A country where education is valued not as a formality but as a pride of the country is never poor.
~ Nitin Namdeo
Education empowers individuals to overcome challenges and drive societal progress. The learning journey has long been the gateway to surpassing one’s limitations.
Children are inherently curious and full of potential. The child of today is definitely the torchbearer of a brighter future. Yet, a long journey ahead!
SPJIMR, the top B-school in Mumbai, believes in nurturing the leaders of tomorrow through their transformative experiential learning – Abhyudaya. In this programme, students from their PGDM programme serve as mentors to underprivileged school children, known as Sitaras or stars.
These mentoring sessions not only enrich the lives of these bright young minds but also offer the participants a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced in low-income communities. This exposure highlights the importance of sustainable business development.
For over 15 years, the Abhyudaya initiative’s non-profit arm has been dedicated to advancing UN SDG 4 – Quality Education. SPJIMR’s PGDM programme has been actively engaged with the Sitara community, providing education, financial support, health and safety programs, digital literacy initiatives, and holistic development activities. By investing in education today, they are lighting the path to a brighter and more promising tomorrow.
SPJIMR lighting the path to a brighter future!
I came to SPJIMR in the 7th standard. I knew that being a part of SPJIMR’s Abhyudaya programme included numerous Sunday classes – English, Yoga, Math, you name it! Coming from a vernacular medium, I learned the meaning and concept of mentor and mentee, only after I joined the B-school. It was SPJIMR’ Abhyudaya that shaped me, to become who I am today.
The unprecedented present!
I didn’t know what Hastantaran was… I remember sitting on a chair waiting for a crossword game, a gift that I was promised. Little did I know that there wasn’t just one gift that I was getting that day.
My name was called and there she was, Kanika Ghocha, my mentor! Mentors were supposed to come to the mentee’s house, guide them academically, and help them navigate their extra-curricular activities. There were a limited number of sessions that the mentors were supposed to complete, however, she didn’t make me feel like she was mentoring me for the heck of it, or to solely complete her hours. I felt “at home” with her and I didn’t realise when all those sessions came to an end. It was the first time I was studying subjects like Eng, Science and Math. Since I was from a vernacular medium, Marathi was the only language I was fluent in. I remember bawling like a baby due to nervousness about not knowing the language. I wanted to be a topper despite my limitations, and I wanted her to know this, and also figure out a way to make it happen. Good mentors teach you what to study. But then great ones teach you how to study! And that’s exactly what she did. She taught me a concept called “Nalla Bunding”. Till today, I follow that concept.
Being unstoppable is a choice.
Deepti, my mentor in the 8th standard. A South Indian girl who found it hard to communicate with my Marathi parents. I served as a translator between them. Helping her speak to my parents made me realise that everyone has limitations, and that being unstoppable is a choice.
I had a project that I was required to work on. However, I had no knowledge of what Google is, and how it worked. She introduced me to the search engine. Today, in the world of ChatGPT, she was my ChatD’pti at the time. I used to unapologetically call her, and ask her to find the required information. No matter where she was, whatever she might be doing, she always took my calls and patiently helped me out by sending me whatever I asked for. I felt like it was she who was more concerned about my projects than I was.
My first interview!
The day of Hastantaran came, again. Since I had great experiences with two didis previously, I wished for my next mentor to be a girl like myself. However, I was assigned a bhaiya, this time. I was slightly stressed as I thought I might not be able to connect with him as well as I did with didis. But to my surprise, he was so fun-loving and easy to speak to! My stress disappeared immediately.
It was Holi that day, and I called him up to express my keenness to appear for the GYLF (Global Youth Leadership Forum) interview, the first interview of my life! If selected, I would be required to go to the U.S. for a summit! My senior Sitaras had done it, so I knew I could too, and was so excited!! Despite it being a festival, and despite being in the middle of a family get-together,
Bhaiya – When is your interview?
Me – Tomorrow.
Bhaiya – No, It’s today!
And just like that, I took the first interview of my life, on a call!
My human compass in the most crucial years of school!
11th and 12th standards are challenging. And although I didn’t see too many options in front of me, I still needed guidance with the ones that were. I didn’t know any of the entrance exams that I needed to crack in order to get admission into a good college.
Poulomi Pramanik – my human compass helped me navigate and make informed decisions. She was in the midst of her placements when she received a frantic call from me, however, she calmed me down, instantly. After speaking to her, I felt reassured, I went for an interview and cracked it. I got through the Government College of Engineering!!
I finally became a “mentor”!
I pursued my B.tech in Electrical Engineering from Sardar Patel College of Engineering. And I am currently working as a Deputy Manager, at ICICI Bank. I made my LinkedIn profile just last year and got a message from a mentee asking for guidance. It was after my first conversation with them that I felt a sense of achievement. I had successfully graduated from being a mentee to becoming a mentor!
My four mentors were the first people added after joining LinkedIn. These are the people who made me who I am today, and I am extremely grateful for being a part of Hastantaran, SPJIMR
Once an Abhyudaya Sitara, always a shining Sitara!
Her way of showing gratitude
Abhyudaya had a profound impact on Vaibhavi. After she started working at ICICI Bank, she donated a portion of her first paycheck to the programme. Her mother personally came and handed over the check to the Abhyudaya team.