Interview by Sidra Nazir
Tell us about yourself and Rivero
I am Hanan Shafi, co-founder of Rivero. I am currently pursuing B.Tech in Electronics and Communication engineering at NIT Srinagar. I am an alumni of St. Joseph’s Hr. Sec. School, Baramulla. Besides this, I gave some guest lectures on JEE Physics and Mathematics at Kashmir CM’s Super 50 program.
Rivero is a student led initiative to promote educational awareness and career management. These days, information is not a problem but what to do with the provided information. That’s where we come in: to sort information out and break it for the students. When we started off at Rivero, we were sophomores and barely twenty. Our initiative is student centric. We organize events and workshops in different schools. Rivero was, is and always will be independent and free. Our main aim is to open new horizons for the students in various fields of education.
What is the inspiration behind Rivero?
I wouldn’t say that I saw a dream or something. One casual evening I had a discussion with my friend about the education standards of Kashmir and we arrived at a consensus that we need to step up and do something about it and that’s how it started. At the point of time I had recently recovered from probably I would call one of the biggest failures of my life, I had just missed admission to IIT by a meager point. Further I had spent good amount of time outside Kashmir and I was just dumbfounded with the standard of education there. That moment I recalled my own journey, the hardships and the struggles that I had faced whilst being a student and I wouldn’t ever want any other student to face such struggles. Although I used to assist students at individual level before Rivero. However with the inception of Rivero, I had a great platform to disseminate my individual ideas into a joint work that benefit the society.
Tell us about your team?
We are young, energetic and committed youth. At Rivero, we consider age – just a number. Rivero is a diversity thing. We have young and old, students and professors, bankers and entrepreneurs. We have members from across the globe.
Tell us about working of the Rivero
First we barred Rivero to internet only. But then we felt a grave need to make it accessible to people offline. We organize events and workshops in various schools and coaching institutes. We do this by inviting people who have already excelled in their fields and make students to interact with them. All our events are followed by a Question & Answer session.
You have no sources for funds. How do you manage to run Rivero?
Money is not a bigger part of my life. At the moment, I could buy snacks for 20 bucks and go home and do absolutely nothing. You really don’t need money to do big. All it takes you is a great idea, and a great team. We don’t really need funds. We all do it as a goodwill gesture. Even the speakers at our events don’t charge us anything. Schools provide us with space and other logistics. Sometimes we need a little money for print outs, which we manage by cutting down on our burger costs.
Would you like to share any of success stories of Rivero.
At Rivero we don’t capitalize on what our mentees achieve. We rather count our efforts. I should say we have been pretty successful in doing 9 workshops at different schools, interacted with more than 2000 students. During the strikes, our volunteers started community classes at different places in Baramulla where hundreds of students got benefited.
What are your future projects?
We are working to have more and more counseling sessions in future with different professionals. And we are committed to address the concerns of each student regarding any field.
Any message for people out there.
Change is the end result of all true learning. Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. For the students, I want to tell them that world is much bigger place than you have ever thought. You won’t get a second chance in this world, make the most of your time, don’t waste it in useless things. Keep learning!