National, 29th July,2022 : Many students who have the drive and aptitude today are now able to dream of studying in the best institutions from anywhere in the world. There are any number of such students, from across geographies, doing so.
Rajkanya Mahapatra is one such example. She is a second-year masters student at Sciences Po in Paris who is currently studying International Security with a special focus on ‘gender, emerging technologies and global economy’. Sciences Po is the second best institute in the world for Politics and International Studies and Rajkanya truly worked her way up, in spite of all the financial struggles she had to face from the start of her journey as a student.
Staying in school was always a challenge because her family almost never had the money to pay her fees every month or buy new books. However, she excelled in academics and co-curricular activities and won several national and international awards in public speaking competitions. She went on to pursue the coveted undergraduate programmes in Journalism at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi where managing her expenses was not easy.
She still managed to graduate with two degrees: BA (H) Journalism and a Diploma in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding and she worked at multiple non-profit organizations right after college. In the process she supported herself and her dependent family.
In 2018 Rajkanya got an offer to pursue higher education in Paris but was forced to defer her plans for a year to gather funds. For her first year, she was able to meet the expenses of INR 24 lakhs through the prestigious JN Tata Loan Scholarship, the Charpak Travel Scholarship. She borrowed the remaining amount from her friends. As Covid hit, she had to take a break from 2020 to 2021 while she was half way through her degree.
CROWDFUNDING HELPED HER
At that point she started a fundraiser on Milaap, explaining her situation to friends, family and strangers to help her with the fee for the final semester. She had set out to collect INR 22 lakhs on the platform. Her cause resonated with many individuals, students, parents, working professionals, and with the support of around 500 strangers, Rajkanya managed to raise around INR 15 lakhs.
With constant financial burden such as inaccessibility to loans for want of collateral and no guarantors with a certain credit score to give loans, Rajkanya started crowdfunding as the last resort. There are several young individuals like Rajkanya, who have availed crowdfunding for similar reasons to pursue and excel in higher education after being accepted at reputed institutions abroad.
Since 2020, there have been around 15 fundraisers on Milaap by students to pursue higher education abroad of which 12 have been able to enroll themselves and pursue courses of their choice.