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Fellows
Stories

Toiba Sultana

Gandhi Fellow 2010

UG - Political Science, Miranda House

PG - Political Science, Delhi University


One thing used to bother me a lot during my college days - “What right do I have to sit in my college canteen and criticise the system? The fact is I am not doing anything to change it.” So, Fellowship was exactly what I was looking for. To come out of my Political Science theory and understand the real India. Not only understand but feel it, live it.

The Fellowship actually brought about a lot of changes in me. It is one of the personal reflection sessions in which my life changed. There were certain incidents of childhood which I always carried in my life, which created negativity within me. But, the whole process of personal reflection helped me come out of this peculiar problem that I lived with. Due to the change within, my whole perspective about life changed. Personal reflection became something very dear to me. So I encouraged my HM’s to start the process for themselves and I have seen a lot of changes in my HMs because of it.

After Fellowship, I worked with Kaivalya , but I wanted to do something for Assam, my own state. I joined an organisation called Maitri that works towards creating livelihood and dignity for youth and women. I joined as a Programme Manager. Since I am in a senior position, I am involved in decision making. I got a chance to write the District Project Report (DPR) to Manipur Government on Prime Minister Special package.

Also because of the recent violence in Assam along with a couple of my friends, we have started a movement in order to bring peace and to work for the long term development of this region. Along with others interested towards the same end, I started MYFACTS (Muslim Youth Forum Against Communalism Terrorism and Sedition). It is a network of 1331 members, a group of progressive muslims from diverse backgrounds, lawyers, educationists, committed to the development of society and bringing peace to the region. The organisation is today engaged in a wide range of activities - documentation, counselling in refugee camps, creating rights based model villages, research into the cultural history of muslims, educational and health status etc. The solution is to create an identity around the region, rather than religion and its development.

I am very happy at the moment in my life because I am contributing to the nation instead of criticising it.

Testimonials
“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)