In 1965 a young post graduate student, Sanjit Bunker Roy volunteered to spend the summer working with famine affected people in Palamu District Bihar, now Jharkhand. This experience changed him and made fighting poverty and inequality his mission. He founded Barefoot College in 1972.
Due to efforts of Barefoot College, 450,000 people have solar lights in their houses, 2,800,000 school children have water to drink, 14,000 barefoot teachers are working in government schools and $145,000 was earned by 389 Barefoot craft professionals.
Bunker Roy was one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential personalities in 2010 for his work.
Bunker Roy is associated with Youth for India as a mentor and Barefoot College is a partner NGO for the fellowship.
Watch Below: Learning from a Barefoot Movement: An inspiring TED speech by Mr. Bunker Roy.
In 1970, when student volunteers with the Young Students’ Movement for Development came to Orissa to serve victims of a devastating cyclone, they didn’t know that transforming lives would become their way of life. Gram Vikas was founded in 1979 under the inspirational leadership of Joe Madiath.
Gram Vikas is credited with impacting 400,000 individuals living in 1250 villages from Orissa. They have served communities and country alike by regenerating over 10,000 acres of wasteland, constructing over 54,000 Biogas plants, providing financial and technical support in rural social housing and through building toilet and sanitation units for over 75,000 families.
Joe Madiath helps in guiding our fellows in the right direction by sharing his own experience and his NGO Gram Vikas is a partner NGO of Youth for India.
Watch the inspiring TED speech "Better toilets better life" by Joe Madiath.
Prior to the fellowship, Parveen practiced law for 5 years in the District Courts of Aurangabad. Her project in the fellowship was on 'Child Nutrition, Health & Legal Awareness amongst Rural Women. She worked on the Wadi programme, created awareness about personal hygiene and sanitation, conducted an embroidery course for young girls and made women aware of their legal rights.Parveen is continuing her work in the development field as a National Coordinator with SEWA in Ahmedabad.
After working as an IT consultant with HP for two years, Sandeep chose to follow his passion and became a freelance documentary filmmaker. He spent his time at the Bangalore based BornFree Art School - a special school created for working street children. During the fellowship, Sandeep taught tribal children through the medium of Cinema. He devised innovative ways to teach the children science through practical sessions on photography. Post-fellowship, Sandeep consolidated his experience with a Masters in Media and Cultural Studies from TISS. Presently, he is with Agastya Foundation as a Project Officer.
Posted in Abu Dhabi with Capgemini, Ankit took a sabbatical to pursue Youth for India fellowship. His project was on setting up a 'Farmers' Helpline using IVR'. During the fellowship, Ankit prototyped a model and tested it with 100 local farmers and fishermen thereby understanding key issues and gaining insights. Post the fellowship, Ankit joined Reliance Foundation as Programme Director to help on a project that aims to empower the rural masses with information. Presently, he is taking forward his model of a rural helpline towards an All-India implementation which is expected to handle more than 60,000 queries in its first year of operation.
A post-graduate in commerce, Taher had a two year experience with AIG Global Asset Management Company followed by his stint as a faculty member at the department of Economics in Ness Wadia College of Commerce. During the Fellowship, Taher worked on creating awareness and promoting the technique of soil solarisation to improve soil fertility and manage weeds, as opposed to the traditional practice of Rabb which results in environment pollution and depletion of forest resources. After the fellowship, Taher joined Reliance Foundation as a Project Manager for their operations in Parbhani, Maharashtra. Presently, he is a part of the central project team based out of their Mumbai headquarters.
A management graduate from IIM Lucknow, Shuvajit had spent 4 years with IBM, based out of London when he realized that the IT sector was not his calling. He decided to explore the development space as a Youth for India fellow. He created a project with an aim to improve education through technology (ICT tools) in a village in Vidarbha. After the fellowship, Shuvajit worked with Reliance Foundation in the core strategic team that implemented a project to empower the rural masses with critical livelihood-related information. Within a brief period of 18 months, the project succeeded to reach out to one lakh rural folk. Presently, Shuvajit is working with Youth for India, striving to take his life- changing experience to a larger group.
After completing his Bachelors of Technology from Delhi College of Engineering, Abhishek was working with Tata Motors Ltd when he decided to explore available opportunities and joined Youth for India programme on a sabbatical. Abhishek's project was to 'Address the impact of climate change on marginal tribal farmers through eco-system approach of conservation, revival, and promotion of indigenous seeds through community-led initiative'. His efforts in the promotion and setting up of seed banks with community participation were highly appreciated. After completing the fellowship, Abhishek honored the sabbatical terms and returned to Tata Motors though he constantly strived to proactively participate in the CSR activities of the Company. Currently, he is the CSR Manager of Tata Motors in Jamshedpur.
A mechanical engineering graduate from IIT Delhi, Simran worked in J. Ray McDermott, Dubai, an offshore oilfield services company, for about 2 years. His desire to work for his own country made him quit his job and he joined the fellowship. He worked with Seva Mandir, a partner of Boond in Udaipur region, promoting alternative energy in rural and tribal areas of Udaipur. After the fellowship, Simran naturally transitioned over to Boond as Business Development and Operations Head, based out of Udaipur. He is also responsible for building training modules for Boond Entrepreneurs and working with the product team to introduce new technologies and products to meet the needs of the underserved.
A Graduate in Textile Technology, Manish worked as an Assistant Manager with Lee Cooper India Pvt Ltd. (Future Group). During the Fellowship, Manish worked on 'Improved Wood Stoves (Clean Development Mechanism), where Manish tried to promote the usage of more fuel efficient chulhas. His project has now become one of the flagship projects of Seva Mandir. After the fellowship, Manish set up his own firm to deliver institutional orders for soft merchandise. He is working simultaneously on creating a platform for training tribal women of Gujarat to make products.
A Mechanical Engineering Graduate turned Software Engineer Satya worked in Tata Consultancy services Ltd for 8 years on various assignments in India, Australia, England and Scotland. During the fellowship, he worked on creating awareness in laborers' about their rights under the MGNREG Act. Post-fellowship, Satyanand quit his job and consolidated his experience with a Masters in Labour Studies from TISS. Presently, he is with AITUC in Bangalore and is organising construction workers.
A communication and computer engineer from Jaipur, Vaibhav was working for the Center of Conflict Resolution and Human Security in New Delhi. During the fellowship, Vaibhav worked on promotion of Village Institutions to foster local self-governance. After the fellowship, Vaibhav has continued his association with the development sector by pursuing a Masters degree in Economics from JNU. After a rigorous selection process, Vaibhav is now a member of the research team in J-PAL, South Asia. He is the sole person managing a project studying labour market friction in blue-collar job market.
5 Fellows from the Youth for India Fellowship are now a part of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Rural Fellowship working for development in Naxal affected areas. Akshay Kapur presently in Chattisgarh, Bala Krishna Reddy and Chetan Gautham in Andhra Pradesh, Soumya shree, Om Prakash Sahoo in Odisha, and Vineet Kumar Singh in Uttar Pradesh. Bala Krishna Reddy has been offered an entry to both Oxford University and London School of Economics. Chetan is working as Executive Assistant to the Chief Secretary of Seemandhra.
Defeating malnutrition, one kitchen garden at a time.
Youth for India fellow Bharath Vineeth was shocked to know that Jeypore had malnourishment as high as 46%. Even the midday meal served in the anganwadi was suffering not only due to unavailability of food sometimes but also because of food practices of the tribals.
The nearest market was 15 kms away and villagers did not grow their own vegetables. Bharath took up the cause in his hands and convinced students and authorities to have a kitchen garden. After a discussion with students, a list of fruits and vegetables was arrived at. Implementation of best gardening practices have resulted in the kitchen garden producing over 30 kgs of fresh supply every month. This project comes at a crucial time when there have been incidences of midday meal food poisoning due to stale food.
Hay Box Cooker Project: The recipe of sustainable development
Having an interest in micro-enterprise development at the village level, SBI Youth for India fellowship looked like a perfect platform to Bharat Vineeth to put his skills to better use.
'I wanted to do something which could leave a bigger impact on the lives of villagers and something that could help them get an alternative livelihood option in the long run.' says Bharath Vineeth.
Bharat worked with weavers and women from self-help groups to make a cooker out of Hay, more popularly called ‘Easy Cooker’. This cooker made out of hay, bamboo and jute bag is cost-effective, saves fuel and keeps rice hot for six hours. It has also given an alternative source of income to many tribal households and in some cases the income has increased almost seven-fold.
Where does my Ball Pen Go? A question that solves the waste management problem.
Youth for India fellow Arun Purushottam faced a unique problem. In his project area, students were aware of the harmful effects of plastic waste but they failed to realize the enormity and scale of the problem and how they were contributing to it.
Arun came up with a simple solution. He convinced schools to keep a waste bin which was used to store the pens thrown away by students. The rate at which these bins filled up, made the students realize how fast plastic accumulates into a mammoth waste which is not bio-degradable.
Grass root Cinema: Lights! Camera! Education!
Sandeep, an Electronics and Communication engineer worked as an IT consultant with HP for almost two years before becoming a Freelance Documentary Filmmaker. During the fellowship, he wanted to impart education to tribal children. He knew that his students would learn more if he could make education more interesting. So, he devised innovative ways to teach the children science through practical sessions on photography. Not many could have imagined that children in the rural areas would thereby be discussing the complex science of light.
The Kelichapada Project: The making of a tourist destination
When Youth for India fellow Sourabh visited the site of Kelichapada, it was being promoted by BAIF as a rural tourism spot. Sourabh applied his experience and skills to make things more organized from a tourist’s point of view. He altered the pricing to create attractive packages and brought in insights to enhance consumer appeal. He also helped in discouraging non-environment friendly development happening in the area to create a place of solace for the tourists.
SBI Youth for India fellow Sourabh came across a gifted deaf and dumb Warli Artist named Sadanand Nakra who was gradually moving away from Warli Painting due to the pressure of economic necessities. He established corporate linkages to help Sadanand sell his paintings which enabled Sadanand not only to gain confidence but also to understand right selling channels for his work. Sadanand is today a proud Warli Artist with a stable income and working to preserve the art form.
Our Fellow Shuvajit met a young student named Dildarkhan Pathan who had a zeal to learn. He was struggling with scarce resources. Shuvajit helped Dildar find necessary information through the internet. Seeing his eagerness to code, Shuvajit suggested that he build an app that could be a shared platform for educational material. The application idea was recognized at the India-wide Aakash Software Development competition, organized by IIT Bombay in 2013.
A documentary that SBI YFI Fellow Satyanand had made in Kannada (with English sub-titles) on the subject of awareness of workers about MGNREGA rights, was a differentiator which enabled BAIF, the partner NGO that he was working for, to be awarded the national level Rozgar Jagrookta Puraskar 2011 from the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.
SBI YFI Fellow Suhasini worked with SHG Women associated with the Bio-village project of MSSRF. She felt that the inspiring stories of these enterprising women and their achievements, if documented well, could inspire millions. So, in association with Shuvajit, she made a documentary on the Bio-Village project.
SBI YFI Fellow Haresh Bhere presented his YFI project at the 16th Annual Convention on ‘India & Indigenous Strategies’ organized by IIM Kozhikode and the paper was subsequently published in their journal.
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