Kashmir to London School of Economics | Milaap
Kashmir to London School of Economics
of Rs.30,00,000
142 supporters
  • Ifra

    Created by

    Ifra Shah
  • I

    This fundraiser will benefit


    from Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

From Kashmir to the London School of Economics and Political Science

I am Ifra Shah, one of the few female computer science engineers from the beautiful valley of Kashmir. In recent years, I have gone through a fundamental shift about my role and responsibilities as a human being and what it means to be a contributing member of society. This is my journey and I invite you to join me in my quest for helping develop tangible change.

Kashmir is a natural paradise that has been plagued by decades of conflict, unrest and underdevelopment with an ever-dwindling sense of hope. My academic journey was bound to feel the effects and in fact I lost four years of school and college due to the on-going political discord, chaos and disruption. The psychological and emotional trauma that follows is difficult to articulate. As young adults, we don’t know if we will make it to our next class, let alone have the opportunity to hug our mothers, one last time. Add to this a complete lockdown on communications where the Internet and mobile phone services are randomly and frequently shut down for extended periods of time.

Recently, Kashmir endured the longest Internet shutdown in any democracy on this planet. To this day, there is no high-speed Internet access and it continues to be shut down. Forget TikTok or Facebook, I can’t reliably let my loved ones know that I am okay. I had to travel a 1000 km to the capital, just to complete video interviews and to reliably dispatch paperwork for my graduate degree applications.

In a few short years of finishing my schooling and then Bachelors of Science in Computer Science, I realized the massive mismanagement of affairs in all domains of politics, administration, society, education, economics and governance. All this, all at once, in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, It simply did not compute.

Fighting the status quo, I emerged inspired and motivated to be an agent of change, to directly contribute to the development of the region. I started working with various NGOs, helping the distressed, including duties with an International Human Rights organization.

I took an active role in furthering the education of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and much more. The years of instability have seen many innocent and pointless casualties. I started to comprehend and realize that my life needs to have a different mission - I decided to pursue the field of public policy.

The enormous gap between policy formulation and implementation became painfully clear to me as I was graduating with an engineering degree. This clarity got me engaged in actively thinking and pursuing the dynamics of public policy. My view from behind an engineering lens made me realize the importance of sound public policy and its nuanced and far-reaching effects.

The need to uphold fairness, equity and justice resonated with my inner beliefs and my voice started to speak the words of the many. This has become my mission, I must stand for what is right, just and fair. I must help formulate, implement and continually tweak policy to constantly and consistently help develop a better, more sustainable future for the masses.

Specifically, I plan on starting with the state of education in Kashmir. I believe it to be the most important and empowering tool available to society. Every child deserves an opportunity to learn and grow and I am determined to make that happen. I have the clarity and determination, I now need the global-thinking, skillset and experience to bring about real and meaningful change in public policy.

Fighting my way through local hardships, gender restrictions, politics and countless logistical and communication hurdles, I have gained admission in the Graduate Degree Program for Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). A chance to learn and study Public Administration at the prestigious LSE will provide me with the necessary tools and skills to engage and contribute to my home region.

As a result of the on-going global pandemic, many of the scholarships I applied for have been cancelled. This resulted in a huge shortfall and I am now unable to pay for my first year of graduate studies. The mission is too important and the cost of failure, too high. I have set aside what is perceived as good and proper (for women from my region) and I am directly and publicly asking for your help.

I have an opportunity to learn from the best minds in public policy and I will not squander it or let you down. Generations have been lost in the struggle and I am determined to break the chain and with your help, my efforts, my commitment and my promise, I will do everything possible to bring peace, economic growth and hope back to my home.

My offer letter from the London School of Economics and verification documents are included below.

LSE has advised me that my expenses for the two-year program will be:
Tuition: 25,368 GPB/year
Living Expenses: 1,300 GBP/month

Please help me as little or as much as you can. I am standing on the shoulders of hope, because at the end of the day, that is all we have. Thank you for taking time to read my story, it starts with what you just did - listening.
I have clear-line-of-sight to learn public policy and make it my career.  Please be part of my desire, journey and success.  I promise you to make you part of my journey and contribute to successes of many future individual and collective endeavours.

Please stay tuned, I will continually post my progress through my graduate program at LSE, you will always be able to track what your contribution started.

Thank you.

It gives us tremendous joy and hope to support the fundraising appeal by Ifra Shah. As one of our brightest stars, Ifra has been accepted into the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) for studies in Public Policy.

Ifra has the passion, perseverance and propensity to emerge as a distinctive leader in the field of public policy and her time at LSE will arm her with the necessary skills and know-how.

Join us in contributing towards Ifra's educational expenses and help develop a future leader. A Kashmiri Public Policy Leader.

Altaf Lal (Kashmiri American, Atlanta, USA)
Yunis Fazili (Kashmiri American, Houston, USA)
Mubarak Hussain Syed (Kashmiri American, New Mexico, USA)
Khurshid Guru (Kashmiri American, Buffalo, USA)
Bilal Mailik (Kashmiri American, New York, USA)
Zeinab Drabu (British Kashmiri, LSE Alumni)

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