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Coimbatore girl selected for United Nations scholarship

Inspiration at all times, particularly these heavy times, comes not only from the experienced, but also from those who are energised, motivated, and think out of the box.

A physical school where children learn life’s lessons in an experiential way and stay happy — this proposal by Sneha Murali, has earned her the International Sustainable Academy (ISA) fellowship, a nine-month education training programme in Germany, sponsored by the United Nations.

“It is reverse learning. For example, while learning mechanical or electrical subjects, students can be given a final finished product. They go backwards, in a reverse engineering process to understand what every single part is meant for. A hands-on experience model that is not driven by textbooks or online lessons,” explains Ms. Sneha, who takes off on July 31 from Coimbatore.

She is the second youngest on a team of 12 people selected from other developing countries including Kenya, Sudan, Cambodia, Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, Siberia, and Uzbekistan. “The United Nations categorised the world’s problems in 17 buckets as Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). At number four is quality education. Last year, when the pandemic struck, I thought about ways where one can optimise education during such times and submitted a proposal for SDG 4 on bringing experiential education to India. The U.N. had opened applications globally for participants who have solutions to sustainable goals,” she says.

Ms. Sneha is the only participant from India who got selected from 15,000 applicants. The 12-member global team has scholars researching topics related to environment and global warming like hydroponics, water pollution, urban planning, flood reduction, and post COVID-19 infrastructure, to name a few.

The programme, funded by the German government and the U.N., is a collaborative fellowship where people from developing countries can look for solutions in Germany and implement the model in their respective countries.

“My work will start after I return, sometime in March next year. I have to start a physical school that is futuristic but deeply rooted in Indian values and culture. There are already many schools in the world that have made a positive change. We just need more of those,” she says.

The 26-year-old who is also an entrepreneur runs an e-commerce start-up called The Positive Store that designs gratitude journals and planners. She was also a pupil pilot as a part of NCC’s Air Wing. Her father K. Murali who is hearing impaired is known for his award-winning work through Deaf Leaders, an NGO that empowers people with such disabilities. It was her four years in the corporate world that served as a wake-up call. “I realised that my career path should be based on my strengths and not on a rat race. I don’t want the upcoming generation to go through the same mistakes,” adds Ms. Sneha

Once she lands in Germany, she will start research from a workspace along with a mentor. “It’s a self-driven platform where no one monitors you,” says Ms. Sneha.


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 5:24:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/coimbatore-girl-selected-for-united-nations-scholarship/article35642824.ece

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