Sarthak Mentoring Program is a one-to-one mentorship program with an aim to reach out to the young minds in the remotest parts of the country. It was initiated with a vision to decrease the gap between the urban and the rural India in terms of education opportunities, skills and aspirations. It has been observed that the students in the rural areas are deprived of so many important opportunities just because of the family they were born in, known as the ‘lottery of birth’, which later on impacts the educational, social and economic outcomes of these people. A need for sustainable response to these disparities was felt by the founder Abhijeet Anand and Nishitha Boda, which gave rise to this idea of deeper relationship between the students/mentees and the mentors which is not only focused on career counseling but also on building oneself, their skill sets, their talents and most importantly journeying together, learning from each other. It is a volunteer led and volunteer managed program. Sarthak has empowered 90+ future leaders from 4 states of India since 2017.
The mentees are the young aspiring minds from remote towns and villages of India, usually between the age of 9-16 years who are motivated and wants to build India’s future. They are selected on the basis of their family background and their zeal for their future. They have to go through different selection processes and interactions so that their journey so far can be understood and to ensure whether they are actually ready to go that extra mile. The mentors are individuals who are experienced in their careers and have achieved success in their lives. They also go through two rounds of interview and are chosen on the basis of their vision and passion for building the young minds of the country. Since 2017, Sarthak has worked with 50+ mentors from 21 Indian states and 5 countries (India, Romania, Australia, Italy and Norway.)
The mentors and the mentees are paired on the basis of their interests, hobbies and career choices. Once paired they journey together to understand and find a direction towards the mentee’s aim with the help of a structured curriculum. Sarthak Mentoring Program’s curriculum not only focuses on career but also on self-awareness regarding strengths and weaknesses, skills and passion. It also looks at communication skills - both intra- and interpersonal, story telling and meditation. Sarthak attempts not only to make the mentees intellectually informed but also emotionally and spiritually. Supporting them in connecting within and understanding themselves is one of Sarthak’s endeavors.
‘Sarthak-U was the first initiative of Sarthak mentoring program, started in Nov 2017. It aimed to connect the needful students of the society to the people who envision to build a sustainable society. The objective was to bridge the gap of exposure to a student in a distant village to that of a student in a town/city. This enabled a student from a village to overcome the hurdles of mis-information, lack of guidance and resources to lead the journey of both inner and outer exploration.
This program enabled every student to dare to dream and go for it with abundant support and care from the mentor. 10 mentees were selected from a suburb, Jamalpur in Bihar for the first cohort. 10 passionate mentors from across the country with varied backgrounds joined this initiative. The mentees were students of 9-12 standard classes. Mentor-mentee profiles were mapped according to career aspirations, skills, common interests and hobbies. There were challenges as the mode of communication was remote but we paved our way through digital technology.
Our mentees have continually excelled in the Board examinations, Engineering entrance examinations and other competitive examinations through our guided efforts.
Sarthak-I got the inspiration from institutions like IIT Super 30 which provides free education to students from needful sections of the society so that they can get into top engineering colleges in the country. But apart from the technical education these students also needed constant support, care and guidance in order to stay motivated.
In Feb 2018, Sarthak introduced 12 enthusiastic volunteers from IIT(ISM) Dhanbad to 30 mentees of CSRL Assam Super 30. With their genuine support and mentorship, 4 mentees made it to IIT while 12 others made it to NIT. Not only the technical education but investing in personal development, nurturing oneself and striving to be a better individual by building character helps in leadership abilities in order to lead life purposefully.
Super Mentor Program
02 Feb 2019, a new communication platform was launched named “Super Mentor Program – Inspire, Mentor, Empower”, where leading innovators, thinkers and doers of the country got connected with the change-makers/mentors of Sarthak team. The mentors were young professionals from across India and outside who spent 1-2 hours a week mentoring the students from needful backgrounds especially from remote areas. And Super Mentors were the mentors to Sarthak’s group of mentors and supported them in shaping the future of India.
Sarthak believes in the ideology that a country will flourish if each individual takes the responsibility to share their knowledge and wisdom gained through experience to the younger generation, to care for them and to be committed to support the other in their journey.
Learning from 2 years of experiments impacting lives of 50+ kids with 35+ mentors until 2019, Sarthak mentoring program entered a new phase of structured mentoring program with the efforts of the amazing volunteers in the program.
We created a unique and research based mentoring curriculum to improve engagement between the mentors and mentees and help us make definitive improvement on overall personality development of the mentees.
2020 has been a special year for Sarthak as it could expand its reach to yet another region of the country i.e. Ladakh. Being one of the remotest parts of the country, Ladakh remains disconnected almost 6 months from the mainland India and lacks a lot of opportunities. Even though the young minds are overly active and responsive, they still miss out on a lot of exposure. So, starting a new cohort in Ladakh was a need. The first cohort has 10 students from different parts of Ladakh and are being mentored by 5 Ladakhi and 5 non-Ladakhi mentors. Even though the mentor-mentee pair are in constant touch, every month a collective call is conducted through different thematic events to bring all the mentors and mentees together to reconnect and re-inspire each other, to have fun and learn together. Today, we are proud to share that Sarthak Mentoring is fueling dreams of the kids from the remotest part of the country i.e. Ladakh.