Piramal Foundation aims to bring big 'social change' through Gandhi Fellowship

Piramal Foundation for Education Leadership (PFEL), the philanthropic arm of Piramal Group, has said it is aiming to bring "large scale social and public systems change" through its Gandhi Fellowship programme that shapes leadership skills of youth.

Started in 2008 by the PFEL, Gandhi Fellowship is a two-year residential programme in transformation leadership for graduates and above under which fellows are assigned to work in different districts and mentored in becoming social change.

"Till now a total of 742 Gandhi Fellows are supported by us and we have a target of supporting 7,000 by 2025 with an aim to impact a million lives," Piramal Foundation chief executive Aditya Natraj said here.

'Gandhi Fellows' during their two-year fellowship support the headmasters and teachers of government schools in rural areas and help them build their capacity, overcome school-related challenges, increase student enrolment, improve the mid-day meal system, mobilise community participation, etc.

One of the Gandhi Fellows, Patitapaban Choudhury, conceptualised the idea of 'No Bag Day' with an objective "to create a space for channelising the energy of children by opportunity to express one's own thoughts. On 'No Bag Day', these children do not carry their school bag.

The idea of 'No Bag Day' gave children an opportunity to create their own stories and poems and write an incident which students like or dislike. This helped in improving self expression and creativity among children.

With positive results, the idea was implemented in in neighbouring districts and till now a total of 5,220 children from 46 government schools have been impacted.