How it began at Sarthak Prayas

GE-Countrywide, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd, Wipro BPO Solution Ltd, Hutchison Essar (or Vodafone), American Express—these are some of the companies where Harsh Arora has worked. Today, he is founder and CEO of Sarthak Prayas as well as Improve Life Human Value Management Pvt Ltd. Harsh describes his past occupations as “corporate jungle,” a place which he had to get out off to breathe.. During our meeting, I couldn’t keep myself from asking him questions about his transition from someone who loathed his job to someone who is completely content with his success and current life style. An average 12th grader studying in a Government school generally worries about board examinations, results, college admissions and the like. Harsh clearly wasn’t your average 12th grader. He envisioned a different future for himself. So, after finishing high school, he, along with six of his friends began helping others and doing deeds purely out of the desire to help others. Thiscontinued through college.

Then came work. His first job was in the Finance Department of Bank of America. It was while working here that he realized when training new employees that he was pretty good at catching and more importantly, holding people’s attention. At his next stint at Hutch, he lead a team of 37 women! Just another experience that reinforced his leadership potential and passion of dropping “pears of wisdom” while conversing with people. So that’s how Improve Life was setup and he immersed himself fulltime into counseling and HR trainings. At the same time, his informal group of do-gooders, had kept up the deeds, had christened themselves Sankalp, which means “Determination” in Hindi.

It was in 2003 that the small steps he was taking towards social work became a huge step. Inspired by the death of his cousin due to Thalassemia, Harsh decided to do something that will ensure that nobody in India loses his/her life due to the timely unavailability of blood. He did not want relatives of a patient struggling and begging for blood donors at a short notice, like his aunt did before his cousin passed away. Harsh had realized that a faster and more efficient method of gathering blood donations was needed. Therefore, he decided to register his group as an NGO and create a phone-based emergency blood line, where people could either register as “Emergency Blood Donors” or call to request for immediate blood transfers.

It was also at this time that he decided to officially register Sankalp as a nonprofit organisation. But since Sankalp was already a registered charity, Harsh thought of the names Sarthak and then Prayas – both of which were again already listed as two different NGOs. That’s when he decided to combine the two titles and thus came about Sarthak Prayas, meaning “Effective Efforts.”

Growing from an informal program of group of 6 individuals to an officially registered non-profit organization, Sarthak Prayas truly is the epitome of a jug fills drop by drop.

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