• UST-Vidyadhan scholarships doubles sponsorship budget, expands to more states
Thiruvananthapuram: Taking a giant step forward in its commitment to transform lives through education, digital transformations solutions company UST has doubled its sponsorship budget to Vidyadhan Program, to cover additional students from four new states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharashtra, besides Kerala. A memorandum of understanding has been signed between UST and Vidyadhan in this regard to double the sponsorship budget.
Vidyadhan is a Shibulal Family Philanthropic initiative under the aegis of Sarojini Damodaran Foundation, set up by Kumari Shibulal and S D Shibulal. The UST – Vidyadhan partnership started in 2018 with scholarship support for 100 engineering students from Kerala and has grown in strength year after year. UST has so far sponsored 306 students under Vidyadhan. Among the 102 UST-supported students who have graduated, 61 percent have found employment in various companies and institutions, 10 percent have chosen higher studies, and 15 percent are preparing for competitive exams.
The road ahead for Vidyadhan has been well charted, with more corporate sponsorships and more states being added under its purview. Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammed Khan, will inaugurate a one-day event, “Partnerships For Social Impact” on October 8, 2022, Saturday, at Hotel O by Tamara in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The one-day event will have the participation of Vidyadhan stakeholders and beneficiaries sharing their thoughts on the prestigious program.
Post-pandemic, the challenges faced by the Pan-India Vidyadhan scholarship programme made it envisage modifying operations and seek renewed commitments from partners. It is in this context UST, who has been partnering with the programme for the past four years, decided to step up its involvement and further enhance its commitment to the programme.
According to Alexander Varghese, Chief Operating Officer, UST, “The UST-Vidyadhan journey rides on the commitment towards transforming lives through education. We had been partnering with Vidyadhan since year 2018, offering financial scholarship support to engineering students from Kerala. The numbers have grown over the years. This apart, the UST CSR team has been offering mentoring and training to selected students too. The partnership will now be strengthened and more students from different parts of India will be provided with the opportunity to continue their studies in a hassle-free manner.”
Kumari Shibulal, Managing Trustee, Sarojini Damodaran Foundation stated, “Vidyadhan is not just a program, but an idea that every individual can make a difference. It’s the responsibility of every citizen, corporate and social sector organization to create opportunities for the youth from economically backward families. It is a journey that is best traversed together, and in UST we have found a dependable and like-minded partner who stepped up its commitment post pandemic.”
Vidyadhan follows a rigorous selection process including test, interviews and home visits to pick meritorious students hailing from financially backward families right after their 10th grade. A unique aspect of Vidyadhan scholarships is that the entire sponsorship money goes to the students chosen.
UST has also been contributing in non-financial ways to the Vidyadhan program, through its participation in the selection processes, mentoring and training. One such successful initiative has been the Chrysalis Program, an Employability Soft Skill Training provided by UST for final-year degree students.
S D Shibulal, Trustee, Sarojini Damodaran Foundation stated, “As we scaled Vidyadhan, now present in 14 states, we realized that it is important to bring in partnerships. These partnerships are not only about sponsorships, they are also about mentorship and creating opportunities for employment. Notably, the students who were mentored and sponsored by UST are getting 3 times the scholarship amount as their first year’s salary, thereby also pulling their respective families out of the poverty trap.”
Pushing forward the new MoU, UST and Vidyadhan will also chart out a detailed plan for soft skills training for students so that such training is extended to more and more students.