ABOUT THE MILLENNIUM FELLOWSHIP - CLASS OF 2021

United Nations Academic Impact and MCN are proud to partner on the Millennium Fellowship. In 2021, over 25,000 young leaders on 2,000+ campuses across 153 nations applied to join the Class of 2021. 136 campuses worldwide (just 6%) were selected to host the 2,000+ Millennium Fellows. The Class of 2021 is bold, innovative, and inclusive.

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UNITED NATIONS ACADEMIC IMPACT AND MCN PROUDLY PRESENT VANSHIKA SHARAN, A MILLENNIUM FELLOW FOR THE CLASS OF 2021.

University of Delhi | New Delhi, India | Advancing SDG 5 & UNAI 3

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" There is no progression for women in India so long as they are unable to dream and aspire. Young women have been deprived of representation and the right to have an imagination for their future beyond the home. This injustice needs to be corrected and that mission keeps me going. "

Millennium Fellowship Project: The Leela Foundation

In an era where education is highly competitive and navigating the waters gets more complex by the day, we recognize that girls coming from impoverished backgrounds are falling behind. There exists a large information and resource asymmetry for these girls. Lack of resources means that information regarding careers, examinations, higher education, etc. isn’t readily accessible to them like it is for those more privileged. In addition to this, they rarely see themselves represented in fields where they may wish to be in the future. The Leela Foundation seeks to remedy this asymmetry and make the process of figuring out their future much easier.

There are three gaps we wish to account for – representation, ideation, and information. Firstly, in terms of representation, we wish to show these girls that women (especially Indian women) have the capacity to excel in any field. Ambition is set by what is thought to be achievable – we want to show these girls that anything is possible and expand their idea of where it is that they can succeed. The primary difficulty one runs into is figuring out what they want to do – for this, they need guidance both in terms of information about the existing options and an understanding of how to go about making this decision in the first place.

We want to target low-income municipal/government schools for girls that are often ignored. The state of these schools in certain regions is abysmal due to low funding and lack of individual attention provided to the students. Our structure includes a career aptitude test to help them gauge where they may wish to work, an interactive session explaining different career options and relaying testimonies from women in those fields, and, finally, a one-on-one discussion meant to address specific concerns. Additionally, to make all the information provided more accessible, we plan on creating a booklet with our curriculum in both English and Hindi for each student. Our foundation uniquely targets gendered asymmetry and makes this information as accessible as possible by taking it to those who need it rather than waiting for them to come to us. We also believe that having access to devices and steady internet connections is a privilege and it being a prerequisite for access to this vital information keeps it from trickling down to the most vulnerable members of society.

About the Millennium Fellow

Vanshika is a final-year Anthropology student at Hansraj College, Delhi University. She is extremely passionate about tackling issues that plague marginalized identities. Her research interests center around creating frameworks for alleviating gender disparities in South Asian communities.