In the arid rural areas of Maharashtra plagued by frequent droughts, girls and young women often suffer from limited access to quality education due to many reasons, including financial constraints. It is here that a ground-breaking youth development project has been making waves.
The ‘Champions Youth Development’ programme, a collaboration between RYTHM Foundation and Mann Deshi Foundation, has emerged as a beacon of hope for these girls and young women. The programme recently bagged the Bronze Award at the prestigious 10th CSR Times Awards, 2023, to under the category – “Women Empowerment, Corporate Foundation Sector”.
Launched in 2019, the programme has had a transformative impact, as it combines education, hands-on learning, personal growth and athletic training. A wide gamut of courses, such as self-defence, storytelling, English proficiency, driving proficiency and interview preparedness, are offered. The programme provides an extensive array of training and support services aimed at nurturing self-awareness and boosting confidence. It places a significant focus on achieving high academic standards, preserving physical well-being, refining personality development, besides creating employment opportunities.
For the RYTHM Foundation, the initiative goes beyond mere financial support. The Foundation has helped establish five ‘Mann Deshi Champions Centres’ at Mhaswad, Dahiwadi, Atpadi, Aundh and Dighanchi. So far, more than 800 girls have already benefited from these centres, and of these 30 have broken the proverbial glass ceiling to secure jobs in law enforcement. Several beneficiaries are employed either at entry or mid-level positions in many private and public sector undertakings.
Watch a video of the impact this project has created:
“This initiative is not merely a project. It’s a catalyst for change, nurturing self-reliance and igniting a brighter future for these young women. We could not be prouder of their and our partnership’s accomplishments,” says Santhi Periasamy, head of RYTHM Foundation. Read about this award-winning project in the media circles.
With RYTHM’s support, the programme has boosted not just academic performance, but also athletic performance, with beneficiaries excelling in sports as well. Beyond the basics, it included hands-on cultural trips, introduced them to science and technology, and helped participants set personal goals and improve their leadership skills through assessments and expert talks. RYTHM and Mann Deshi’s guidance aimed to help participants break free from poverty and gender inequalities, empowering them to confidently pursue better futures and contribute to their communities. This collaboration goes beyond just helping individuals, as it challenges norms and promotes sustainable development.
RYTHM Foundation, the social impact arm of the QI Group, operates with a mission to make a lasting difference in underserved communities across India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Their work aligns with several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Education for All (SDG 4), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Reducing Inequalities (SDG 10), and strengthening Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).
RYTHM Foundation’s collaboration with the Mann Deshi Foundation in rural Maharashtra stands as a shining example of how dedicated efforts can empower individuals and uplift communities. By addressing the complex interplay of limited opportunities, gender inequalities and social issues, this partnership has initiated transformative change. Through education, personal development and athletic training, it has unlocked a brighter future for young women in an otherwise challenging environment, offering them the chance to contribute positively to their families and communities.