Or perhaps a girl, who came from a society that didn’t even permit her to visit village library saying that girls don’t go to boys-owned-place (forget that it’s a place of knowledge here), could have ever imagined in her wildest of dreams that few years later she would be talking about her struggle and success story in California on the most prestigious talk platform called TED?
These stories are not fictional. These are real stories.
Hard to believe, right?
I didn’t either, until I became a part of Bodhi Tree Foundation.
What is Bodhi Tree Foundation?
Bodhi Tree Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to bridge the rural-urban divide by empowering rural graduates, enabling them to become role models who can take charge of their lives and constructively contribute to the development of their communities through education, skills, opportunities and entrepreneurship. Bodhi Tree works primarily with first generation rural graduates to provide them with soft skills training, English language training, career mentorship and life management skills. Currently, Bodhi Tree reaches out to around 2400 rural graduates through its programs in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
What do we plan to do?
We plan to hold 5 residential-cum-mentorship programs for 1st generation rural graduates –all girls, from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu during the months of February and March 2019. Our 3 days program is focused on building their self- confidence, self-belief and social consciousness through activity based sessions. It aims to provide them an experience, something that is never forgotten. We get students from different colleges and different cultural background to create more learning through diversity and peer knowledge sharing. We broaden their vision and expose them to various opportunities they can pursue and help them make plans for their future. We also encourage them to dream for a better world for themselves and for their society.
Are you curious to know the journey of the changed girl that gave a TED talk at California? Here is the link: Brave Soul
As the founder of Bodhi Tree Foundation, Ms. Ashweetha Shetty says, “Growing up in rural India, and listening to the narratives of how unwanted a girl child is, how there is no expectations from a girl except growing up to be a presentable young woman who can get a decent spouse, I always felt the lack of a safe space for girls to express themselves and explore their talent and widen their horizons. Through Bodhi Tree Foundation’s initiative, we want to create a space for girls to be themselves, to claim their dreams and to shape their world.” While dealing with a sensitive topic like women empowerment, it is important that the money comes from sources without ulterior motives, so that the human and unbiased nature of the program remains intact. That is why we are reaching out to you, the public – the messenger of the cause.
5 reasons why you should donate us.
- To create a world where gender do not hinder one’s ability to aspire high and work towards reaching there- Believing themselves first.
- To generate super-high motivation, confidence, and awareness level for self and society.
- To give a direction to their vision and help them chart their own course of destiny.
- To expose them to unrestricted and unlimited learning opportunities.
- To help them connect and bond with their allotted Mentors.
How will the money be used?
No of Girl students in each program - 30
Amount spent per girl - INR 1500
Total amount per program- INR 45,000
- Venue Rent – INR 5,000
- Food – INR 15,000
- Travel Expenses – INR 8,000
- Stationery – INR 8,000
- Marketing Expenses – INR 4,000
- Miscellaneous overheads – INR 5,000
Total Crowd-funding Amount – INR 2,25,000
The good news is that Tirunelveli is a city with a sex-ratio of 1,027 females for every 1,000 males (according to 2011 census). So, there is no dearth of lives to touch.
Our Journeys so far…
Ashweetha is a Young India Fellow, an Acumen India Fellow, an Ashoka Youth Venturer and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. As a founder and CEO of Bodhi Tree Foundation, she believes that her life mission is bridging the rural urban divide by supporting local graduates to explore their full potential through education, skills and opportunities. She designs activity based intervention for rural youth to help achieve that mission. Before starting Bodhi Tree Foundation, Ashweetha worked as a Community Engagement Coordinator with SughaVazhvu Healthcare, which provides last-mile primary healthcare in rural India.
Kaviarasi – Director, Village Engagement Initiatives
Kaviarasi leads the village engagement initiatives of Bodhi Tree Foundation, handling establishment of Bodhi Tree centers, conducting workshops/sessions/events for the graduates at the center, driving entrepreneurial initiatives and implementing community projects. She works closely with the local communities to design meaningful interventions. Kaviarasi is a rural graduate from Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu who went on to pursue Young India Fellowship through the support and assistance of BTF. She is currently a Mother Teresa Fellow at Ashoka University.
Anitha – Director, Strategies and Operations
Anitha leads program design, strategy, communication, outreach and resource management at Bodhi Tree Foundation. She works with various stakeholders to improve and expand the outreach of BTF. Prior to joining BTF in 2018, Anitha spent 4.5 years in the private sector - as an a business consulting professional with Deloitte Consulting where she played the role of a subject matter expert on integrated eligibility systems in the public sector industry. Anitha was a part of Young India Fellowship cohort of 2018 and is currently a Mother Teresa Fellow at Center for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Ashoka University.
Praveena – Program Manager
Praveena comes with close to 4 years of work experience in the corporate IT sector as a senior developer and consultant. She has also worked with the government for a year as a part of the Indian Postal Service. Praveena handles the end to end on-ground design and execution of Residential Programs at Bodhi Tree Foundation. She works with various stakeholders to design specially curated in-residence programs for college youth with an objective to lay the foundation of future rural leaders who have a nuanced understanding of the confluence between social impact, society and self.
Ashoka Team - Project Coordinators
An enthusiastic group of 5 youngsters from Ashoka University pursuing Young India Fellowship 2019 and are associated with Bodhi Tree Foundation as a part of designing the Mentorship Program for Bodhi Tree students. They come from diverse field of specialization but have a common goal- To impact the lives of students at Tirunelveli through this project.
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