NIRMAN has developed a unique educational process to systematically cultivate young social leadership from the selected students/professionals.
As part of the NIRMAN educational process, each batch of around 75 selected youth goes through a series of 3 residential camps that are organized once in every 6 months. Each camp is of about 8 - 10 days, conducted at Shodhgram, Gadchiroli and the series continues for one year. Participants from different regional, economic and academic backgrounds add depth and breadth to this process. Along with the camps, study visits, educative sessions, reading assignments, internships, fellowships, individual mentoring, group actions and various other activities are carried out. They help sensitize the youth towards societal challenges through exposure and experience. In this intermediate period between the camps, the participants keep in touch with each other and build further understanding of social issues through self-initiation and self-learning activities.
Before the Camps - Selection Process:
The participants aspiring to join NIRMAN have to fill up an introspective questionnaire (application form) which includes questions regarding their values, goals in life, personality characteristics, decisions, interaction with social realities, etc. Based on the applications, the participants are screened for personal interviews.
NIRMAN Expanse – Present Status:
Currently (Aug 2016) enrollment for the seventh batch of NIRMAN is going on. Through past 6 batches, a total of ~700 youth are associated with NIRMAN. Geographically spread, these youth are from 31 out of the 35 districts in Maharashtra. Education wise, there are around 290 doctors, 195 engineers and a mix of lawyers, journalists, filmmakers, teachers, farmers, science-arts-commerce graduates, etc. There is a 60:40 male/female gender ratio.
After the Camps – Starting Their Work:
After having gone through the NIRMAN process of camps, the participants commonly develop/decide on their area of interest for social contribution. Frequent discussions are carried out with the NIRMAN team and various resource persons to develop clarity regarding the individual’s prospective work domain, area, role and problem definition, organizational and financial aspects so that person specific edu-action plan is chalked out.
The participants who have graduated and want to start working, generally take up one of the following five work options:
- Be a social entrepreneur and start one’s own venture
- Work with different non-profit organizations with an explicit social mission
- Join the government system and serve the people
- Avail certain fellowships to work on a definite project and
- Work in the private sector and contribute part time for some social cause
As of August 2016, around 120 NIRMAN youth are working full time on specific social challenges in different parts of Maharashtra. Their work domains can be broadly classified as:
- Energy and Environment
- Development and Governance
These young motivated people exhibit the spirit of NIRMAN in their life choices and professional actions, daily! The various problems they have chosen to work on include topics like rural electrification, watershed development, waste management, providing health services in remote rural and tribal areas, improving the implementation of employment guarantee scheme, building a business model to spread books and reading culture in the rural area, research on chronic diseases and malaria, telemedicine, research on cattle breeds to improve farmers’ productivity, employment initiatives in rural and slum areas, brain based education, organic farming, environmental impact assessment, etc.
Every year, more and more participants join this league and their collective reach, variety and depth is increasing. NIRMAN is developing its advanced educational process for this pool of young change agents to further build their effectiveness and world view.