August 09 Fellowship Class: 27 Fellows, over 700 application starts
With application starts from over 700 people in Canada, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, UAE, UK and US, Indicorps is proud to announce the Aug 2009 Class of 27 Fellows. Indicorps lined up 31 projects with 11 partner organizations across India. Selected through a rigorous screening process, this year’s class includes U.S., British, Canadian, Hong Kong and Indian passport holders. With majors, interests and careers as diverse as economics, architecture, engineering and medicine, some are trained in Salsa and belly dancing as well. The fellows are both first-timers to India, as well as seasoned India veterans. The age range includes those fresh out of college as well as others who quit lucrative corporate and finance jobs at the peak of the economic crisis.
The Fellows are placed at partner organizations from the banks of the Ganges to the deserts of Rajasthan and from the forests of central Maharashtra, and the Western Ghats to the former French colony of Pondicherry. The geographical variances mirror the project diversity which includes social enterprise, urban infrastructure design, holistic development through sports, public health for migrants, and mentoring rural social entrepreneurs.
All of this diversity is bound together by traditional Indicorps values inculcated to the Fellows through orientation: Simple living, producer in thought, word and action, community immersion and pushing comfort zones. These concepts are now essential ingredients for the Fellows at their respective project sites.
This year, in addition to 25 fellows from outside of India, we also have two from within. Aditi Poddar, a native of New Delhi, is coming to Indicorps after interning with the United Nations doing a post-tsunami recovery and rehabilitation program in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She will be joining Grassroots Development Laboratory (GDL) in Bagar, Rajasthan. Poddar chose GDL because, as she says, “it is an extremely exciting place to be,” since it “experiments with scalable sustainable solutions to nationally relevant development problems, challenging us to think about development at a macro level but looking for solutions at the micro level.”
We are also joined by a wide array of fellows from the US. Kavita Rajshekhar completed her medical studies at the University of Florida College of Medicine, and has become interested in ‘ecological medicine,’ and the “idea that the health of humans, animals, and the earth are interconnected and dependent on one another.” She also believes that “a humane education starting in childhood can be a foundation for a lifetime of service.” Her decision to partner with the bridge camp program of Vidya Poshak is based on this belief.
Also from the U.S., Sashti Balasundaram recently graduated from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health earning a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in environmental health and epidemiology. During his fellowship year he hopes to develop language skills and understand the culture of his ancestors. He also sees the fellowship year as a time for coming to a better understanding of “the internal importance [of] self-identity, conscientious mental growth and the willingness to lead a straightforward, clean lifestyle.” Updated bios of all Fellows will be available on the Indicorps website shortly.
– Dev Tayde, Indicorps Deputy Director