Vahani Get Together, January 2020
The warmest eve of the season by far was the winter workshop, where 60 Vahani scholars and 16 mentors came together to spend an exciting day in New Delhi. The highlights of the workshop were: The much-awaited prize for the social media campaign which went to 2017 Scholar Malika Goyal, for her outstanding posts, content and media coverage. We look forward to arranging her trip to London this year! The Instagram team - scholars Swati, Hinga, Malika and Roma, received special prizes for creating a wonderful Instagram page, keeping it interesting, engaging and updated throughout the year. The prizes do not end here, The runners up for the social media competition Scholars Preet, Prashika and Alumni Ritu won a special meal meet-up with any one of the leading entrepreneurs from our country. Exciting! We were honoured to have two great speakers, Ms Urvashi Butalia, who is well known for her work in the women's movement of India, as well as for authoring books like the path-breaking The Other Side of Silence: Voices from and the Partition of India and Speaking Peace: Women's Voices from Kashmir. In an hour-long talk, she shed light on the MeToo movement and emphasised gender sensitivity along with the need to update the existing laws to protect women.
Our second speaker was Mr Ashutosh Misra, who is also a Vahani mentor. He largely covered the basic guidelines to follow during an internship and discussed first-hand issues which an intern might face and how to deal with it. It was interesting to see Scholars Preet and Hmanshi come forward to share their experience and learning from their past summer internships. After a quick lunch break, the Vahani mentors took a short session with the scholars introducing themselves and setting mentorship goals for the coming year, which was predominantly to get the scholars to read more. On that note, we had the English Vinglish Program Director Veena Sethi, who generously gifted the scholars' dozens of books and movie CDs ranging from old classics to recent bestsellers.
As the evening progressed it was time for the most engaging activity of the day the Scavenger Hunt. Very well prepared and organised by our CEO Reeva Misra and the youngest mentor Roshni Misra, the game was thoroughly enjoyed by all and, the winning team received a prize. The evening unfurled into a farewell party, we had Mr Anurag sing live songs and the scholars danced as he played the lastest dance numbers. We bid goodbye and the scholars departed with gifts from our CEO, with a promise to make most of the opportunities in 2020 and meet up next at the summer workshop.
Vahani Summer Workshop, July 2019
The theme of our workshop, "Success: from a dream to reality", led to a series of thought evoking discussions on the meaning of success. Joining us were the newly selected 2019 batch of scholars, who surprised everyone with their confidence and curiosity. The senior scholars diligently helped the new ones make the most of the experience by creating an environment of care and growth. For three days we were transported to a world of blue-sky thinking, with a variety of outstanding panel discussions, dinners, outdoor activities and personal development workshops.
The panels of speakers were woven together in a concerted manner so that each session transpired towards each individual's path to success. We enjoyed Ashish Kashyap, Founder INDWealth, Ankit Nagori, Founder CureFit, and Ananth Narayanan, ex-CEO Myntra, speaking on 'Shaking up Industry Norms' moderated by Rajeev Misra. This was followed by a heartfelt and interactive panel with authors Shilpa Raj and Varsha Adusmilli speaking on 'Inspiring Change through Self-Empowerment' moderated by Mariya Ansari. Dinner was hosted at The Quorum where the scholars got an opportunity to interact with all the speakers informally as well.
Day two was hosted at WeWork India headquarters in Gurugram. The day began with Karan Virani CwEO at WeWork taking us around the building for a tour and sharing his personal journey. This was followed by a stimulating panel discussion with Mona Gandhi, Founder Upraised, and Suchita Salwan, Founder of LLB, moderated by Shalini Misra on 'Redefining the Path to Success'. The Yoga and Self Love session lead by Dr Bhavna Barmi, Dr Piyush Jain and Reeva Misra, revitalized everyone present in the room and reduced many of us to tears. Mentor and tutor Jaishree Misra along with Poonam Patnaik planned 'English Role Plays', where each team of scholars came up with creative and humorous skits, and each story told a happy ending. The group then jumped their night away at a Trampoline Park, which was a completely new and bonding experience.
The final day of the workshop began with a Professional Development Session where we invited young speakers Dhruv Goyal and Hannah Patnaik to share their journey and experiences of career choices in different countries and fields. The final panel was a conversation with Richard Rekhy, former Chairman KPMG, Lizzie Chapman, Founder ZestMoney, and Gautam Mago, Founder A91 Partners, on 'Becoming the Author of your life' moderated by Aniket Dey.
Thank you to our incredible Vahani mentors and to our hosts Ansal University and We Work India.
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
Vahani Scholarship Summer Workshop, June 2017
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.