Scholarships are most commonly given on the basis of merit; however, exam percentage is often based on socio-economic status which is not possible for youth in communities who actually need financial support.
Youth from vulnerable and marginalised communities not only need financial support but also moral support which can be provided by even a small scholarship which stands between their continuation in higher education and dropping out altogether. When we speak of Right to Education, it must consist of the right to higher education since without completing school or even a college education, there is little possibility of deprived youth breaking out of their situation. Such scholarships are therefore part of education justice.
Keeping this in mind, 15 youth from Bamanwada and Kolegaon were selected for small scholarships based on financial need and their social status. This is part of our career and education counselling with youth, supported by Mariwala Health Initiative. The scholarships were therefore given along with in-depth counselling with the selected youth. The counselling consisted of planning for the money given, future realistic career goals, relevant planning for higher education, any obstacles they can predict and how to overcome them along with some positive encouraging activities for self-development.
Another objective of this scholarship is that along with the development of the youth, it is expected that they give back by participating in the development of the community. Therefore the counselling also consisted of how even in their chosen careers, they can keep a perspective of social empowerment.
Some quotes by the scholarship recipient youth:
“By sharing our plans, it didn’t feel like a burden- it felt like we can do it.” – Shifa, Bamanwada
Asmita, Kolegaon: “Time management is very critical for my future”
Mansi, Bamanwada: “I need to study in accordance of my dreams, I need to do time management”
Ashwini, Kolegaon: “I need to start working towards my dream, getting information and not just study for exams”
Sarita, Kolegaon: “I have to work on getting my parents on board with my education”
Parmeshwar: “I understood that actually we don’t have problems- they all can be easily solved”