Hailing from a lower middle-class family, Saurabh had to face a lot of financial constraints which hindered his desire to complete academics, before he could join a job to support his family. Saurabh did a lot of research and gathered information about the various scholarships and availed them to pursue his higher education.
From his graduation till he completed his Masters, he received immense support to pursue academics through scholarships. It was during this phase that he realised that like him, there were many students who were unaware of the fact that there are numerous scholarships available that can support their higher education aspirations. He realised that there was a huge gap which needs to be filled in order to bring an impact to underprivileged families.
Saurabh, the founder and director of Youth Dreamers Foundation (YDF), started his career as a Gandhi Fellow in Rajasthan just after completing his MBA. There, he received a platform to reach out to 1500 high school students in a small district of Rajasthan named Jhunjhunu. The students were keenly interested and were inquisitive enough to know the application procedures and criteria. Saurabh realised that there was an actual need to address this issue. He therefore designed a project on scholarship, wherein he would create a Scholarship Cell in schools, where the students could easily enquire about the available scholarships and also avail support to apply for the same.
Saurabh has a rich experience about scholarships and their application procedures because of his rigorous four-year-research on scholarships. In 2015, he launched his own initiative – Youth Dreamers Foundation. In 2016, YDF started running a project with Sattva Pvt. Ltd. and HCL Foundation, the “My Scholarship Program 2016-17”, in Delhi (NCR).
Youth Dreamers Foundation is providing the students and youth adequate advice on how to seek out scholarships and apply for them. They highlight the best ways to boost their chances of receiving a scholarship. It aims to create enormous opportunities through financial aids for children and the youth, by conciliating government schemes, corporate schemes and various grants.
In India, more than a crore seats are available under 2000 types of scholarship schemes worth ₹26,000 crores. However, 93% of the students do not apply for scholarships, due to the lack of awareness or information on scholarships, lack of application-support for students while applying for scholarship opportunities, illiteracy regarding the internet and the English language, and the lack of communication between the scholarship providers and scholars.
Youth Dreamers Foundation was formed to provide economical and cognitive support through grassroots initiatives to underprivileged children and to the youth – both of these groups being pillars of support for the civil society. Since 2013-14, Youth Dreamer’s Foundation has been associated with Kapadwanj Kelawani Mandal Trust, where Mr. Jalaj Dani (President of Asian Paints) has been funding their scholarship initiatives.
Every year, the Scholarship Cell is providing guidance to all the institutes of Kapadwanj in Gujarat and successfully supporting students to avail scholarships according to their academic backgrounds. A total of 50,000 students have been sensitised about various scholarships in Rajasthan and Gujarat since 2012. In 2015-16, a total of 2600 students received scholarships worth ₹55 lakhs (Govt/PSU/Individual Donors) in Gujarat. Since 2013, YDF has managed to pilot their scholarship support program and has supported a total of 7500 students to avail scholarships worth ₹2.5 crores (Govt/CSR funds).