Mangaluru: Connecting people through Bridges is what he does. Fondly called as Sethu Bandhu or the Bridgeman of India, Shri Girish Bharadwaj has built more than 130 bridges in villages across various states of the Country and, come February 16, he will helping youth connect to their dreams at the TEDxSJEC. You've got to be there.
His bridges have enabled rural communities, isolated due to their inability to cross rivers, to be connected to the mainland, thus bringing development and prosperity. In his career as a grassroots engineer, Shri Girish has helped at least 200,000 hapless villagers ’ cross rivers safely. For them, he is a savior.
Shri Girish and his team of 30 are experts at SFB (Scudder Falls Bridge) Construction, who spend time in finding these remote regions and ideate a plan. While most of the bridges are constructed with funds from government schemes, the initiative is generally taken by the community. Over the last three decades, he has built 91 bridges in Karnataka, 30 in Kerala and 3 each in Orrisa and Andhra Pradesh.
"In some places, we had to halt the work due to the lack of funds. In such cases, I utilize my contacts and connect the people to potential resources. Normally we get a warm welcome. In some places, it takes sometimes to break the ice. But we make it a point to involve local people and ensure that they take ownership of the project. Afterall all, we want to bridge people and their dreams." Girish told yourstory.com
Shri Girish Bharadwaj and his bridges are an example of technology-enabled empowerment. A recent recipient of the country’s highest award, the Padma Shri, the 66-year-old hails from a remote village of Sullia taluk in Mangaluru. A graduate from PES College of Engineering, Mandya, most of his projects are in the rural parts of the country. Currently, along with his son, Shri Girish Bharadwaj runs Ayasshilpa, a steel fabrication workshop which also repairs farm machinery and indulges in the construction of Biogas plants.
At TEDxSJEC he will attempt to build bridges among the youth, connecting them, empowering them and inspiring them to be like him - to serve the nation with all they have at their command. Come, be inspired by the son of the soil, Girish Bhardwaj, the Bridgeman.
This is the first time that this prestigious institution will be conducting the event, which will be held in the Kalam Auditorium.
The theme for the day-long event is "Love Conquers All", and with just under a fortnight to go for valentines day... love conquers all is a great theme, especially in these times of hate. Eight inspiring speakers, three glamourous entertainers will conquer you with the tales of all that they have done, and all that you can do - If you believe.
Apart from the Bridgeman, speakers include Capt. Arohi Corrine Antoinette Rasquinha - social worker and founder of White Doves NGO, Omkar Pai - engineer and nature enthusiast, Vaishak JP - mountaineer, Rishabh Seen - Indian classical and metal musician, Abhiraj Rajadhyaksha and Niyati Mavinkurve - chief storyteller at Following Love, travel writer and author, and Mx. Ria Sharma - model, speaker, storyteller and LGBTQAI + youth activist.
Then, of course, there is entertainment - live your passion be it music or the creative arts with Sitar Metal - the Indian classical and rock/metal fusion band, Vidwan Deepak Kumar - Bharathanatyam, Mahima S Rao - Yakshagana, and Prithesh Bhandari and team topping it off with an English play.
SJEC students are no minnows in the creative arts though. Their creative instincts and talents occasionally override their logical brains and the TEDxSJEC event is one such occasion. The students will be showcasing artistic installations, mime, drawings, etc under the title "Corridors of Love".
A token registration fee is all it takes
To get all this and more, interested persons (and having read this piece, you will be) can pay a registration fee of Rs 1250, but wait... don't be put off just yet! The registration includes a TEDxSJEC kit valued at Rs 600, and comprises breakfast, lunch and two refreshments! Participants will also receive an e-certificate as proof that they have attended the event, which will be sent via email.
Please be informed that the registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis.
To know more about the event and to register, go to http://tedxsjec.in/
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