From Delhi's Streets to Sussex's Halls: The Inspiring Journey of Abhishek Saini

From Delhi's Streets to Sussex's Halls: The Inspiring Journey of Abhishek Saini

In the heart of an underprivileged neighborhood in New Delhi, where violence, community strife, and substance abuse were rampant, a young boy named Abhishek Saini was born into a world of adversity. Growing up amidst thirty family members in a century-old house, he shared not just a cramped living space but sharing a poorly ventilated 5x4 feet toilet. His humble beginnings and the challenges he faced shaped him into a remarkable individual whose journey would take him from a government school in Delhi to the prestigious Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

Abhishek's story is one of resilience, determination, and the unwavering belief that education could be his ticket out of poverty. He understood early on that excelling in his studies was the key to breaking the shackles of his circumstances. In his formative years, he not only shouldered responsibilities within his family's small packaging business but also went above and beyond. In 6th standard, he would carry hefty packets of packaging material, handling labor shortages with determination. These early experiences developed a solid foundation for Abhishek and ignited his curiosity about the intricate link between economic resources and human development, as well as the vital role that government policies play in shaping socio-economic progress.

Through his dedication and unwavering resolve, Abhishek earned the opportunity to study at two of India's premier institutions: Kirori Mal College and Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. He navigated the challenges of an unfamiliar environment and not only excelled in his studies but also secured a placement offer with a substantial INR 12 LPA salary. This achievement held special significance for Abhishek as his per day saw a it was equal to the weekly income his father earned.

Guided by an unyielding passion for social development, Abhishek courageously transitioned from a high-paying corporate job to embark on a new chapter in the development sector. Recognizing the challenges within the volunteering industry, he conceived the groundbreaking idea of "Those In Need" – a platform bridging the gap between NGOs and volunteers. What began as an inspired concept has now blossomed into a force for good, collaborating with over 200 NGOs and engaging more than 30,000 volunteers, who have collectively contributed an astonishing 125,000 hours of volunteering. Abhishek's innovative approach to leveraging technology for volunteering earned him a platform at TEDxGurugramWomen, where he shared his vision.

Through a tapestry of diverse experiences, Abhishek honed his leadership, management, and collaboration skills, underpinned by a steadfast value system rooted in integrity, dedication, and hard work. His trajectory from being a beneficiary of public policy to becoming a catalyst for solving complex socio-economic issues exemplifies his growth as a first-generation entrepreneur. His remarkable journey has been acknowledged with accolades, including the Bharat Leadership Award 2018 and India's Top 100 Young Leaders Award 2017. Abhishek's innovative prowess was further recognized when he emerged victorious in the Dell Startup Challenge Season 3, a testament to his ability to blend technology and development.

As he sets his sights on the next chapter of his journey, Abhishek's path leads him to the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. There, he will undertake the Master of Arts in Governance, Development, and Public Policy program – a pursuit perfectly aligned with his aspirations. The institute's global reputation as a leader in development studies, as per the QS University Rankings 2023, adds an exciting dimension to Abhishek's academic pursuit.

One quote resonates deeply with Abhishek and has fuelled his motivation: "Sapne pure karne chayie nahi toh wo sapne hi reh jate hai" (Dreams must be fulfilled, otherwise they remain mere dreams). His journey isn't just about personal achievement; it's about breaking barriers and becoming the first person in his family to study abroad. Supported by his unwavering parents and a pillar of strength in his wife, Abhishek is a testament to the power of education, determination, and innovation.

From navigating the challenges of a marginalized upbringing to pioneering a transformative platform for social change, Abhishek's story showcases the immense potential within individuals to drive positive change in their communities and beyond. As he embarks on his educational journey at the Institute of Development Studies, Abhishek's legacy is poised to leave an indelible mark on the world of social development and policy innovation. His story is an inspiration to dream, to defy the odds, and to believe in the transformative power of education and unwavering determination.