Marking the culmination of the 10th edition of the SBI Foundation’s Youth for India program 13-month Fellowship for 67 dedicated Fellows, a valedictory ceremony took place at SBILD, Bangalore on Nov 3. The outgoing Fellows showcased their impact-driven work in remote areas across the country. Krishan Sharma, Chief General Manager, SBI Bangalore circle; Senior SBI officials and representatives from 13 Partner NGOs attended the event.
The SBI Youth for India Fellowship, which is one of its kind, works on 12 thematic areas such as Health, Rural Livelihood, Food Security, Environmental Protection, Education, Water, Technology, Women’s Empowerment, Self-Governance, Social Entrepreneurship, Traditional Craft and Alternate Energy. During the Fellowship program, the Fellows work on one of these 12 areas as per their interest.
Sharing his thoughts on the YFI program and the Fellows’ contributions to the development sector, Sanjay Prakash, MD & CEO, SBI Foundation, said, “The 13-month long Fellowship provides an active framework for the Youth to come up with sustainable development solutions for rural development and capacity building in multiple ways. It serves as a shining example of how young individuals can actively engage in rural development. As we celebrate the accomplishments of the 10th Batch, it is clear that their efforts have left an indelible mark on the lives of the communities they served. We are proud to see them step into the world as impactful social change-makers.”
Among the notable initiatives by the SBI YFI Fellows is about the tribal population of Kantaphod in Madhya Pradesh who use eco-friendly, affordable yet sturdy building material using the ‘Rammed Earth’ technique, which focuses on constructing foundations, floors, and walls using compacted natural raw materials such as earth, chalk, lime, or gravel. Promoting the use of millet and also developing ‘Millet Value Chain Development’ through Tribal women entrepreneurship in Jawhar, Maharashtra was yet another work. Since our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has declared 2023 as the Year of the Millet, this initiative has done tremendous work in training & providing training regarding market analysis, Marketing & community involvement.
Krishan Sharma, CGM, SBI Bengaluru Circle, complimented the fellows and said, “ I command the bold decision of the fellows to step out of their comfort zone to undergo a challenging journey for the sake of bringing about a change in the rural landscape.”
Inspired by US ‘PeaceCorps’, the SBI Youth for India Fellowship Program has impacted over 1,00,000 beneficiaries through the Fellows’ interventions in last 12 years. These interventions were carried out in 250+ Villages across 20 States in India.
Also, the project has a lasting impact on the country’s development sector ecosystem. 45+ Fellowship alumni have either founded or initiated a program, enterprise or non-profit. Among some notable alumni is Siddharth Daga, Co-founder of NeoMotion, that customises Tech-Enabled Wheelchairs, who appeared on SharkTank this season. Another former Fellow is Shriti Pandey, who founded ‘Strawcture’ in 2018 and was covered in Forbes 30 under 30 in the 2021 edition for her use of technology that helps reduce pollution by compressing crop waste into Agri-fibre panels for industrial and commercial builds.
The project also impacts youth in their future academic pursuits. 100+ Fellowship alumni pursue Higher Studies in the development sector after their SBI Youth for India Fellowship experience, and about 70% go on to pursue meaningful careers in the social sector by working in Rural Development, Public Policy/Governance, Academia, etc., thereby enabling lasting positive change.