How Rukmini Foundation was able to help a local village student participate in the prestigious South Asia Youth Summit 2013 Program
Having had the great fortune of traveling to many countries during my lifetime, I know how valuable exposure to new environments, new countries, and new cultures can be in shaping your view of the world. It has been a valuable education for me being able to interact with different customs, languages, and people. There are organizations that also share this view and believe in the positive power of travel as a form of education for young students. One such organization is South Asia Youth Summit (SAYS), which offers young students from underprivileged areas in South Asia, namely, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal the opportunity for an exposure visit to the U.S.A. The SAYS program is implemented by Magee Womancare International and Amizade Global Services-Learning. In Nepal, this program was supported by Nepal Break Dance Foundation (NBF). The program is funded by grant given by US Department of States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Selected students visit and stay with host families in Pittsburgh and then travel to Washington D.C.
Although only indirectly involved, Rukmini Foundation (RF) was proud to be associated with the SAYS 2013 program. Our partner school, A School for Community (ASC) was asked by the NBF to submit 9 deserving candidates from the three schools from the Pharping region for an interview to qualify for the program. ASC reached out to Rukmini Foundation and its local leadership to help with this process since we were already experienced in conducting a thorough selection process.
RF Program Officer, Niroj Shretha, RF Chief Technical Officer, Sandesh Aryal and I were involved in the selection process and mentoring them in preparation for the interview. From the Pharping region, we helped to identify nine potential candidates from Sikharapur School, Setidevi School and Arunodaya School. One of the 9 finalists was RF’s very own scholar Junu Magrati.
In January of this year, the preliminary interview was held in the office of NBF. From the outcome of the interview, three students were chosen for the final interview. Unfortunately, Junu did not make it to the final list, however, she said about the process, “ It was a great experience for me because this is the first time I gave an interview in English”. She thanked the Rukmini Foundation and the SAYS program for this opportunity and hopes to be able to apply again next year.
The final interview for SAYS 2013 was in mid-January and a total of seven students were selected from all of Nepal. Pratik Basnet, a student from Sikharapur School in Pharping was one of the 7 selected. This is a matter of great pride and joy for both Pratik and Sikharapur School because a student from rural Nepal was selected for an exposure visit to the U.S.A. Pratik could not hide his joy when he said, “ It is like a dream that a village boy like me is getting a chance to see the United States of America”. He went on to say, “this is a great opportunity for me and I would like to share my experience with my fellow villagers after I return from the US, and I am grateful to Rukmini Foundation for their help and the SAYS program for this wonderful gift”.
Rukmini Foundation, along with partner organization ASC, is constantly trying to find innovative ways to bring positive changes in the lives of students of the Pharping region. We believe that through programs like SAYS, students like Pratik will have the opportunity to learn and experience so many new things by being able to travel aboard. We seek to strengthen our ties with organizations like Amizade that are making such programs possible because these experiences have the power to transform lives for the kids involved. We hope that Pratik will not only enjoy his time in the U.S.A, but that he will bring that experience, lessons learned, and stories back to his village to share with fellow village students. Opportunities like this, while difficult to come by for villagers in Nepal, give students like Pratik and Junu tremendous motivation to do their best in school so that they may one day be able to experience an adventure like the one Pratik is about to embark on.
Program Manager – Rukmini Foundation