HYDERABAD: A group of five students from Hyderabad made the city proud after travelling to Silicon Valley in California and UC Berkeley (University of California, Berkeley) recently, to present their projects during a 5-day immersion.
As part of the first-of-its-kind trip, students of The Purpose Academy had an immersive experience where they got to participate in several activities, interacted and pitched their projects to global leaders and world-class faculty from UC Berkeley and got feedback on their projects!
The focus areas of their projects were women’s entrepreneurship, malnutrition for women and children, farmer welfare and livelihood, women empowerment and livelihoods, rural Healthcare, livelihood, education and healthcare, and financial literacy.
Dia Reddy, a Grade 12 student from CHIREC International School, speaking about the trip, says, “It was a truly incredible experience. For us, as high school students to be able to pitch to such experts is remarkable. We learnt tips and tricks from experts on how to go about with our pitches and we also had a workshop on ‘Pitching the Silicon Valley Way’ from an expert who helps startups in Silicon Valley bring out their A-game. Our favourite part was meeting some of the students from UC Berkeley and being able to pitch to them. They gave us good feedback which we were able to use.”
Asked if there was something she learned there that she would love to see immediately implemented here in her school, 14-year-old Sanika Bihani, a Grade 9 student says, “The opportunity to be able to present to so many different people, getting feedback, getting different perspectives and building our presentation, pitching and interpersonal skills is something I thoroughly enjoyed. These are some opportunities not available in our academic syllabus. We are glad that our school allowed us to be part of The Purpose Academy and hope more students make use of these opportunities.”
The students are part of TPA, a programme by 1M1B in partnership with the College of Engineering, SCET at UC Berkeley and the Innovation Acceleration Group that enables the brightest young minds to solve the world’s most complex problems.
“The goal of 1M1B’s Purpose Academy is to engage students on issues and challenges faced by rural India (where still 65% of India stays). They get connected to the roots of India, get an understanding of their own country and then get involved in real issues by attempting to solve problems like education, access to healthcare, jobs, financial inclusion, increasing farmers’ income, organic farming, increasing income of artisans, access and availability of clean water etc. Some of the top students are invited to make a presentation at the 1M1B summit. They present to a global audience, influence people and are trained to become Global Indians,” says Manav Subodh, founder of 1M1B (One Million for One Billion), an UN-accredited youth-focused organisation that mobilises youth to take action on global challenges.
Adding that the country needs more such programmes, he says, “We need to empower and enable students to become future-ready problem solvers by creating real-world impact. Academic success is important but skilling students on empathy, collaboration, cognitive flexibility, problem-solving, ethics and working in a team is more important for success in life. We need to strengthen the system and bridge the gap between skilling and education that exists today. Also, immersive education will play a pivotal role in making students future researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs. The schools and the academia of the future will be problem-solving and impact labs for society.”