the engineer who once harboured dreams of becoming a journalist land up in an organisation that’s interested in building the civic muscle of youth? We chatted with Nikhila in March this year about her journey in becoming a Solve Ninja, why data matters and how she hopes to make data more accessible to team members.

Nikhila Kanakamedala

All roads lead to Reap Benefit

In school, I harboured dreams of becoming a journalist, but everyone told me I was too shy and…

Reap Benefit

Engaging youngsters in solving local environmental problems with data and solutions #energy #waste #water #sanitation

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