Help Me Fund My Education! | Milaap
Help Me Fund My Education!
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    Ushma Goswami

    from Chandigarh, Chandigarh


I am Ushma Goswami. Thank you for taking the time out to read my story and for your interest in helping me fulfil my academic aspirations.

I am starting this fundraiser for my Masters's degree in Public Policy from Hertie School of Governance in Germany. I have been given a partial scholarship by the school. However, the remaining tuition amount is still quite huge for me to afford. Having approached the banks already and been told that they cannot help me owing to a lack of collateral, I am seeking your aid in funding a part of my tuition amount. Whatever little savings I have will go into visa requirements for Germany, which requires me to put about INR 9 Lakh in a blocked account. For living expenses, I will work part-time in Berlin. Knowing that there are a lot of other individuals in our country who are dealing with worse situations, I only seek funding from you for my urgent need.

About Me:
Coming from a traditional family where education for girls was considered an end to better marriage prospects, my parents defied the norms and moved nearly 500kms away from our ancestral home in Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh) to Chandigarh for my education. Thus, from a young age, I devoted myself to my studies to ensure my parent's sacrifices do not go in vain.

Having studied in a government school all my life, I have always been passionate about understanding the socio-economic hurdles impeding the access of vulnerable communities to opportunities and basic facilities in India. I topped the Chandigarh-Panchkula-Mohali region in 2011 in Humanities and went on to study Political Science at Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi to understand the domestic and global governance systems.

Working for Community:
After completing my Masters in the same discipline, I wanted to use my education to bring change at the grassroot level and went to work in villages of Karnataka as an SBI (State Bank of India) Youth for India Fellow. Combining the themes of sanitation and women empowerment, I worked on the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission with two panchayats. Through extensive IEC campaigning on sanitary practices, I mobilised women self-help groups and youth groups to be the flagbearers of my intervention.

I had to troubleshoot multiple operational hurdles to drive my intervention, such as learning the local language (Kannada) for community engagement and starting a ‘sanitation loan’ in partnership with the State Bank of India to facilitate toilet construction for low-income households. While not a single toilet had been constructed in the area between 2014-2016, I got 81 toilets completed in 2017 and it was declared open defecation free in 2018.

You can check my fellowship work here:
Since then, I have worked in diverse professional roles which are a testament to my commitment towards community-driven projects and designing high-impact policy interventions to resolve multifaceted socio-economic challenges. Since January 2020, I have been working as a Governance Fellow in Punjab. Last year while the whole world was under lockdown, I worked on the frontline with Health Department in designing covid protocols and managing the state covid management information system (MIS) — COVA. I created modules for hospital management, positive and death case entry, and contact tracing. Further, during the second COVID wave in April-May 2021, I assisted people in finding oxygen and hospital beds in Punjab, mobilizing my alumni networks to put relevant information on social media. It was an extremely stressful time for me as my work exposed me and my family to COVID. However, my efforts got validated when the data trends provided by COVA enormously helped the decision-makers in issuing prompt policy directives and the MIS got appreciation at the national level. Additionally, I have drafted the Punjab State Data Policy which seeks to leverage administrative data as a powerful tool for socio-economic development by promoting evidence-based decision making in the state.

What do I intend to do?
Through my education, I seek to learn assessment methodologies to supplement my existing knowledge. From my experience, I have learned that while it is important to come up with new ideas to resolve socio-economic development challenges facing our country, it is equally important to assess how these ideas perform once put into action. The lack of adequate monitoring mechanisms and unbridled corruption have impeded the benefits from reaching the targeted groups and allowed misallocation of public funds. After my education, I seek to work with government agencies and leading development-sector organisations on designing grassroot interventions for sustainable development in India. With inclusion and accessibility to resources as the core focus, my exposure to tenets of policy formulation and evaluation methodologies will be instrumental in assessing the on-ground performance of state welfare measures and community-driven solutions.

Your Support:
Two years back I had gotten admission for a Master's at Johns Hopkins University in the United States and received partial funding. However, I could not afford the remaining funding and did not get any support from banks. Thus, I had to withdraw my admission at the eleventh hour!

Again, I find myself in a similar situation and your support can help me not to give up this time and realise my dreams. Please share the link with individuals/trusts who you believe can help me out. All contributions are welcome. Thank you!

For more information or any clarification, you can reach out to me at

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