Diary of a NEEV Intern – Sebastian Starke


Dear Friends,

Sebastian, a Bachelor of Business Administration student of Hochschule Pforzheim University, Germany did an internship with NEEV from 5th Aug. 2013 to 14th Sep. 2013. I am reproducing the first part of his diary which details his experiences working with NEEV.

The Internship program is intended to be a transformative experience for the interns. In keeping with the philosophy of NEEV, every intern is encouraged to look within. While a lot of work gets done at the outer manifest level, the intent at NEEV is evolution of consciousness. Yet, this is not done through workshops or any formal training sessions. It happens in the work itself, in the way one relates, in informal conversations; an embedded experience rather than a plastic overlay.  It is an integral experience of development of consciousness that honors the specific developmental level and the uniqueness of every intern. There are no predetermined expectations that have to be matched, rather the intern drives his/he own learning.

The diaries are a record of the developing thoughts and experiences of interns at NEEV. Sebastian is a passionate individual who tries to bring deep thought into every work that he does. And yet, despite his drive for professionalism there is a warm glow in him of a sensitive, caring and open heart. It was perhaps one of the greatest learnings for him to see how one can combine the qualities of heart and mind in creating an Integral Enterprise.

Sebastian is not a native speaker of English and thus there might be some discrepancies you may observe in his writings. I have done the bare minimum of editing and tried to preserve his voice so that the reader can get a flavor of his own experiences. So, I request the reader to overlook the syntax of words and as they say, get into the heart of the matter J

Sebastian Diaries – Part 1

Monday, 12th of August

After my arriving in Jamshedpur in the late Sunday evening it was hard to sleep. I was quite exited about what will be my next day be like and a thousand of thoughts regarding last week were in my mind. Talking with previous interns I knew that the work would be challenging but fostering. Finally I met Anurag Jain, who picked me up from the hostel. At NEEV´s soap unit I met Shikha Jain. In a first introduction I got to know about who they are and what their vision is. This talk helped me to find out what their passion was to start/ lead an social enterprise. To leave a safe job and taking a high loan for helping to empower women and education requires a high risk disposition.

We also talked about me, my domestic and academic background and my subject of study to find a job role that fits to me. The work focus ed on a product launch, documentation for certification of new products and generating sponsors for their pupils’ scholarships.

I´m a bit unsure about if I can meet their high expectations since I don´t want to disappoint them. Also it seems like a load of work to do for only 5 weeks.

Tuesday, 13th of August

First day of “real work” – I slowly realised the actual size of work! As Shikha helped me to schedule the work it seemed manageable at least.

We talked a lot about cultural differences in daily live. It was very nice to see the differences between our cultures and how things as facilities have just another value over here.

I enjoyed the food at the office – even if I´m definitely not born to eat without cutlery.

Wednesday, 14th of August

Today I started with the SOP and Certification for the new Products. As I was not that familiar to all the products I had to ask Shikha a lot, but she answered patiently everytime.

Beside work I really enjoyed talking with Shikha about the values of my generation. Especially in the more materialism western part of the world it´s not that easy to find someone to talk about “real values” in live.

In the evening I played “catch me” with the rural children – where do they take their energy from?!?

Thursday, 15th of August

This day was Independence day where India celebrates it´s independence from the British Empire. I arose early to get to the NEEV school. Since I wasn´t there yet I was unsure what to expect.

I found a well managed school with an awesome programme!

I really liked the involvement of the pupils and I was surprised that they made the whole programme by their own – respect! Dances, Speeches, Actings; really nice programme for this hot morning.

In noon Anand took me to “his” Jamshedpur. It was awesome to get to know and to stay with his friends and to make a guess about Indian´s daily live.

Friday, 16th of August

This morning I was at NEEV School to present my culture to the pupils. Since I was a little hoarse it was more strenuous to talk this day. Before my presentation I got the opportunity to attend a class to see the teaching style. There were 4 students from a nearby B-School which taught some physics. Nice to see the different ways of social activism over here in India! After that class I had some conversations with the teacher about their biographies and stuff. Especially Samuel´s story about his educational career and his handicapped daughter which “gives energy to everyone” touched me.

Further Anurag told me his story of NEEV as an “organisation without organisation”. After a short excursion into communism I got a rough idea about what the idea of NEEV is about. The rest of the day I spent with work at the soap unit to get the SOPs done. In some talks with Shikha I got more Insights of Indian culture.

Saturday, 17th of August

This day really run by fast. I had some long talks with Shikha about religion to get a clue of what is Hinduism about and my mindset/opinion toward this. As Christianity was always a bit confusing to me and seemed like church´s tool of power. The Hinduism includes more philosophical aspects of life and tries to encourage a more enlightened view on the individual´s opinion comparable with Emmanuel Kant´s doctrine. We also talked about Europe’s attitude towards eco-friendliness. Moreover I found lot of similarities of Indian and German Popsongs 😉 Tomorrow we´ll have lunch and will shoot some product-photos after this – see what will come.

Sunday, 18th of August

Sunday – no work! 😛 I was invited at Jain´s home for lunch and product shooting. As every meal I had some new things to taste and judge. Anurag introduced me into his studies. Nice to see that some of my views actually have some names – what I thought to be “opportunism” was kind of “scepticism”.  I think I still know to less about Buddhism to judge about this religion, but I really like the inclusion of philosophical aspects into religion. Thus people tend to live a more enlightened life as in Western states. Many lessons taught by great philosophers kind of mirrors the Buddhism doctrine. The visit of Hindu temple in Jamshedpur was more a touristic rather than a religious act. Since they see a a part of god in everything´s soul they worship a lot of gods – but doesn´t mean worshipping everything means worshipping nothing? This kind of “worship” is in my opinion rather a form of “respectful appreciation” towards everything. Nevertheless it´s was a nice day and lot to learn.


         Sebastian interacting with NEEV School Kids                                                 


                      Doing a presentation on the culture of Germany


                      Showing the National Dress of Germany to children