Think and Make Workshops, Feb-Apr 2019

The Vahani team embarked on an exciting program of Mentoring Workshops called "Think and Make" from February to April. Suitably conducted in the creative studio working space of The Hidden Gallery, Chattapur Delhi, Vahani Scholars and Mentors alike explored and discovered critical thinking and problem solving, through the art of making. Our interaction led to a lively discussion on the importance of AI and robotics today, highlighting just how surprisingly natural and indeed tantalisingly simple the technical advances truly are.

We were all enthralled at the prospect of being gifted 'Aladdin's Lamp', our interpretation of AI and dynamic robots. As we wrapped up the final workshops in Delhi, the team organised a session for the Vahani Mentors bringing the group together to discuss the feedback on the Vahani workshops and mentoring programme. The interaction awakened the creativity and almost childlike enthusiasm in the mentors themselves, as each one of them shared their ideas of recreating similar workshops with scholars in their individual cities. The Mentors tried their hand at Art on a Canvas which once completed looked like a masterpiece, good enough to frame and hang on the wall.

Vahani Get Together, January 2019

Our three batches came together for two days filled with fun, knowledge, bonding and inspiration. We were honored to have Dr. Unni Karunakara, Professor of Public Health at Yale and former head of Doctors Without Borders, and Dinesh Patnaik, Joint Secretary at Ministry Of External Affairs Government Of India as the guest speakers. The scholars learnt about the challenge and multidimensional role of someone who pursues humanitarian causes, challenging the status quo, and inculcating discipline and perseverance. By drawing examples from their personal lives, the guest speakers and board members imparted valuable lessons and philosophies.

The second half of the day focused on personal development, team building and leadership outdoor activities and a goal setting session. The scholars enjoyed playing cricket, table tennis and badminton, and left with memories that they will cherish forever. The evening culminated with karaoke, where the scholars showed their latest moves and belted out their favourite songs from the evergreen 80's to the recent popular numbers.

Vahani Scholarship Summer Workshop, June 2018

We held the annual Vahani workshop for three days at the end of June at Ansal University, Gurgaon. The theme this year was 'Aspire to Inspire: Be the Change', and the talks and events aimed to stimulate the scholars to think big, open their horizons and explore new topics. The topics of guest speakers ranged from Cyber Crime to Artificial Intelligence to Literature to Insurance, each talk providing a new perspective on the field, with entrepreneurs and successful leaders offering their unique experiences and outlooks. We also had important skill building sessions focused on mental well-being, career counselling and art/ creativity. The fun evening sessions of ice-skating, Dastangoi and dinners brought us together to connect on a more informal and personal level. This year was the first time we had scholars from three years and it was also the first time we asked each scholar to present. The topic was 'Doing Well While Doing Good' and we were amazed by the passion, intellect and drive with which each scholar spoke about their ambitions. We extend a very special thanks for Sheetal Ansal, Mike Knowles and team at Ansal University and to our mentors and guest speakers who made the event possible.

Vahani Get Together, December 2017

We closed 2017 with a memorable event that drew the current Vahani scholars and mentors together for two nights. We were honoured to have Arianna Huffington, Founder of Huffington Post and Founder and CEO of Thrive Global, as our guest speaker who spoke about the importance of improving wellbeing alongside performance, drawing examples from her personal life.

We were inspired by the Vahani scholars who gave eloquent presentations on their internship experiences and guided the junior scholars on the significance of work experience. Mike Knowles and his family provided us with a creative outlet for expression through a design workshop composed of designing chairs, creating graphic novels and fashion design. Following lunch at Shalini and Rajeev’s beautiful farmhouse, we went go-karting which involved a lot of cheering and crashing into rubber tyres!

We loved being together and look forward to strengthening these bonds further in 2018.

Vahani Scholarship Workshop, June 2017

We held our inaugural Vahani workshop in June and were delighted to welcome the new 2017 scholars into the family. The theme this year was ‘Building Leaders in a Changing World’. The workshop was a terrific success. Held over three days, we had a multi-disciplinary group of inspiring, humble and successful speakers who are pushing boundaries in their fields of work. We also hadworkshops to build leadership and management skills and sessions to build confidence and creativity. Most importantly, we ended the day with entertaining activities like bowling, museum visits and dinners. We enjoyed bringing together mentors, first and second year scholars, and inspiring role models, and in the process, cementing old and new relationships. A big thank you to all of those who dedicated their time, warmth, and care to the event. A particular thank you to Sheetal Ansal, Mike Knowles and Dr. Kamlesh Mishra for hosting us.

Visit to the Taj Mahal, January 2017

On 7th January 2017, Vahani family and friends went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Rashmani kindly let the Vahani scholars stay at her lovely home and they were up all night in excitement of being together after so long. Despite a sleepless night, the excitement of seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time and being around friends meant everyone was in high spirits. We were joined by Reeva’s three friends who had studied at Oxford University with her. We left no time to waste and turned the bus journey into a mini dance off, teaching Bollywood dancing to Reeva’s friends. At the Taj Mahal, we had a guide explain the history and architecture behind the enchanting monument. The beauty of the Taj encapsulated us all and we were immune to the overflowing crowd. We came back in high spirits with closer bonds from an educational and memorable trip.

Vahani Scholarship Workshop, June 2016

The Vahani team including scholars, mentors and board members were brought together from the 11th to 13th June 2016 at the Sushant School of Design, Ansal University. It was a fantastic event that included talks from inspirational figures, skill-building workshops, fun activities and a final surprise play and dance from the scholars themselves. The aim was to build relations between Vahani members and prepare the scholars for university in non-academic skills such as leadership, public speaking and creative thinking.

It was a packed three days that consisted of talks from members of the Vahani team - Reeva, Rohan, Rajeev, Rashmani, and Mike. We also had guest speakers Jaishree Misra, who gave a creative writing workshop and Swapan Seth, who offered his advice on personal development. On Friday night, we visited the Shiv Nadar Museum of Art and had dinner at Mike and Preeti Knowles’ home. On Saturday, we saw Abhimanyu at the Kingdom of Dreams. We were thrilled at the end, when the scholars performed a surprise performance that represented their feelings of the workshop and left us feeling very united. It epitomised the creativity, leadership and self-initiative that we want to foster.

A big thank you to Mike Knowles, his team and Sheetal Ansal for hosting us.

Inaugural Event, May 2015

Vahani Scholarship held an inaugural event on Saturday 23rd May. The event was done to unite educationalists and delve deeper into how we can best implement our scheme. With support from over 64 participants, the inaugural event was a huge success.

Guests heard Rajeev and Reeva Misra speak about why the scholarship began, its goals, and how this mission is to be carried out. They called on guests to club together their expertise for scalable improvement of the education of children and the rising inequality our country faces.

A panel discussion, moderated by Rajeev Misra, was formed by Padmashree Dr. Uma Tuli (Founder, Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust), Ms. Vanita Uppal OBE (Principal, British School), and Mr. Swapan Seth (ad guru, author, columnist). The discussion was opened to guests and we received some fantastic advice from the floor.

We are extremely thankful to the British Council and Marta and Robert Lynes for hosting us at their home. Thank you also to the guests whose active participation and on going support will help the scholarship flourish.