Society

How a group of Malayali women in America are mentoring young girls in Kerala

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Princess diaries: A group of Malayali women living in America is reaching out to the young girls of the State with their mentorship programme

“When a woman is educated, she is empowered. Nothing can put her down. A platform that would give women the power to fly high and break the so-called glass ceiling has always remained a dream. I ran the idea of starting something to that effect among my friends and everyone responded positively. That’s how My Princess Foundation came about,” says New York-based cardiologist Nisha Pillai, the brain behind the organisation that is reaching out to young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in Kerala.

Ten months since its formation, the Foundation has a network of mentors and sponsors, a total of 500 people including young female students. Its first scholarship distribution eventwas held recently at the IMA House in the city.

Nisha Ambady one of the nine founders (all of who are in USA), and who runs a school for underprivileged children in Phoenix, Arizona, says that the idea to do something meaningful for women back home started with the Sabarimala issue, which brought the vulnerability of women centre-stage. Nisha is the international co-ordinator of the foundation.

“Our idea of charity is one woman educating two others. Imagine the domino effect and the impact this will have in our society,” Nisha Pillai says.

The founders charted a programme where undergraduate girls can apply for sponsorship and once selected through a stringent process, would be placed under a mentor, who would assist her with career counselling, emotional help and financial assistance, provided by a sponsor.

“Even more than financial aid, these kids need mentoring. Not in education alone, but also social, spiritual, career guidance or emotional support,” says Nisha Ambady. The foundation, after a thorough search, has selected 50 mentors who are professionals from different fields such as banking, teaching and medicine. They form the link between the sponsors and the young women. Adequate financial support is allotted to each candidate every year to pursue higher studies.

How a group of Malayali women in America are mentoring young girls in Kerala

“Career counselling is important as these girls are not aware of the myriad options available to them, instead of pursuing the conservative medical or engineering fields, which may not be suitable for them. The mentors can help them with their choices, guide and encourage them to excel in their field of creativity, like dance, tailoring, and many vocational options that would educate and put them to work in a shorter period of time,” says Nisha Pillai. “We are also encouraging them to look at small business options and trying to find assistance through various governmental agencies for the same”.

Selection of the mentors has been a “beautiful process”, says Nisha. They have dedicated their time and energy to the empowerment and upliftment of these of young women.” “Reaching out to the young women of our State from a distant land and being able to help them become future role models is a dream come true,” says Nisha Ambady voicing the team’s common feeling and adding, “We would like more women to join the work of My Princess Foundation as sponsors and mentors.” My Princess Foundation can be reached at myrajaputri@gmail.com

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 6:56:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/my-princess-foundation-is-a-mentorship-programme-for-young-girls-in-kerala/article30047906.ece

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