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Scholarship Programs

Yuva Pragati USA / Scholarship Programs

Our visits to Gujarat, India for conducting the Youth Wellness Camps have made us aware of the acute need for financial support for further education of the children. As our experiences bear out, such an education results in future employment so they can support and sustain their families. In addition, we have noticed significant change in each child as she/he climbs every step of the education ladder. They gain broader knowledge, and their horizons widen. They also develop soft skills and gain confidence. They become better citizens of the world.

To aid in that effort, we have established two programs. For some students, the two programs can be supplementary and together they provide comprehensive assistance to educate some enrolled children from high school to college degree.

A. Aim for College Education (ACE) Loan Scholarship Program

After high school graduation, the girls who come from poor families reach a critical juncture in their lives: They can either go for college education or face the likelihood that their parents will arrange for their marriage at a relatively early age. Such early marriages are commonly arranged mainly amongst poor families. The girls then, going into other poor families, get confined to domestic work, motherhood responsibilities and menial work to supplement family income. This perpetuates a life in poverty. 

An encouraging factor is that even in rural areas most parents now-a-days recognize this situation and appreciate the value of higher education. But many feel helpless because they do not have sufficient financial resources to pay for it. So if we can financially help the girls in getting their college education, it will immensely benefit them, their families and their future generations.

With this objective, Yuva Pragati established its Aim for College Education (ACE) Scholarship program in the year 2020. The program is designed to financially help students from poor families, primarily girls from rural areas, to get college degrees/diplomas in nursing and paramedical fields. 

We decided to focus on this area of education because it offers several benefits. Nursing and paramedical education is available in 2, 3 or 4 year courses which provide good flexibility to find the best individual fit for each student. Many girls prefer this career over those of doctors because it is less demanding and they can start earning money within a few years. There is also a strong demand in the healthcare market for people with this training, which helps them find well-paying jobs after graduation.

The program has several key features:

1. We provide full but supplementary funding, i.e. we first establish how much help can the student obtain from other sources such as their families, community and colleges, and then we make up for the entire shortfall in the total funds needed for all the years of their college education.

2. The scholarship is given as an interest-free loan. After graduation and gainful employment, the student will repay the entire loan in convenient installments. The repaid loans are circulated back into the program which helps us to support even more students as we go forward. It has been our past experience that providing assistance as an interest-free loan (instead of an outright grant) instills in the students a spirit of giving back to the society once they are in a position to do so.

This program is administered in partnership with Sister Nivedita Foundation in Rajkot with who we also manage the High School Girls’ Scholarship program described above. We have worked collaboratively on many programs over many years.

Our student selection and enrollment process for this program is systematic. Apart from using the criteria of low family income and good academic performance, we select students based on their enthusiasm, diligence and commitment to career pursuit in the chosen field. During personal interviews we ensure that the parents are also fully committed to supporting their child’s education.

The ACE program will bring much positive impact. The student, after graduation, will easily earn 3-5 times the initial family income. They will feel proud about working in professional jobs rather than doing menial work. They will live a more meaningful life. With a college degree/diploma, they will feel empowered; it will boost their confidence and give them a sense of achievement. They will be more likely to get involved in their communities, volunteer and consider donations to help future generations. Most importantly, they will for sure educate their own children. This is truly transformational for children raised in poverty, like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly.

This is the mission of our ACE program.

A donation of $5,000 supports one student through all the years of her education in this field. But donation in any amount will help our program. We urge you to consider donating generously.

B. Scholarships For Tribal Girls of South Gujarat

Donate to help Adivasi tribal girls complete their high school education.

We initiated a major program to support the education of High School girls living in Ashramshalas in South Gujarat. The initiative is a direct result of our observations and awareness of the situation. As part of Yuva Pragati’s work, our annual visits during the Youth Wellness Camps take us to these Ashramshalas in the remote rural areas of Gujarat. It is during these visits that we have come to understand the critical nature of this problem. Bright, capable girls who have admission in High Schools may have to drop out because of lack of financial capability. Your support will empower these girls to complete their high school education without the financial worries and put them – and their future generations – on a path to economic wellbeing.

Our girls come from the tribal communities who live in remote forest areas of Dang and have few resources and limited means of livelihood. Many families, during a better part of the year, lock their homes and go for labor work in cities, or go from farm-to-farm harvesting crops. High schools, unlike the elementary schools, are often located far from these remote villages. Daughters of these families have to live in a dorm to complete their education from 9th thru 12th grades. And it costs money! In dire circumstances, instead of going on to High School, some post-eighth graders will be married off or some will join their parents’ line of work – continuing the tradition of poverty in the family. High School learning opens up many opportunities and improves the economic lives for our girls, and for generations that follow them. An educated woman will ensure her children continue the tradition of learning!

 Working with our NGO partners, we support girls from several High Schools. Yuva Pragati will continue the financial support and the accountability measures, so the girls are facilitated to complete the four years of high school. The Scholarship program is a major initiative at Yuva Pragati that deserves your generosity and participation. The program goal is to support 200 deserving and needy high school girls each year.

A contribution of $1,000 now, will provide a four-year scholarship for one high school girl. A donor may support one or more girls. A generous donation of $10,000 will provide scholarships for ten deserving girls! The impact on the girls will be enormous! These scholarships are a blessing for our girls and their future families.

C. High School Girls Scholarship Program

After working for 35+ years in the field of education in rural areas of India, we have realized that it is far more important to encourage girls to complete their education through high school to earn respect from the society, build solid life sustaining skills and provide opportunities to their future family, thus breaking a perpetual cycle of poverty.

The population of students we support are children of migrant workers (with a daily income of $2) who are always mobile in search of daily labor. The Government of India provides free education for all children up to grade 8. For grades 9 to 12 (high school), tuition is free for girls, but they must provide for their own lodging and boarding. This is when the poor migrant families with average 3 to 4 children must make a very difficult choice as they can’t afford the expenses of educating even two children at a time at a cost of $250/year/child. This is when the girls get discriminated against and boys are given preference.

We decided many years ago that we would start this program by sponsoring at least 100 girls, and we will continue to expand this program as we gather more resources. By the end of Year 2020, more than 3,000 girls have benefited from this program. This program is administered locally by our local partner Sister Nivedita Foundation, a renowned and reputed NGO based in Rajkot, Gujarat, through its School – on- Wheels (SOW) program geared towards improving the quality of education for village students.

One of the biggest benefits of this program is that these future educated mothers will act as role models for their children in their formative years and we will permanently break the cycle of poverty. As Gandhiji said, “if you educate a man, you educate a single person, but when you educate a woman, you educate a whole family!”

Your gift of $1000/- will support a girl through her 4 years of high school education. and you will have satisfaction and immense joy of educating a rural girl who would not have this opportunity otherwise.