Youth give up Mumbai jobs to work for rural development

Updated: 12 October, 2020 07:50 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

As part of the SBI Youth for India Fellowship, 100 youngsters have been chosen to work in rural areas

Pic for representation/Istock
Pic for representation/Istock

At a time when youngsters from across the world are staring at an uncertain future in view of the pandemic, a number of city-based youth have embarked on a new journey to work for the development of the country's rural sector. Considering the COVID-19 situation, the SBI Youth for India Fellowship — a flagship programme of the SBI Foundation — was contemplating whether to continue the programme but then they received a positive response from youngsters willing to be a part of it. This year they got a huge number of applications from youth willing to work in the rural areas of the country.

More applications

Speaking to mid-day, Nixon Joseph, president and COO of SBI Foundation, said, "We received as many as 72,000 applications this year, which is 30 per cent more than what we usually get. These youngsters have risen to the cause. After all it is in times of crisis that heroes are born." He shared how the organisers interacted with the youth and partnering NGOs from rural areas to decide on whether to continue with the fellowship programme. Following this a thorough selection process was held and 100 candidates were selected to work in 50 different rural areas across the country.

He continued, "In fact we need to create more livelihood opportunities in villages as a lot of people returned to their hometowns after the COVID outbreak." While 42 fellows have already reached their destinations, the remaining would leave soon.

One of the fellows, Shubham Mahadik, a mechanical engineer from Mumbai, always wanted to work for the development of the rural sector. "I was born and brought up in a village. I shifted base to Mumbai for studies and then continued staying here. But a year after getting into a corporate job I realised that I was moving away from my dream. I then joined a start-up working in the agricultural sector. But when I learnt that SBI Foundation was continuing the fellowship this year, I decided to grab the opportunity," shared Shubham.

Struggle for survival

However, 28-year-old Sai Nikam's family had initially opposed her decision to go to Guwahati and work for local livelihood development and women empowerment. Nikam, who was a fashion manager from Goregaon, said, "I have made career shifts in the past and my parents have been supportive. But this time they were slightly cautious."

"When I went to villages I realised that art is for the privileged community. The rural people face a continuous struggle for survival. Hence, I decided to work for their development," shared Nikam.

Just like Nikam, it was not easy for 21-year-old Rajasi Sawant, who has just completed her graduation in commerce from Ruparel College, to make her parents understand. "They supported me when they realised my dedication towards the work. In my last year of college I left my CA preparations after I started helping an NGO working for underprivileged kids. They have seen me change my future plans. What matters is that they realised what I want to do in life and supported me," shared Sawant, who will be working in a village near Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Living with rural India

The SBI Youth for India Fellowship is a flagship programme of SBI Foundation that enables youngsters to work on rural development projects in partnership with NGOs. The fellowship gives India's best minds a chance to live with rural communities, understand their struggles and formulate ways that could make their lives better. The fellows are given a stipend of '16,000 per month along with readjustment allowances.

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First Published: 12 October, 2020 07:43 IST

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