The SBI Foundation’s Youth for India program celebrated the valediction of its 10th Batch at SBILD, Bangalore. The event marked the culmination of the 13-month Fellowship for 67 dedicated Fellows, who showcased their remarkable contributions to rural development and presented a roadmap to social development to the present 13 NGO partners. The event was attended by Shri Krishan Sharma, Chief General Manager, SBI Bangalore circle; Senior SBI officials and Partner NGO Representatives. The outgoing Fellows showcased their impact-driven work in remote areas across the country, striving to make a significant difference in the lives of rural communities. The YFI currently has an alumni base of 580+ Fellows, with over 70% working directly in the Development sector.
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.”
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.”
Jagannath Sahoo, President & COO, SBI Foundation, said “This fellowship has consistently demonstrated its potential to drive rural development and empower communities, and we are immensely proud of our Fellows, both present and past, who have worked tirelessly to create lasting social change in the rural and remote regions of India. This is not the end of a 13-month journey for the Fellows; but rather the beginning of a lifelong commitment to change.”
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.
One such notable initiative was conceived by an SBI YFI Fellow advocating to the tribal population of Kantaphod in Madhya Pradesh about 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.
Another such notable initiative was started by a YFI Fellow in promoting the use of millet and also developing ‘Millet Value Chain Development’ through Tribal women entrepreneurship in Jawhar, Maharashtra. Since our Prime Minister, Shri 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.
Over the last 10 batches, Youth for India has seen active participation from hundreds of Indian youth. This also included Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) in addition to applicants from Metropolitan cities of India. In terms of capacity building, the Program has impacted over 1,00,000 beneficiaries through the Fellows’ interventions. These interventions were carried out in 250+ Villages across 20 States in India.
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.