Aditi Sabbarwal: 4 Learnings From My 11 Joyous Years In The Development Sector

I've realized with time that the development sector gives you a lot of hope and opportunities to try, test, and experiment with ideas. The key is that you should be willing to do it.

Earlier this month I completed 11 joyous years in the development sector. These eleven years have taught me one key aspect about the Development Sector –  that you can change the world by taking one step at a time, by changing one life at a time. In this tenure, I’ve worked very closely with rural artisans and refugees across India.

Across all organizations where I worked, I’ve initiated new programs such as Entrepreneurship Development Training and Social Entrepreneurship.

Today, I would like to highlight my top 4 learnings from my professional journey that will encourage an aspiring change agent to create impact.

Perseverance is the key to success

I’m fortunate that I studied Social Work as theory was sorted in the wonderful two years at DSSW. The integration of theory into practice is achieved only with perseverance.

It takes at least three years for a fresher to set foot in the sector amidst rigid mindsets of people and most importantly one’s fears and expectations. Thus taking one day/one project at a time and keeping an open mindset is extremely important.

Ultimately your perseverance will win in the end and you will see a light at the end of the tunnel

Keeping a ‘Growth Mindset’ is crucial

I’ve come across many who has ‘Fixed Mindsets’ clubbed with ‘Know it All’ attitude, which I feel is the end to learning.

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The development sector gives many avenues to try new things and in the process explore your strengths and weaknesses. There is just so much knowledge out there that one should be open to learning from one another and not taking others as competition

Taking small steps, initiating new ideas as ‘Experiments’ or ‘Pilot’ is cost effective and beneficial

This is done and tested at so many occassions, such as, initiating Entrepreneurship Development Training with rural artisans; forming the first ever Refugee Social Enterprise – ILHAM Afghan Cuisine; and launching the MADE 51 Chapter in India.

I’ve realized with time that the development sector gives you a lot of hope and opportunities to try, test, and experiment with ideas. The key is that you should be willing to do it.

My venture ILHAM would not be existing today had I not ‘experimented’ at the Weekend stall at Dastkar at Crossing Boundaries exhibition back in 2015.

Journey from being fearful to becoming courageous is scary but beautiful

This has been the best learning for me. Everyone is fearful to enter a new domain, to leave the comfort zone, start something new, to work with communities and people around etc. But at the end, fighting your own fears and giving yourself the chance to explore your courage and limitations is the need of the hour. Thus, believing in yourself will lead you towards courage.

At the end, I will quote Khalil Gibran, to sum up my journey: “The river needs to take the risk of entering the Ocean, because only then will the fear disappear, because that’s where the river will know it’s not about disappearing into the ocean but of becoming the Ocean”.

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About the Author

A Sabbarwal

Aditi has been working in the impact sector for more than a decade and has a breadth of experience in education, arts, livelihoods, and global migration. Her expertise lies in developing, leading, implementing and monitoring read more...

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