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Ankush Bhardwaj

Gandhi Fellowship 2010

UG - BSc Mathematics and Physics from Ruhailkhand University, Bariely

PG - Rural Development, IGNOU

PG - Diploma in Gender and Society, Delhi University

I come from a small town in Uttar Pradesh. My family had sketched out a traditional career path and they wanted me to become an engineer since my elder brother is a doctor. But, I had always had a strong urge to help others and contribute to the society.

After my Graduation, I joined masters in rural development at IGNOU, thereafter pursuing a diploma in Gender and Society in Delhi University. Even though parents disapproved the decision, I enjoyed the course thoroughly which shaped my character for the times to come.

Then Fellowship happened to me. I felt it was a perfect platform to apply whatever knowledge I gained in my preparation for Indian Administrative Services (IAS) & Master’s program. I wanted to experience how change happens at the grass roots. The challenge to work with headmasters twice your age was very intriguing. Fellowship was just the kind of break I was looking for. From city life I shifted to rural setup, which was like dream come true after masters in rural development. Our mentors and coaches worked very closely with us. We used to have discussions for hours and I realise the importance of it today. Through Fellowship, I could gain in-depth knowledge about the various problems rural India is affected by. The intense brainstorming, process of think-act-reflect proved very useful. With the Fellowship Program I finally made up my mind that I want to work with youth in a rural setup where our countries future lies.

Working with headmasters was really challenging for me, since they were very difficult to manage at times. But then majority of my learning was through dealing with them!! Reflection exercises were very useful in identifying issues within and outside. Peer learning helped at every stage during my time spent in Fellowship Program. Overall, it was a healthy ecosystem, a good blend of struggle, hardship, learning and fun.

I am enjoying my present work and plan to stick around with Yuva Parivartan. Within two years I have been promoted as the North India Coordinator, which I feel is a big achievement. First and foremost there is a sense of satisfaction in contributing to my country’s development. I look at myself with immense pride every day.

My relationship with my family has improved and it is more peaceful than ever. They appreciate and respect my work and individuality. Whenever I look back I can’t believe that I have been able to achieve so much with my life!!
“The fellowship was a turning point in my life that allowed me to clarify the direction I should take in my life. Each day working hard providing field support to Headmasters and then reflecting about the same in the evening really churned my life. The outcome was a clearer vision towards my future. Today I am working in my area which is youth, as a Program Director in an organization called Masoom. I am sure that through the training that have I received as a fellow, I can genuinely contribute towards the success of this initiative.”

Pallavi Gandhalikar
Gandhi Fellow, Batch 3 (2010-12)

“The people and experiences in the fellowship was a real life changer for me. My area of interest had always been working with orphans, and during my last 6 months I was able to research and study that area. I was also given an opportunity to work with organizations and experts dealing with orphans. The entire journey has fortified my inner resolve to accomplish what I set out to do. Through all the support I have received at the fellowship, I have clearly moved in the direction that I can relate to. Today I am working with India Sponsorship Committee’s Vidayapeeth Project that is committed to protecting Child Rights in Pune.”

Mayuri Joshi
Gandhi Fellow, Batch 3 (2010-12)

“The experience of Gandhi Fellowship proved to be useful because it has made me capable of making my own decisions. I have also learned the true meaning of working with a team of diversely qualified and capable individuals. It has been a very valuable experience to understand how each individual stands at his/her position in the context of life and the society around. It has made me realise that change is possible with a strategic and constructive approach. It has certainly added a page in the journey of my life and it has given me the right direction to move along the path.”

Kshitij Ramkrishna Patil
Gandhi Fellow, Batch 3 (2010-12)

“Fellowship brought clarity and conviction towards my life’s goal. My interests lie in creating models of self sustained village so as to control migration happening from villages to cities and to make it an interdependent economy. I have taken a first step to understand youth and learn how to convince others of one’s idea; working with fresh college youth shall give me a perspective of what they want and what I need to do so as to convince them of my idea.”

Atul Kotnala
Gandhi Fellow, Batch 3 (2010-12)