Real Leaders are ordinary people, with an extra-ordinary vision and determination. The search for Real Leaders has never been easy. The launch of the “SBI Youth for India” Fellowship Programme marks the beginning of a journey to identify India’s Real leaders – young men and women who seek to understand India better, care for its people and lead the change for a better for India.
50 young men and women will be selected from across India and trained to take up the challenge of becoming Real Leaders through a transformational experience in the heart of ‘Real India’ – ie rural India, which is home to 70% of India’s population. ‘SBI Youth for India’ invites outstanding young professionals and graduates to commit a year to rural India and work on projects with experienced NGOs to catalyse rural development. Join the movement to transform yourself, and rural India.
Will you be bitten by a snake? No, instead you would be gripped by a whole new world and the raw intelligence of an Indian village. You would learn about life in India’s villages, the customs and traditions and how they impact development. You will also learn what plagues the rural economy and how value can be created at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. And much more. In essence you will know about what matters, if India is to become a truly developed nation, and what it will take to get there.
The metamorphosis starts as and when you are selected. Think of your most impressive self and apply here. The applications will be evaluated by a team of experts. Once you are selected you will be trained for your journey to the rural set up. Your aptitudes will be assessed and you will be sent to ‘your’ village and ‘your’ NGO, where the process gears up. You will work closely with the NGO and with the help of a mentor you will be educated and trained to touch rural lives. The greatest discovery of all begins here, discovery of your own self — your values and your determination to lead change.
Your real challenge wouldn’t be about how you will adapt to the rural set up. Rather, it will be to think of India as an inclusive country which cannot truly progress, without rural India progressing. We had 16,196 farmer suicides recorded just two years back. The per capita income in rural areas is Rs 25 per day. Compare it with yours. Not to feel better, but to think better. We have approximately 600,000 villages, 25% of which do not have year-round drinking water and 75% consume water of poor quality. Women suffer from poor reproductive health and deliveries are performed with the assistance of under-trained midwives usually leading to deaths of both mother and child. The average literacy rate is around 50-65% and is as low as 20-25% among women in backward areas.
It is not all blind spots in rural India. Stories of change are innumerable. If it is one Mr Swamy and Mrs Chinni in Purkal, a small village in the foothills of Himalayas, it is a Hirbai Ibrahim Lobi in Jambur, Gujarat. They are the Real heroes of India. And this is your chance to become one. Your country, your chance!