Hello! I am Vara Raturi, a 22 year old theatre artist and a student of Literature and Culture. I recently completed my BA in English Literature & Philosophy from Sophia College for Women in Mumbai, and have received the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study at one of the world's topmost institutions: the University of Cambridge. Unfortunately, the international student fee is really high, and there is no way I can afford it. I had made it to the final rounds of two international scholarships and was hopeful that one of them would support me, but sadly, that did not work out. I lost out on the applications of other possible applications because some were cancelled due to the pandemic. However, since this really is an opportunity that doesn't come easily, I don't want to give up on it. So this is me persevering!
I have always made a point to be self-reliant, and I work hard not to add to my family's financial pressures. Even as a teenager, I found various ways to utilize my skills and fund my own endeavours. If there's anything I have learnt, it is that perseverance is truly key, and I wish to apply that learning to work creatively towards social justice despite the many hurdles I might face. In addition to my academic work, all my projects in the theatre are aligned with humanitarian issues. My published work as a writer has also focused on the socio-political realities of our world, and I constantly try to apply my energies, talent and skills to movements that work for the elimination of inequality and disenfranchisement, and I am deeply committed to continue this work. Education in Cambridge will deepen my engagement in the arts, and will also position me to engage more proactively with the social issues of the world. I will be able to apply the critical theory I learn in academia to the real-time practice of culture I get to partake in as a theatre artist.
Here's what my plan for the future looks like: After completing this MPhil in English Studies: Criticism and Culture from Cambridge, I want to pursue a PhD within Cultural Studies and continue my two-fold path of research and performing art. My research interests are formed through my intersecting experiences within academia and theatre, and will be focused on cultural resistance, art as a tool of dissent, cultural diplomacy and more. My work is and will always be informed by the feminist and anti-caste movement. You can find out more about my work through this link: https://linktr.ee/vara_raturi.
If you can help me out by contributing, or by sharing this fundraiser with people who can afford to help me, please do so. It would really mean a lot!
The university requires me to send them a financial statement - that I can afford the tuition and living expenses there, which amount to Rs.40,17,000. The last date to provide them with a financial statement is 31st July, for which I would need to get the funds together by the 21st of July. Here is a breakdown of the expenses (I have also attached screenshots of the offer letter):
- International Student Tuition Fee: 27,516 GBP (Rs. 28,35,288)
- Student Maintenance for 1 year: 11,123 GBP (Rs. 11,46,121)
- Non-UK Settling in support: 350 GBP (Rs. 35,000)
The total amount comes to: 38,989 GBP or Rs. 40,17,452. I would also like to point out that the University of Cambridge has strict rules prohibiting its full-time students to work during their term-time. Therefore, it requires its offer-holders to showcase in advance that they can afford the living expenses in addition to the tuition. Moreover, the University also does not allow its offer-holders to defer their offers to the next year!