I have recently been admitted to the Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) International Educational Development program at the University of Pennsylvania. I seek your help to meet the fees as I have limited financial means to get there. As listed on the website, the expected cost of the 12-month program (tuition + living) is USD 103,284 = INR 75,39,732 (USD 1 = INR 73). Through personal funds and a loan (against no collateral) I have raised USD 29,850 = INR 21,79,050. Little by little, I am hopeful that with your support I would be able to meet the remaining costs.
Who am I?
I am a 29-year-old female higher education professional, architect and design journalist.
At age 7, I visited Sevagram in Wardha, Maharashtra where my grandparents were volunteering to promote ‘Nai Talim’—a pedagogical principle that promotes lifelong learning through work. Here, I was exposed to students from marginalized groups in India and I learned that good education and mentorship could be life changing. The power of communities and sustainable living stayed with me and guided my schooling and education in architecture, design and the built environment.
I was deeply interested in designing spaces and environments that could foster learning and promote creativity. My undergraduate studies trained me to be a specialist and created a gap between classroom knowledge and its practical application. As a practicing architect struggling to design new-age spaces, I realized how outdated my traditional design education had been. I wanted to redo my formal education with a broader, updated curriculum and Anant Fellowship gave me that. The pedagogy balanced theoretical understanding and its implementation and it was here that my views on comprehensive education expanded. I also discovered the power of peer learning and mentorship. I worked closely with an interdisciplinary and culturally diverse cohort, local administrative bodies and community stakeholders to address real life problems through design and policy interventions. I became convinced that improvements in Indian institutions were possible. My career goals shifted and my journey in higher education began.
First, on Naropa Fellowship (An academic program for students from Ladakh and other Himalayan regions, empowering them to contribute to the development of the Himalayan region.) and now at Anant National University (A design focused university delivering an inclusive pedagogy and interdisciplinary education that is socially engaged.) For the past three years, I have been working in education for development in India. I have worked across various functions: curriculum and pedagogy, academic planning as well as university administration and operations.
I am brimming with ideas to drive change and am eager to unearth clarity to move forward and I have the opportunity to train myself at the world’s best school for my field of study. The program at Penn GSE will train me to view education, its challenges and potentials as a whole and help me bring a systemic change in marginalized and developing education systems.
I aim to return to India to advance the quality of education, design educational spaces that are more inclusive and accessible and work towards improving enrollment in higher education institutions. This is my first attempt at applying for a master’s degree abroad and this experience will be essential in helping me create a foundation in education and work towards an interdisciplinary PhD.
Why do I need support?
My offer letter arrived on 01 June 2021. Deadlines for university scholarships and external funding options preceded my offer. I requested for School level funding but that is unavailable and unfortunately, there will be no deferrals granted this year as per Penn policy.
I never had the courage to consider education abroad as my family would not be able to take on this financial burden as we are recovering from previous debts. I am hopeful that through your support, this opportunity to study at my dream school materializes.
I have raised some funds to meet a third of the expenses (USD 29,850 = INR 21,79,050) through personal funds and a loan (against no collateral).
How can you help?
I have come this far only because of the power of quality education, grants and a powerful social support network that ensured no financial pressure ever suppressed my dreams.
I am using crowdfunding to reach out to you because I have run out of options to pay for this opportunity. Any amount helps and I would be grateful if you spread this campaign through your network.
If there is anything I can share, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org