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All You Wanted To Know About Getting A Scholarship To Study Abroad

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By Anannya Roy Chowdhury:

When I was 3, I remember telling my dad, “Papa, I wish to be a doctor when I am bigger”. With the roll of time and as things changed for me in my little world, doctor was but the last thing that I had in mind. Now a play artist and sometime a writer, with possibly each day changing, my wants of a career too altered. With a grin on his face and maybe an uncertainty for the future, he always promised me that I would get what I want.

Not to take away from the fact that, not many are lucky enough, studies in a world where every minute a doctor or engineer is born, is certainly not a cake’s walk! More than often we do hear meritorious students in and around us complaining that just because their family tree was not enrooted over Pandora’s chest, they were dispossessed of their rights to higher education in reputed universities across the globe. It is certainly a big thing today to dream big and an even a higher challenge to pursue it if you are trodden by luck in monetary terms.

However, from time immemorial, this problem of people falling prey to the shackles of a meagre pocket has persisted and so have the ways of overcoming! Student education scholarships are what breathe an air of assurance in this otherwise chocking atmosphere of education today. In India, the condition is presumably gore with over 40% of the population below of the poverty line (BPL), studying in Oxford or Cambridge is a fairy tale, only with a not-so happy ending! In the wake of the current situation several scholarships and other free fellowships have sprung up and the Fulbright-Nehru scholarship for diploma and doctoral research is one of the most sought after ones. With easy to apply procedure and other positive attributes, there are enough reasons for us to believe that not just the Richie-Richs of the practical world, but also an average person has the rights to dream big!

The Nehru-Fulbright scholarship; important details-

Back in the year 1946 when the world was still a somewhat simpler place to live in, the foresight and efforts of one man, the then senator in the United States, Mr William Fulbright went on for the structuration of this international fellowship for student exchange. Its Indian tie up, called by the name the Nehru-Fulbright fellowship is without a doubt a great initiative that makes sure that if you are deserving, you get your rewards. Students who are presently working on their future and studying for their respective Ph.Ds. in their respective fields have a larger option in this scholarship program. The students should have at least registered for their Ph.D. in an Indian university and that registration should be done at least one year earlier to the date of the application for this programme. The age limit for this programme is 45 years or younger. Students of this programme are given several kinds of benefits starting from monthly stipends, sickness program and all other things so that they don’t have any problem there. Students can apply for this programme through an application form or maybe with the help of some confidential reference. That depends upon the student itself. Applicants can be of any discipline as such may it be public administration, education, agricultural science, government, religion or any other topics such as literature or other contemporary issues, the details of which can be known by following the below given link. http://www.usief.org.in/FIC-Fulbright-Nehru-Doctoral-and-Professional-Research-Fellowships.aspx . Apart from this programme students have also a choice of various different kinds of programmes starting from the IFUW International Award for science technology, GREECE Scholarship programme for history and archaeology to the University of Melbourne and several other ones which specialises in many different fields. The list of which can be known in http://www.studyguideindia.com/Scholarship/International/ .

Tips to search and apply overseas and other important details-

Now all of us know that applying for a college in the country is a lot simpler than applying for any international university (although back home, things are getting way more complicated than they used to be a decade back), there are always a few things that you must keep in mind while aiming for any reputed university over the seas.

Set your aim straight and path even straighter: Knowing what to study is the most important thing. As children (except a few of us, because we still do same), we do shift gears from one career option to the other, which in that setting seems forgivable however, while applying in any foreign institution, you must be crystal clear about your goals. The best part of the education system in most country, obviously except India (and I am pretty unabashed in telling so) is that they give you a range of subjects to choose from. You can be a doctor with a major in English literature or a microbiologist with a simultaneous degree in journalism and nobody would object to that!

Pull your sleeves up and know it all about all universities offering your desired course: this is a simple step and doesn’t need any synopsis. Make no shortcuts and research well. Internet, personal e-mails (trust me, people out there are far more responsive and do reply back!) etc. do whatever you please and unclothe the facts.

Help your finances with grants: although we are talking in general about international free ships, most universities in addition to recognizing common scholarship or aptitude tests (SAT, TOEFL are some) also provide personal grants to the crème de la crème of the lot. Make sure you apply to these and prepare for it (Oh! Come on! Does this even need any citation?)

Make new friends or revive the old: no, I am certainly not advertising Facebook here (although as you read you would find strong implications), what I mean is that knowing people who are ex-students or better still studying, always gives you an upper hand.

Ensure all government procedures are taken care of: now this is the last thing you would like to get yourself involved into. So, make sure your passport is renewed (newly made if the case is such) and all other formalities taken care of. Last moment hassles only cause you sleepless nights, tons of rounds to government bureaucrats (and we all know the situation in India) and thousands of money wasted (of course in giving the Babus their chai-paani).

You must always remember that in today’s time, being talented is not all. It requires the synchronized functioning of both your mind and strategizing abilities to hail you to success, or in this case in your favourite university. With such great scholarships in line and more to come up in the near future, it would soon be a reality to study abroad than a vain fairy tale!

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  1. Komal Patel

    Nice!
     

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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