Raju Kendre, Advocate for Marginalized Communities, Awarded German Chancellor Fellowship

Through the Fellowship, Kendre will study the comparative aspects of higher education in Germany and India. His research and work will focus on inequality in higher education and the policy changes needed to address it.
Raju Kendre, Advocate for Marginalized Communities, Awarded German Chancellor Fellowship

New Delhi- In a groundbreaking development, Raju Kendre, a native of Vidarbha hailing from a nomadic community, has been selected for the highly coveted German Chancellor Fellowship, awarded by the esteemed Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The foundation’s fellows include 61 Nobel laureates from various fields, including Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Raju's remarkable journey, culminating in this honor, brings immense pride to both him and his home state of Maharashtra, and India at large.

This study will be important for the future of India's education sector and marginalized communities. The fellowship grants him a one-and-a-half-year research position at the Modern India Center, spanning Göttingen, Bonn, and Berlin.

Kendre's journey to this prestigious fellowship has been characterized by resilience, determination, and a steadfast commitment to effecting positive change in society.

Born and raised in the small village of Pimpri Khandare in the Buldhana district of Vidarbha, Raju emerged from humble beginnings, with his parents, despite their lack of formal education, instilling in him the value of learning.

Driven by a thirst for knowledge and a desire to break barriers, Raju pursued his education against the odds. Despite facing social and economic constraints, he became the first member of his family to receive higher education, completing his schooling in the Zilla Parishad school before pursuing further studies.

Raju's academic journey took him to Pune for higher education, where he encountered challenges but persevered nonetheless. Subsequently, he completed his college education through Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University and later attained a postgraduate degree in Social Work from the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Raju completed his MSc in Development Studies from the University of London on the prestigious Chevening Scholarship of the British Government in 2022.

During his studies, his research focused on the persistent issue of inequality in access to higher education. Raju has also received reputed fellowships from world-renowned institutions such as Ashoka Fellowship, Swedish Institute Scholarship, Inlaks fellowship, Chevening Scholarship, TED fellowship, and Royal Society for his work and research. Capping off his achievements, Raju was named in Forbes magazine's prestigious 30 Under 30 in 2022, among other esteemed personalities.

In response to the glaring disparity in access to education, particularly higher education, Raju founded the Eklavya India Foundation in 2017. The foundation, born from his vision to ensure that others from marginalized backgrounds do not face the same hurdles he did, has since become a beacon of hope for countless students across India.

Through various initiatives, Eklavya has empowered students with resources, mentorship, and guidance, facilitating admissions to esteemed universities both within India and abroad.

Raju with students at Eklavya
Raju with students at Eklavya

A Brief Overview of Eklavya's Seven Years of Work:

●Eklavya has done extensive work in higher education for first-generation learners from marginalized communities like Adivasi, Nomadic Denotified, Dalit, and Deprived sections across Maharashtra and India.

●The foundation has designed a year-long training and mentorship program for students to prepare for admission and scholarships to undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD programs available in India and worldwide.

●It has provided career guidance to over two lakh students through career seminars so far.

●More than 1500 students secured admission to esteemed universities in India and foreign countries

. ●Over 50 students have been admitted to universities worldwide through the Eklavya Global Scholars Program

●A network of over 400 experienced mentors from various fields working at the national and international levels are working with Eklavya.

●Through Eklavya’s facilitation and guidance, students have received scholarships worth Rs. 40 crore through government and non-government channels in India and worldwide.

●Students from over 25 states in India have participated in Eklavya's initiatives.

The German Chancellor Fellowship

Raju Kendre's selection for the German Chancellor Fellowship represents a crowning achievement in his illustrious career.

Through the fellowship, Raju will embark on a comprehensive study of the comparative aspects of higher education in Germany and India, with a particular focus on addressing inequality and advocating for policy reforms.

His research will delve into the policies, practices, and inclusivity measures adopted by universities in Germany and Europe, aiming to glean insights applicable to the Indian context.

Spanning a duration of one-and-a-half years, the fellowship will afford Raju a research position at the Modern India Center, with placements in Göttingen, Bonn, and Berlin. This invaluable opportunity will not only enrich Raju's academic pursuits but also equip him with the knowledge and expertise necessary to drive positive change within India's education sector.

"I will strive to use the Alexander Humboldt Foundation, an important platform in Europe, for the benefit of our country, state, and especially the neglected sections,” Raju said.

Drawing inspiration from the historical and social legacy of educational institutions like Rayat Shikshan Sanstha and People's Education Society in Maharashtra and the cutting-edge approaches of contemporary global institutions, Raju envisions building educational institutions specifically designed to empower marginalized communities across India. He hopes participation in the prestigious German Chancellor Fellowship and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will be a significant stepping stone toward realizing his vision.

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