Chandni Bedi, Director – Rural Management and Training Institute and a social reformer working in the villages of District Gurgaon. 4 Ps – Purpose, Priority, Passion, and Persistence is the mantra of her life.She is currently the Director – Rural Management and Training Institute with 14 years of insightful experience in driving organizational growth with Navjyoti India Foundation, one of the leading non-government organizations delivering services in the areas of illiteracy, ignorance, gender discrimination, environment and community development.
With dreams to serve the nation, the ups and downs in family business did not deter her. Being academically excellent, she managed her studies through scholarship in school. Inspired by her maternal family background, she wanted to become a doctor as considered it to be a noble profession. However, she did not get through the exam and refused to get into paid seat for the values with which she was brought up.
A Delhi University topper with Environmental Sciences as her subject, Chandnidid part-time jobs and took tuitions to pay her college fees. She considers her mother as her strength. She was moved by her experience during her internship in Post-Graduation where one of the senior staff members ridiculed saying nothing can change in India. This inspired her all the more to work for the society.
She was rejected in her first interview in an NGO not because of her skills but because of her age and was suggested by the owner to focus on earning money and join social sector post retirement. “Fail, learn and grow but not losing the focus on the purpose of your life”, is what she learned while being persistent and maintaining equanimity in all the situations.
Chandni joined Navjyoti’sRural Development Program in 2003 soon after completing her studies under the guidance of her teacher and mentor, Dr. Arun Kansal who taught her to see opportunity in adversity. Regular interaction with the villagers especially the women on water issues perturbed her. With no funding for the project, manpower and team but with a clear purpose in life, synchronizing personal and professional vision, she continued to work in villages believing that when one is aware of the destination, resources and other challenges are never a constraint.
Her first environment project as a social reformer of check dam in village Abheypur became a successful model and today, the organization has constructed various check dams, gully plugs, gabion structures, rooftop harvesting structures in villages and government schools under her leadership. It is at this point that she realized that “It is not important to know what you want to become, but important to know what you want to do in your life”. She has recently launched a movement called ‘Harit Aravalli’ to save the Aravalli range in Sohna Block which is significant water reservoirs.
Realizing that there is a strong need of organizing women into Self Help Groups (SHG) as they are the ones who had to bear the brunt of fetching water from far-off distances, she started empowering them socially as well as economically and help them become self-reliant. These rural women today have become entrepreneurs and are able to voice their concerns on issues like domestic violence, alcoholism, child marriage, female feticide in the villages.
She developed 6 S model for the development of villages and is implementing various projects for children, youth and women to make the villages Sakshar (literate), Saksham (skilled), Sashakt (empowered), Swachch (clean), Swasth (healthy) and Swavlambi (self-reliant).
Her undying passion and enthusiasm led her to serve the organization in various capacities. She as a social reformer developed various models and advocated them at various platforms such as crime prevention model of Navjyoti, PACT model for good governance in NGOs, 4 C model of Navjyoti Community College to revolutionize the education system i.e. Competent, Compassionate, Conscientious and the Change-makers, improved quality management systems as certified lead auditor. She has initiated and spearheaded various social movements with youth and women such as “Bigul” and “Kavach” for combating social evils in the society working on women safety.
Chandni is a noted speaker and has also contributed articles and papers in journals, books,and conferences. She brings in insights from her experience of working at the grassroot level that helps in building effective work strategies with proven track record of success in planning, implementing various project management strategies that effectively results in organizational development. She has been recognized at various forums and recently received “Samarpan” award for her dedication to social service.
A spiritual person by heart and a student of Vipassana, she believes in building real relationships, real friends while identifying one’s own unique values, being true to oneself without emulating others in the pursuit of success. On work-life balance, she says, “Life is like a see-saw swinging up and down; one enjoys in that perfect imbalance and not when the see-saw is still. So, it is important to live a full life and enjoying the moment that you are into with a commitment to completing the journey of life with gratitude for what one has received”.