“We hope to create leaders who will be the inspiration and agents of change in their local communities”
All over the world and throughout history, the younger generation have been the agents of change across different fields. From political revolutions to social evolutions, in the field of technological discoveries and theological philosophies, it had been the young people who are the change makers. Yet, their abilities are consistently undermined due to limited resources India currently has a population of 136.64 crores. People who are under the age of 25 years constitute 46.9% of the country’s population. According to a latest survey more than 50% of India’s population is now 25 years or older, this generation represents extraordinary talent and ambition, yet faces a massive and growing challenge when it comes to opportunities and quality education.
During a year’s stay in India, I sensed a gap and lack of accessibility to higher education and since I seemed to have access to resources to address the issue this thought gave way to the idea of creating a scholarship. The foundation of Vahani was laid in 2015 as we recognized that the real challenge before us was to tap into the reserves and harness the talent of the exceptionally brilliant underprivileged children hoping to create over the years a close-knit community of scholars who would be the inspiration and agents of change in their local communities.
In her remarkable book “Dreamers” author Singdha Poonam has glorified the spirit of innovation and strive of what she calls “the most desperate generation of Indians since independence” who will redefine work, success, morality and be the change makers no one could imagine. Vahani’s mission is to facilitate education and open doors to opportunities that until now have been inextricably linked with class and wealth, for potential leaders who have suffered the violence of poverty and prejudice from the day they were born.
Vahani Scholarship is unique and one of a kind opportunity that follows a two-pronged approach of full financial scholarship along with a holistic development through personal mentoring. We believe that leadership is manifested through life’s experiences, failures and the ability to make decisions. The world around us, the people we interact with and the opportunities we come across all play an important role in shaping our reality and in broadening our horizon. By providing such exposures to our scholars we aim to build their self confidence and augment their leadership qualities over the years through – mentors, role models, inspirational peers, education in the best institutes, internships, skill trainings and workshops, cultural revelation and futuristic discourses. A variety of focused programs for scholars on Internships, IT Skills, Creative Thinking, Entrepreneurship, English Communications, Mock GD/PI, Mental Wellbeing, Workability, helps broaden their horizons and enables each Scholar to become more articulate, confident and aware. The annual workshops conducted during the summers and winters are the most enjoyed and anticipated events.
We hope to provide a strong platform where our scholars can dream the impossible dream, where they are able to imagine the change, they want to see in the world and be that change themselves and inspire others in the process. Where they identify success as living a life that is meaningful and fulfilling, in a way that they are taking all the opportunities and making the most of them and making a real difference to others around them as well.
Backed by the support of a strong Board of Directors including my parents who are born and have lived in India, then moved to the UK for higher education and settled here for their careers, leading individuals from across different professions, a huge network of mentors, tutors and a hardworking and diligent team has made it possible for us to believe in our vision Five years later today, 3 batches have graduated from the Scholarship and have formed an Alumni Body, each one of them assuming the role of a Vahani Ambassador. Through their growth and involvement as Alumni, the hope is that with their engagement with the scholars they will become lifelong leaders of change. Our first cohort of Alumni is a mixed bag with some choosing Corporate Jobs, Masters Programs and Fellowships in India. Today, we have 25 Alumni working relentlessly in their fields as well as setting an example for many students who have dreams and aspirations but lack the resources and guidance.
We hope that over the years our Alumni will be collectively fueling the larger movement towards our vision.
“To create an India where the most gifted children flourish, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race or gender.”