Young India Challenge


Human Circle, a community of students, professionals and entrepreneurs from different backgrounds, educational fields, and goals will be organising the 9th edition of Young India Challenge (YIC) on the 28th and 29th of October, 2017 in Mumbai. The tagline – #DoWhatYouLove – is an indication of the event’s proceedings. The challenge will be aimed at helping young people in finding their passion in life and connecting it with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Here’s a highlight of an interview with Kamal Seth– the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Human Circle and the creator of Young India Challenge. Kamal explains the ‘Why’ ‘What’ and ‘How’ of the organisation and the #DoWhatYouLove movement which has spread to more than a million people already.


The idea for the #DoWhatYouLove movement took shape in my head during my college years in 2005-08 at DU. I noticed that a lot of my friends were studying what they were not because they were passionate about those subjects but mainly because they cleared the cut-offs. This also meant that after their graduation, they did a job or an MBA to get a good salary and not because they would enjoy what they would do.

Before founding Human Circle, I worked as a recruiter for large organisations like Nestle, Philips, Awesomeness Fest, AIESEC etc and ended up doing 2000+ interviews in approximately 8-10 years. The pattern was very disturbing for me: to interact with people from across different age groups and realise that they were doing something that they didn’t love. In many cases, they were unproductive, unhappy and not content with their career and life in general. In 2014, we found Human Circle to ‘connect enlightened minds’ and drive the #DoWhatYouLove movement.



In 2014, when we opened applications for the first YIC at IIT Delhi, we surprisingly got 700+ applications within 2 months. We were curious to know what made so many people apply. When we asked the same during the interviews, they shared with us that, YIC’s theme of #DoWhatYouLove connected with them at a deeper level. They wanted to experience something that no other event was offering in Delhi at that point of time.

The biggest challenge we faced during the event was that the room which we booked to start the first session, was occupied by a Professor, who apparently was not informed about YIC. We gathered the 100 delegates of the first ever YIC in the lawns and started the first workshop ‘Turn Your Passion into a Career’ there itself. After 3 hours, we finally got another room to continue the event. This experience made us even more determined to never give up. But the support from the delegates was amazing. They did not complain at all and fully participated in the session, even though it was done without any projector, mikes etc. Since then we have never looked back.


So far, close to 1500 people have attended the 8 YICs that we have organised. Seven in Delhi and one in Mumbai. We are self-funded and therefore have limited resources to invest in building a sophisticated online system to connect people. It is a challenge to keep a track of each and everyone’s experience but many of them stay connected through our online group on Facebook and Whatsapp and physical meet-ups that we have started organising recently. The YIC alumni often share with us how YIC was kind of a push they needed to finally do something about what they love doing. Many have started new societies in their colleges, start-ups, clubs, and projects or went back to a passion area that they had left behind due to academic, parental or other pressures.

Many alumni continue to get guidance by us, our mentors and life coaches. Many pursue their career in the organisation of our mentors, speakers and eco-system partners. We offer recommendation letters to the most deserving candidates and this helps them in receiving admissions and/or scholarships to pursue their higher studies/jobs. More than 150 individuals have also gone through the ‘Happiness Team’ program of Human Circle, where they work as interns and volunteers for the #DoWhatYouLove movement.

It is true that we don’t focus on big brands and names for our programs and events. It’s not that we have a policy to not work with big brands, but we are selective in our choice. For example, in the past, we have invited speakers and mentors from companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Hindustan Unilever, KPMG, Techstars etc. but they came in an individual capacity. YIC is a not for profit, self-sustainable initiative and we want to keep it this way to stay focused on our mission of engaging the young people of India with the #DoWhatYouLove movement. Delegates pay a basic fee which helps us to keep it going. Any surplus that we make gets invested in building our organisational capacity and investing in new cities where YIC should be organised.

By the end of 2017, we would have connected at least 2 million people with the #DoWhatYouLove movement one way or another.

If you also want to have an impactful career of your choice, you can apply for the 9th YIC here – www.youngindiachallenge.com

Human Circle, a community of students and professionals from different backgrounds, educational fields, and goals, organised the sixth Young India Challenge (YIC) on the 17th and 18th of September, 2016 at Shri Ram College of Commerce. The tagline – Do What You Love – was an indication of the event’s proceedings. The conference was aimed at facilitating young people in finding their passion in life. The event started in the morning outside the main auditorium, with ice breaker sessions for the delegates. Post that, everyone moved inside where Kamal Seth, the founder of the organisation, took up the stage and shared the journey of the community and the previous YICs. Sonia Joanna Szymczak, the next speaker, held an interactive session with the delegates asking questions about their expectations from their life and the YIC. Next, Wioleta Burdzy Seth, one of the co-founders of the organisation and a life coach, started with the ‘Hack Your Brain’ session. Continuing the trend, she began by opening a dialogue with the audience. She shared many of her experiences with the delegates and asked them to do the same. “Bend your reality to make your own rules,” said Wioleta when discussing various societal and life pressures influencing people towards their careers. The session concluded with tips and techniques to get a better grip on life. _dsc0066-01 The afternoon session on Day 1 began with conversations with speakers. Sankalp Chhabra, who currently works in the corporate social responsibility sector of Snapdeal, talked about the importance of consistently working hard for your goal. He has many accolades to his name, having worked for the Central Board of Secondary Education and for the Planning Commission of India. Sankalp spoke about his journey as a whole – from the time he realised his goal, to the everyday efforts he put in to achieve it. One of the most substantive statements by Sankalp with regard to this was “You need to make it happen on a day by day basis.” _dsc0015-01 The next speaker, Sonia Joanna Szymczak, spoke about her love for travel and how it influenced her career. She focuses on cross cultural business communication, which she called the “global approach to business and people.” Her presentation revolved around the differences in etiquette around the world, during which she presented a graphic that stated that curiosity and non-judgemental thinking lead to positive learning. She also spoke in depth about her personal experiences and personal growth. After the speaker session, the delegates were divided into teams and were given time to get to know each other. They were also asked to prepare material for the next day. The next day started with an ice-breaking session, wherein the delegates had to collectively work towards building a paper tower. This was followed with a ‘know your mentor’ session, in which each of the 16 mentors introduced themselves and shared snippets of the life-events that contributed in them following their respective career paths. The mentors included Human Circle co-founders, Wioleta Burdsy Seth and Kamal Seth, along with various entrepreneurs coming from different backgrounds. _mg_2867 The main project of the day was for the participants to come up with a product which they could patent, trademark or copyright, based on any one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. For this purpose, the delegates were divided into teams and allotted the pre-lunch period to work on their ideas and also consult with the different mentors. During the presentation session, the different teams put forward very innovative ideas concerning a number of issues like inadequate drinking water in rural India, oceanic pollution, poor educational facilities and many more. Each team was allotted a period of 5 minutes to present their product, after which they were questioned by a panel of 3 judges. _mg_2876 The two day programme culminated in a prize-distribution ceremony in which the winners of the ‘Young India Challenge’ were presented with prizes, while all of the participants were given ‘Excellence certificates.’ An innovative and enjoyable initiative by Human Circle, the Young India Challenge aims at locating and honing the abilities of the future leaders of our nation. Not only did the delegates have a lot of fun, but they also had a lot of valuable take-aways from the programme. Image credits: Alex Arthur and Hitanksha Jain for DU Beat Vineeta Rana ([email protected]) Swareena Gurung ([email protected] )]]>