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‘Girls with dreams to women with vision’ is the task that the KARM Fellowship has set up for itself. A unique, heart-felt opportunity for young women about to begin university education, it is aimed at those who have the spirit and drive to not be limited and defined by the difficult circumstances that they are born into. It is an effort which seeks to enable change leaders in their journeys, inspiring them to effect change in their communities and circles of influence. To achieve this, a tangible aim of financial independence and worthy, impactful careers of choice for each Fellow has been set both individually and for the Fellowship, as a whole.
The effort intends to power the professional aspirations of future women leaders in their areas of choice. Based on empathy, hard work and a desire to foster change, the Fellowship provides nurturance, learning opportunities, guidance, and skilling in addition to college related financial expenses and laptops to deserving girl students.
The curriculum for the Fellowship has been planned after deep conversation and keen observation, leading to the recognition that formal education, unfortunately, leaves several key areas unaddressed, thereby, adversely impacting professional opportunities. To fulfill this yawning gap, the four pillars of Education, Mentorship, Life Skills and Community Service, have been identified as key to the development of these Fellows. It is envisioned that as the girls pursue their formal education through Delhi University, the KARM Fellowship’s curriculum shall be delivered, in tandem. Not only is this being done to build essential skills, but also to inculcate a strong sense of community, to enable a warm and dependable cohort. A thought-through calendar of workshops, instructional sessions, internships, and experiential learnings, along with one on one mentoring and inspirational talks has been put into place.
While the pursuit of the formal degree is undertaken within the set boundaries of the university, the other three pillars have been curated with care by the Fellowship. Using the World Economic Forum’ guidelines and suggestions regarding Skills for the future, the curriculum has been built to ensure predictability and parity for and among the chosen Fellows. To provide certain guard-rails to the instruction, the three college years have been divided thus:
- Year One – Who am I?
- Year Two – Ready to learn
- Year Three – Towards Independence
All instructions in the three years have been designed bearing the above life stages in mind.
The Mentoring pillar is unique in its design. Each Fellow has been paired with a mentor for the duration of the Fellowship bound by a customized curriculum. This rests on a prudent selection of the KARM mentor, who is a tall leader with strong compassion, empathy, and respect for learning. The curriculum provides suggested conversations for each meeting to the mentor; at the same point, providing a mirror exercise to the mentee to ensure that each conversation is meaningful and worthy. This will provide her with steady support, a guided professional development plan and a real-life role model.
Our carefully designed Life Skills curriculum is delivered through workshops, Story Telling, Inspirational Talks, Simulated Group exercises and Thinking and Articulation classes to provide an enriching learning experience. Internships shall be mandated during university breaks to provide experiential learning and a gallery view of the world of work. Strong elements of the Fellowship are the leadership programs, reading lists and a well-networked and supportive community that looks out for one another.
Further, our Community Service Program runs through the Fellowship to ensure that we pay forward what we have received and commit ourselves to fostering change definitively. This is being done through partnerships with key NGOs in the areas of Education, Menstrual health and Care for the Aged.
The first cohort of 20 was selected from the 500 applications received. The selection for the second cohort is underway, with many exciting applications coming our way, through which we hope to bring in 25 bright, young women into our fold early next year. As we go forth, we shall be a 75 strong Fellow community at all points in time, in addition to the KARM team, year on year. Add the brilliant alumni to this and we have a truly worthy community of women!
Our program, we believe, will organically foster a ripple effect in communities, as each girl touches the lives of many more, becoming a powerful synchronized orchestra.