Never stop rising stories

’Never stop rising’ is an articulation of our passion to help everyone rise. We, at Ascenso, achieve it by creating long-term, rewarding partnerships with all our stakeholders, be it our customers or business associates or employees.

We strive to help everyone rise and celebrate the spirit of ‘never stop rising’ displayed by others.

Here are some stories of gritty individuals who epitomize this spirit. This spirit motivates us to overcome every obstacle and rise to every challenge. We hope these stories inspire you to rise as much as they inspire us.

Not all superheros wear capes. Some wear turtle costumes.

Odisha beaches are the best turtle breeding grounds in our country. But the trash spread by the locals and visitors keeps the mortality rate of the turtles and their hatchlings artificially high. Soumya Ranjan Biswal from Astarang, Odisha, was the first among all to understand the exigency of ground actions. He and his friends are true nature-lovers and therefore resolved to make their own state, Odisha, a green, beautiful, and ecologically balanced one. This is how Odisha Paryavaran Sanrakshan Abhiyan (OPSA) began on 19th May 2015.

OPSA, through its continued efforts, undertook 188 beach clean activities on the nesting beaches in the area. Also, around 15 tons of plastics, polythene bags, discarded fishing nets, and other solid wastes have been cleared from nesting beaches through community participation till date. They managed to do this by training a cadre of around 100 number youth volunteers for the conservation of sea turtles and other wildlife on sustainable basis in different districts of Odisha.

Another repercussion of their efforts is that illegal wildlife trade, body parts trade, and poaching has drastically reduced and has been managed due to a strong grassroots level network of volunteers. Apart from saving turtles, during the non-nesting season, Dilip and Soumya work towards saving the mangrove forests, and organise climate change awareness campaigns as well. They also dig up water holes during the summer to ensure the wildlife population has a drinking source in the forest.

For their unparalleled contribution towards climate change by and large, they have featured on some of the most prominent lists including the Limca Book of Record and Under top 40 most inspirational Eco-Sapiens of India by Indian Express. They also been appreciated by the Union Forest Minister. The Ascenso family celebrates and lauds these two young lads who have taught us that we can’t rise at the expense of our environment.

A Padma-Shree awardee, Father of eco-feminism and A social activist who pledges the change by linking women empowerment with the healing of nature. Totally inspired by the attitude of Mr. Shyam Sundar Paliwal we give him a grand salute.

Mr Shyam Sundar Paliwal’s vision to make daughters self-reliant and save the environment has been nourishing his village Piplantri since 2007. His story is one synonymous with patience, perseverance, and hope.

A tragic incident shook him which took place on 21st August 2007 when his 16-year-old daughter Kiran returned died because of dehydration and it is then that he laid foundation to Kiran Nidhi Yojana. In this programme, 111 trees are planted whenever the girl child is born followed by a fixed deposit of INR 31,000 in which there is INR 10,000 contribution to the family members of the girl child and the rest by panchayat members and other villagers. After this programme, there was a spike in the sex ratio of the village and more than 3,50,000 trees have been planted till date. The Piplantri village has, as a result, survived Rajasthan’s chronic drought and water scarcity thanks to the campaign. People here plant trees for everything — to commemorate births, deaths, and other major life events. It’s not only an environmental strategy but a feminist one.

Along with it, he also initiated ‘Swajaldhara Yojana’ to conserve and preserve water by building up around 1800 check dams around the village. The 55-year-old Padma Shri awardee didn’t stop even when he had a reason to do so and instead kept moving forward, engraving the motto of “Daughter, water and trees” in the society of Piplantri.

Mr. Paliwal is truly an epitome of never stop rising spirit!

A teacher at 9. The youngest headmaster in the world at 16. And a vision for nationwide free education. Take a bow, Babar Ali

Babar Ali is the youngest headmaster in the world who started his school in his backyard to serve the underprivileged community. At this young age when most of the students are looking for a job, Babar was already a headmaster of a school he started with only eight children.

In 2002, when he was nine, his father got him admitted to a school, about 10 kilometres away. While returning from school, he used to see kids playing in the fields and used to ask them if they would like to study if he teaches them; the kids always said yes. Babar took this seriously and started teaching them under a tree. In this batch of 8 children, one was his sister Amina Khatun. Since he had no stationery like pens and notebooks, he created a blackboard out of terracotta titles and started using newspapers as reading material.

In 2003, the school had an official inauguration and was named Ananda Siksha Niketan (House of Happy Learning). In 2005, he was invited by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen to Shantiniketan, in his Pratichi to talk about his school.

Babar received the CNN IBN Real Hero Award from Aamir Khan. BBC travelled to his village to write about him; he was just sixteen when BBC named him the ‘youngest headmaster in the world’. Babar noticed that there was a need for a proper school building.

He bought a wasteland near his place using the prize money from the Real Hero award, but that amount wasn’t enough to construct a building. Babar was also awarded the ‘Indian of the Year’ award by NDTV and he also featured in the 30 under 30 list of Forbes Asia.

Babar finally purchased a piece of land with the help of one of his mentor Ms. Almitra Patel in 2013. The newly built school was inaugurated in November 2015 his former students are now teaching at his school. Babar is a true Ascenso hero who did not stop rising despite all odds.

Lakshmi Menon: the woman who believes we truly rise by lifting others

Lakshmi Menon

Eco friendly alternative to plastic pens. An employment opportunity for the poor elderly. A crowd sourced insurance campaign for fishermen. Raising funds for flood victims. An initiative to revive the usage of traditional herbs and plants…

These are only few of the initiatives undertaken by an ever enterprising Lakshmi Menon.

Born in a small town in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, Lakshmi’s journey took her to New York, where she used to design the jewellery for the New York Fashion Week. An idea struck during one of her visits back home inspired her to come back and set up PURE Living, where PURE stands for Products Up cycled Recycled and Economised.

It’s a social enterprise that employs elderly and differently abled women to turn the printing press waste paper into disposable pens that grow into trees when disposed. The enterprise also runs a project called Wicksdom which sells lamp wicks rolled by senior citizens from old age homes. It not only helps them earn some money, but also restores a sense of dignity and confidence.

Lakshmi also ran a social campaign called FriendShip to help the Kerala fishermen who rescued thousands of people during the devastating floods in 2018. What moved Laskhmi was the fact that these poor fishermen declined the money offered to them by the government in recognition of their exemplary efforts. Lakshmi, with her friend Neenu Rathin and New India Assurance Company, started a crowd sourced campaign to sponsor insurance and entrepreneurial assistance to these fishermen and their families.

She did not stop there. She created Chekutty, a doll made from soiled fabric salvaged from the textile village of Chendamangalam that was badly affected by the floods. With Gopinath Para-yil of Blue Yonder, a travel company based in Kerala, she launched the initiative. More than 50,000 volunteers and 260 schools contributed to building Chekutty as a symbol of resilience. The doll is still in great demand and has also been given away by organisations like the World Bank as gifts at conferences.

Her latest initiative Farmacy connects the ongoing pandemic, traditional knowledge about herbs and plants and the sowing season. It will home deliver indigenous herbs and plants that were consumed in traditional food and commonly used in home remedies.

For us, Lakshmi truly represents the #NeverStopRising spirit. We wish her the best in all her future endeavours.

First as a soldier, now as a farmer, you continue to serve the nation, Ashwini Singh Chauhan.

No matter how difficult the journey is, with strong will and passion you’ll reach your destination.

Like Ashwini Singh Chauhan did. A native of village Pipliya Hama, district Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Ashwini Singh’s journey started when he was in college.

While studying in MS University, Baroda, Ashwini enrolled himself in NCC and consistently bagged the gold medal in Trap Shooting for 5 years.

He pursued his childhood dream and got selected in the army. But migration of young people from his village made him give up his dream and return to his village.

He took up farming to motivate the youngsters. But with no proper roads, electricity and other facilities, it was not an easy task.

Ashwini invited experts from the nearby Krishi Vigyan Kendra to guide villagers on how to make farming profitable by adopting modern techniques. His efforts have now bore fruit with people in the village possessing modern agri equipment and leading a prosperous life.

His village is now one of the most progressive ones in the district with concrete roads, school and a junior college.

Ashwini now serves as a member of the management board of Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya. He has won many prestigious awards for his tremendous contribution as a progressive farmer.

We salute you for being an inspiration to many by showing your #NeverStopRising spirit.

Ashwini Singh Chauhan

From a common man to the Lemon Man of Uttar Pradesh: experience Anand Mishra’s incredible journey.

Anand Mishra’s incredible journey

Can a management graduate become an award-winning farmer? If one has passion and is ready to adapt with the changing times, one certainly can.

Like the Lemon Man of Uttar Pradesh, Anand Mishra. A progressive farmer from village Kachnawan in district Raebareli.

After completing his BBA from the Meerut University, Anand joined one of India’s leading furniture manufacturers and worked with them in different capacities. In April 2015, he quit his job and returned to his village to take up agriculture.

Initially, he used traditional methods to grow wheat, rice and soybean. But he didn’t earn much. So he turned to horticulture.

He consulted the District Agriculture Office and was told about lemon plantations. With the help of the agriculture office, Anand adopted the high density approach to grow lemons. He also switched to Thai variety of seeds instead of the regular ones.

The result? Anand was able to increase his yield so much so that he earned 20 times more than he could have from the conventional method.

Today, Anand employs several people on his plantation and even exports his yield. He has also developed a nursery to encourage other farmers to develop their own plantations. Many foreign delegates visit his farm to learn the secrets of lemon farming.

Anand has been awarded with many prestigious awards like the Chaudhary Charan Singh Kisan Samman for the highest productivity in the district.

We wish him well and salute him for his #NeverStopRising spirit.

Meet the Sultan of the Indian fish farming industry!

India is a country of entrepreneurs and doers. They show the courage to walk on new paths and their relentless pursuit eventually leads them to success.

One such entrepreneur is Sultan Singh. He runs a highly successful fish farm in village Butana, Nilokheri in Haryana.

In 1983, when he was still a college student, Sultan Singh took a piece of land on lease to start his own fish farm. He had no example to follow. But he knew the importance of training. He joined a training programme run by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, NDRI Karnal and trained himself in the scientific methods used in fish farming.

Fast forward to the present.

He is a proud owner of the largest fish breeding farm in the North India. Sultan Singh has set up the first-of-its-kind Recirculating Aquaculture System that has helped him do indoor fish farming and increase his production by 10X. Many people, including foreign delegates, visit his farm to learn the modern techniques of fish farming.

He has also set up a fish processing plant and has started his own brand called FISH BITE through which he supplies packaged fish products across the world.

Sultan Singh has received many prestigious awards for his contribution to the fish farming industry, the most notable of these being the Padma Shri by the Government of India.

We salute him for his #NeverStopRising spirit and wish that his story inspires many aspiring entrepreneurs in India and abroad.

Here are a few of the many notable awards Sultan Singh has received:

  • Padma Shri by the Government of India
  • Jagjivan Ram Kisan Award by the Government of India
  • International Quality Summit Award, New York, USA
  • Best Incubatee Award by the Government of India
  • Rabi Kisan Mela Progressive Farmer Award by the Government of India
  • Best Fish Farmer Award by the Government of Haryana
  • Best Innovative Farmer Award by the Government of Haryana
  • Karambhomi Samman by HIFA
  • Ideal Personality Award by Bharat Vikas Parishad
  • Highest Fish Seed and Fish production in Haryana by the Haryana State Fishery Department
  • 1st , 2nd , 3rd prize in Fish Seed Production by the Haryana State Fishery Department (almost every year since 1991)
  • His biography was featured in Marquis Who’s Who in America “ which features over 100,000 profiles of prominent individuals representing virtually every major field of endeavour
  • Outstanding scientist 2008/2009, UK
Sultan of the Indian fish farming industry

Rajendra Bhat: an engineer, an environmentalist, an award winning farmer who exemplifies the #NeverStopRising spirit

Rajendra Bhat from Badlapur in Maharashtra

Imagine leaving your profession of over 15 years, turning an infertile piece of land into a lush forest farm and successfully growing over 180 varieties of crops in mere 5 acres, solely using organic farming techniques.

Sounds daunting? It is. But one man has made it all possible with his sheer willpower and passion.

Meet Rajendra Bhat from Badlapur in Maharashtra.

A former engineer, Rajendra took an early retirement and focussed his attention on turning a piece of barren land he owned into a lush green farm.

He realised that forests can grow up to two kilos of food per cubic meter area without any external inputs like fertilisers and chemicals, whereas the same area under a farm yields only 600 grams even after using fertilisers.

Rajendra took inspiration from nature and started growing food using multilayer multiple cropping pattern. He grows food in the air (fruits like mangoes and bananas), on the ground (vegetables and grains) and below the ground (turmeric and elephant yam). This helped him ensure the year round supply of food for his family, while also saving lakhs of litres of water.

Rajendra Bhat an award winning farmer

He uses rainwater harvesting and has also adopted a zero tillage method that protects the top most fertile layer of soil and brings down the cost of fertilisers to zero.

For all his exemplary efforts, Rajendra has received the prestigious ‘Krishi Bhushan’ award from the Government of Maharashtra in 2012.

Rajendra also conducts training workshops for aspiring farmers and has trained over 500 people so far.

We salute him for his #NeverStopRising spirit and wish him well in his journey of making our planet a better place to live in.