Advertisment

To Bring Change, Shivangi Goel Works To First Alter 'SOCH' Around Her

In an exclusive interview with SheThePeople, Shivangi Goel, founder of SOCH, shares her journey from corporate developer to compassionate transformer, impacting the lives of the elderly, children, and the LGBTQ+ community.

author-image
Oshi Saxena
New Update
soch

Image credit: sochngo.com

As we scroll through social media posts highlighting societal issues or witness someone in distress on the roadside, the glaring realities of our world often hit home. It's all too easy to recognise what's wrong, to feel the weight of inertia as we hope for change to come from somewhere, anywhere but ourselves. Yet, amidst the rush of our daily commutes, as we speed towards our workplaces, there are people like Shivangi Goel who defy the passive bystander role.

Advertisment

Meet Shivangi Goel, once a skilled SQL developer at Xceedance Consulting Ltd., who dared to chart a different course. Her journey wasn't dictated by the towering stacks of her salary, but by the profound impact she sought to make. Confronted with the stark inequalities and pressing need for change, Goel refused to be a mere observer, waiting on the sidelines for transformation to materialize. The result? SOCH - अंत ही आरम्भ, a transformative initiative that not only uplifts lives but also symbolizes Goel's personal evolution from girlhood to womanhood.

In an exclusive conversation, SheThePeople delved into Goel's inspiring journey from corporate developer to champion of change, reminding us that sometimes, to see change, one must become the change.

A Childhood Steeped in Philanthropy

Philanthropy isn't just a word for Shivangi; it's a way of life ingrained in her since childhood. Growing up, she found joy in helping those less fortunate, whether it was tutoring underprivileged children or advocating for the elderly. Her altruistic spirit only intensified with time, fueled by a deep-seated desire to make a meaningful difference in the world around her.

During her tenure as a developer, she, along with friends and colleagues, educated children in nearby slums, enrolled them in government schools and funded it all from their salaries. 

"My weekends were devoted to community service," Shivangi reflects, reminiscing about her days as a SQL Developer at Xceedance Consulting Ltd. "We'd visit nearby slums, educating children of daily wage labourers and sponsoring their education."

Advertisment

The Birth of 'SOCH'

But it was a restless night, consumed by the nagging feeling of unfulfilled purpose, that marked the genesis of SOCH. Shivangi's epiphany led her to leave behind the comforts of her corporate job and embark on a journey of profound significance.

"I couldn't sleep one night, and the constant thoughts of doing something for others kept bothering me. This journey has altered my perception of life in a great manner. It turned me into a more loveable person, more empathetic, and, most importantly, from a girl to a woman," reflects Shivangi on the defining moment that led her to leave her corporate job.

SOCH, encapsulated in the acronym 'थॉट' (thought), emerged from Shivangi's fervent desire to contribute meaningfully to society, uplift the LGBTQ+ community, and reveal the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, irrespective of their background, gender, or sexual orientation.

"In our society, first of all, we are humans. Equal humans strongly deserve better acceptance, identity, and status,"  affirms Shivangi.

From Ideation to Implementation

Advertisment

The journey began with Shivangi and her friends actively volunteering at orphanages and old-age homes. Spending hours with these marginalized groups fueled a desire to bring joy and happiness into their lives. The organization's scope expanded, encompassing initiatives for the elderly, children, and eventually, the LGBTQ+ community.

Reflecting on the challenges faced during her organisation's inception, Shivangi acknowledges, "There were never-ending challenges in the idea of starting it; the biggest being my decision to quit my well-paying corporate job. Others worth counting will include threats of financial insecurity, doubts from family and well-wishers, no prior experience or connection in the industry, and blurry visions of the future, to state the least."

Recognized as a COVID Frontline Warrior

The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for organizations like hers. Determined to uphold their efforts, the team conducted multiple ration distribution drives, mask distributions, and blanket distributions. However, a formidable monster stood in their way: finances.

Shivangi reflects on the impact, stating, "It sure was a tough time for everybody, with her organisation and its team being no exception. We were determined to upkeep our efforts during the time of the pandemic too."

The financial challenges stemmed from widespread closures, failing businesses, and job losses, affecting not only the organization but also its team members. Monetary assistance from individual donors proved crucial in navigating these turbulent times. The toll was felt, but the zeal to be builders of a better world remained the constant fuel.

Advertisment

Despite the challenges, SOCH's impactful initiatives did not go unnoticed. The organization's efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic earned them the prestigious COVID Frontline Warrior Award—an acknowledgement that served as both validation and reinforcement of their mission. 

Creating Impact through Initiatives

The organisation's various initiatives, particularly in the areas of education and community sensitization, have been instrumental in shaping Goel's perspective on societal issues. The flagship initiative of SOCH is its Digital Education program, which aims to bridge the digital divide by providing underprivileged children with access to digital infrastructure and computer education. Through projects like 'E कक्षा' and 'Digitalसमृद्धि,' SOCH seeks to equip children with the skills and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

In Goel's words, "Counting in terms of experience, my biggest takeaway from our various initiatives is to never undermine your efforts. Your efforts might not change the world for all, but can one person's world. Never stop being humane just because you see minimal results out of it. It's all part of a bigger picture."

Challenging Biases through LGBTQ+ Advocacy

One of the significant facets of SOCH's work is creating awareness for LGBTQ+ individuals through meticulously curated gender sensitization workshops that educate people about the existence and rights of the LGBTQ+ community, challenging biases and prejudices held against them. Goel acknowledges the biases faced, particularly questioning her ability to understand the community's hardships as a cis-gender woman.

She highlights the impact of their initiatives, stating, "Most people with whom we've hosted gender sensitization workshops have come up to us and said, 'Shivangi, I didn't even know about this. Had I known earlier, I would have treated the community better.'"

"Awareness is the key factor in any kind of development we look for as a society," Goel asserts. She recognizes that many people are not haters but are simply ignorant, and awareness plays a crucial role in dismantling stereotypical notions.

While many of us are still waiting on the sidelines for change to happen, Goel continues to embody the change she wishes to see, igniting a spark of inspiration in all of us to take that courageous step towards a better world. As Goel aptly puts it, "You do you :)"—a mantra that captures the spirit of authenticity and strength driving her mission.

Shivangi Goel SOCH - अंत ही आरम्भ women social entrepreneurs in India
Advertisment