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Sugandha Munshi

Gandhi Fellow 2010

UG - Political Science, Miranda House

PG - Journalism and Gender Studies, Delhi University

After doing my Masters in Political Science, I pursued Journalism as a career. Getting a degree in Journalism, I started working as a reporter. Very soon I realized that I need to work at the grass root level. Then I came across this program, and took a risk.

During these two years of being associated with the program “All my lows during these two years became my learning and all my highs my understanding.” This was the phase where I encountered many truths, truth which sometime questioned my belief, truth which forced me to take a stand. All those experiences together made me a strong individual.

These two years provided me time to experiment my theories and develop understanding in a set environment. Working with the various stakeholders for school change and incepting many new experiments helped me to grow as an individual. Working with the community, women, government, children and above all, being directly associated with schools leaders helped me to enhance my learning capacity under constant guidance. It provided me with the opportunity to think and give time to my professional excellence.

Immediately after the Fellowship I formally joined Kaivalya as the program leader in the expansion team in Rajasthan. The reason behind this was to work for leadership skill among the school leaders and to enhance my learning with them.

During three years of field work I drew one important conclusion how through this particular tool of “quality education” and “leadership” simultaneously other social issues were getting positively affected vis-a-vis gender issues government system monotony. During the field work I found women behind pardah speaking out for education and immediately getting ready to explore.

After working as a project leader in Rajasthan and Mumbai, I took a bigger risk moving from Kaivalya as a Programme Leader (PL) and joining state of Bihar for working on gender rights. I joined Gender Cell for the Department of Education, Bihar as a State Coordinator. Since then, I am working for the state as consultant of UNICEF supporting gender works. It has been a great opportunity which is shaping my identity helping me to contribute to my state in the area of my interest. Working with the key decision makers, key stakeholders developed my decision making quality and I am learning new things through the challenges I face, welcoming the support I get. Leading policy level interventions, forum, planning and implementing innovations, supporting system are the key work arenas.

The juncture where I am standing today gives me a satisfaction that I took risk in my life till date. It also reiterates the fact “the greatest risk in life is not to take any risk”.
“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)