The SBI Youth for India Fellowship, a leading youth fellowship, is inviting applications from Indian youth aged 21 to 32, citizens of Nepal/Bhutan as well as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) for the 2022-23 batch.

The programme offers a wide variety of projects to choose from and the flexibility to design a feasible project of your own liking within the focus areas of the partner NGO’s work. The fellowship covers living, transport and medical insurance costs of stay in rural India and supports project costs on a case basis.

The last date to apply is May 2, 2022.

Unique by design, this 13-month program has attracted young professionals, graduates and postgraduates to commit for a year to work on challenging grassroots development projects. The program has drawn Indian youth from prestigious institutions like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, IITs, and IIM. Professionals from MNCs like Goldman Sachs, Infosys, Mu Sigma, Dell, Reliance, L&T, Deloitte, Accenture, Cognizant, Schlumberger, Thomson Reuters, etc., have joined the SBI Youth for India Fellowship.

Over 70% of the alumni go on to pursue meaningful careers in the social sector by working in Rural Development, Public Policy, Governance, and Academia. 35 SBI YFI alumni have either founded or initiated a program, enterprise, or non-profit of their own, and 65 of the alumni have pursued their higher studies post their SBI Youth for India Fellowship experience.

The exposure to rural realities and challenges during the fellowship motivates fellows to remain committed to solving pressing societal issues. Shriti Pandey (2016-17 Fellow) founded ‘Strawcture’ in 2018. Strawcture’s technology helps reduce pollution by compressing crop waste into agri-fibre panels for industrial and commercial builds.

Run by the State Bank of India’s CSR arm, SBI Foundation, the fellowship is now in its 10th year with a rich alumni base of 450+ alumni spread across prestigious development sector organisations across the country. The Fellowship requires Fellows to relocate to remote rural locations across the country and lead projects focused on 12 thematic areas, like environmental protection, women’s empowerment, water, self-governance, etc.

The Fellows work in close coordination with 14 reputed NGOs that provide them with access to specialised expertise in their chosen thematic area. In the last two years, Fellows’ projects focused on helping rural communities cope with the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the areas of Rural livelihood, Health, Education, and Technology. The number of youth who volunteered to join the Fellowship to work with rural communities increased as the Fellowship saw approximately 90,000 applications during the pandemic last year.

The mantra of the fellowship is to unlearn, collaborate, build, and sustain. While the unlearning experience helps youth discard preconceived notions and assumptions about the real challenges faced by rural India, the Fellows also take inputs from experts and local communities to understand their challenges better.

The Fellows aim to work on projects by collaborating with the community and various key stakeholders to identify and work towards interventions to build their intended projects; while also focusing on the fourth aspect of sustainable development.

Apart from the opportunity to make a significant social contribution at an early age, the fellowship also offers various additional advantages, which makes it a highly sought-after and attractive opportunity for young Indians.

Some of the benefits include:

1. Social Impact — The sheer opportunity to make a positive difference can be a powerful catalyst early in anyone’s life, no matter how small.

2. Leadership Development — Fellows inevitably develop essential leadership skills during their 13-months as they are independent and responsible for the planning and execution of their intended projects.

3. Multidisciplinary Experience — Fellows hail from various educational and professional backgrounds. While many apply their academic knowledge and experience to build their projects, the nature of every project inevitably spans multiple disciplines.

4. Personality Development — The Fellowship helps develop holistic personality traits that include everything from emotional maturity, empathy, perseverance, self-confidence, and many other aspects of self-discovery and development that organically emerge as the Fellows experience.

5. Alumni Network — The Fellowship's global alumni network is a tightly woven group that continues to support and drive positive impact long after their Fellowships conclude. Many corporates, universities, startups, and social ventures actively seek out and prefer working with those with fellowship experiences considering the essential skills they’re likely to have picked up during their Fellowship journey. 

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