Digital transformations solutions company UST has doubled its sponsorship budget to the Vidyadhan Programme, a Shibulal Family philanthropic initiative, to cover students from four states - Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharashtra, besides Kerala. A memorandum of understanding to this has been signed between the two partners in this regard, a spokesperson said here.

Started with 100 students

An initiative under the aegis of Sarojini Damodaran Foundation, Vidyadhan has been set up by Kumari Shibulal and Infosys Co-Founder SD Shibulal. The UST-Vidyadhan partnership started in 2018 with scholarship support for 100 engineering students from Kerala. UST has so far sponsored 306 students under the programme, the spokesperson said. Among the 102 who have since graduated, 61 per cent have found employment in various companies and institutions, 10 per cent have chosen higher studies, and 15 per cent are preparing for competitive exams.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan will inaugurate a one-day event, ‘Partnerships For Social Impact’ here on Saturday. Vidyadhan stakeholders and beneficiaries will speak at the one-day event . UST has decided to step up its commitment as challenges in the post-pandemic phase had required modification of its operations .

UST mentoring, training

Alexander Varghese, Chief Operating Officer, UST, said the partnership rides on the commitment towards transforming lives through education. “We had been partnering with Vidyadhan since year 2018, offering financial scholarship support to engineering students from Kerala. The numbers have grown over the years. This apart, the UST CSR team has been offering mentoring and training to selected students. The partnership will now be strengthened and more students from different parts of India provided with the opportunity to continue studies in a hassle-free manner.”

Kumari Shibulal, Managing Trustee, Sarojini Damodaran Foundation, said Vidyadhan is not just a programme but an idea that every individual can make a difference. “It’s the responsibility of every citizen, corporate and social sector organisation to create opportunities for the youth from economically backward families. It is a journey that is best traversed together, and in UST, we have found a dependable and like-minded partner who stepped up its commitment post pandemic.”

Vidyadhan follows a rigorous selection process including test, interviews and home visits to pick meritorious students hailing from financially backward families after their 10th grade. UST has also been contributing in non-financial ways through participation in the selection processes, mentoring and training. One such successful initiative has been the Chrysalis Programme, an employability soft skill training for final-year degree students.

SD Shibulal, Trustee, Sarojini Damodaran Foundation, said, with the scaling of Vidyadhan, it is important to bring in partnerships. “These partnerships are not only about sponsorships but also about mentorship and creating opportunities for employment. Notably, the students who were mentored and sponsored by UST are getting three times the scholarship amount as their first year’s salary, thereby also pulling their respective families out of the poverty trap.”