Social and Rural Development: Pune’s youth choosing a new career path.

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Pune, 02 May 2024: The SBI Foundation and the Indira Group of Institutions co-organized a seminar to raise awareness about India’s social development sector. Jahnvi Rathod (YFI 2022-23), an alumnus of the SBI Youth for India Fellowship presented a keynote highlighting Pune youth’s significant contributions to grassroots social development. The seminar was attended by students, academics, and professionals aspiring to work in the social sector.

At the seminar, the Youth for India alumnus shared how, during her Fellowship with YFI, Jahnvi dedicated her project to the preservation and promotion of the Saura tribal language, which faces the threat of extinction. Stationed in Odisha, she collaborated with the Gram Vikas NGO on this endeavour. She encouraged youth to explore thematic areas such as Health, Rural Livelihood, Food Security, Environmental Protection, Education, Water, Technology, Women’s Empowerment, Self-Governance, Social Entrepreneurship, Traditional Craft, and Alternate Energy to gain knowledge and develop skills.

The SBI YFI, through its various youth-led interventions, has impacted over 150,000 lives in 250+ villages across 20 states in the country over more than 13 years. It is currently accepting applications for the 12th Batch of YFI through in its pursuit to place informed women and men to facilitate development planning at the village level and enable the linking of plans with available resources.

The SBI Youth for India seminar emphasized the ability of urban-educated young to apply their skills and education to provide innovative solutions to difficult situations. Their contributions aim to promote long-term, inclusive, and resilient growth at the grassroots level, ultimately increasing capacity and allowing local communities to lead development initiatives and take ownership of their progress.

The social development sector in India encounters numerous hurdles when it comes to effectively engaging rural communities and youth in their development. These challenges include inadequate infrastructure, language and cultural barriers, resource constraints, low awareness levels, resistance to change, and gender disparities. To overcome these obstacles, social development

organizations must embrace innovative strategies, forge partnerships with local entities and community leaders, and prioritize the establishment of trust within the community.

Inspired by US ‘PeaceCorps’, the SBI Youth for India Fellowship is the SBI Foundation’s uniquely designed 13-month Fellowship program that was founded in 2011. The Fellowship provides a framework for talented youth to join hands with rural communities, empathise with their struggles, and connect with their aspirations. In over 13 years, 10 Batches of 580+ Alumni have paved the way for development with youth-led interventions.