International honour for 'Mee Raqsam' lead Aditi Subedi
International honour for 'Mee Raqsam' lead Aditi Subedi

UK and India will jointly celebrate the achievements of young people as gamechangers for inclusive growth and sustainable development, at a high-level roundtable to be hosted by the University of Southampton India Centre, to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March 2021

The virtual roundtable w Mee Raqsam ill bring together senior officials, dignitaries, students, staff and stakeholders from both nations, as part of the varsity’s ongoing strategic efforts to deepen and diversify UK-India relations and celebrate the outcomes and achievements of the inaugural “The Kaifi Azmi Global-India Virtual Paired Internships” programme which engaged talented students from UK and India who worked passionately in pairs to deliver impactful outcomes on live community development projects.

Led by Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS), a leading NGO championing sustainable development and empowering women and girl children in rural India, this project was facilitated by the University India Centre in collaboration with GRD College of Science. Student interns participated in two live projects: Rozgar Dhaba, a community information hub for boosting job opportunities and mitigating unsafe migration in rural areas and Project Samridhi, aimed at developing digital infrastructure and e-commerce for supporting women entrepreneurs across villages in India.

This prestigious roundtable will feature a special address from the veteran award-winning Bollywood actor-activist and President of MWS, Shabana Azmi, together with keynote addresses from dignitaries including the Indian Deputy High Commissioner to UK, Charanjeet Singh, the British Deputy High Commissioner to India, Jan Thompson, Senior Director, Economic, Youth & Sustainable Development of the Commonwealth Secretariat Dr Ruth Kattumuri, and Director of UKRI India Rebecca Fairbairn.

One of the key highlights of the event will be the felicitation of Miss Aditi Subedi, a young girl born and educated in Mijwan village in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, who recently made a successful debut into the Indian film industry. Baithak UK, a London-based not-for-profit organisation promoting the rich legacy of south Asian arts founded by Dr. Sangeeta Datta, in partnership with the University of Southampton India Centre, the India Business Group London and GRD College of Science in India will honour Subedi with the '2021 Most Inspiring Youth for Social Change’ award.

Shabana Azmi said, she was delighted to see Mijwan Welfare Society’s partnership with University of Southampton growing strongly and significantly over the years. “It is refreshing to see how a simple innovative model of a paired virtual internship programme, engaging a high calibre of talented students from Southampton and GRD College of Science, generated meaningful impact on ordinary lives and livelihood in rural communities. Kudos to India Centre for supporting our work at Mijwan Welfare Society and realising our aspirations to fruition.” She was also full of praise for Aditi Subedi from Mijwan (who brings a message of social change through Baba Azmi’s Mee Raqsam) for being honoured on International Womens Day. I want to thank Baithak for its commitment to art and culture as an instrument of social change.”

Professor Jane Falkingham OBE, Vice-President International and Executive Director, University India Centre said: “As a global top 100 research-intensive University, we are delighted to support bilateral social enterprise initiatives engaging bright young minds and strengthen our existing collaboration with Mijwan Welfare Society, as part of our continued global commitment to changing the world for better.”

Professor KK Ramachandran, Vice-Principal of GRD College of Science says “Mijwan Welfare Society connecting our students from the India and UK to address real life challenges in village India and enabling positive impact at grassroots level has empowered our students to develop critical thinking skills and problem solving, and preparing them for the new global job market.”

Amarjit Singh, CEO of India Business Group and founding co-Director of University India Centre felt this transformative collaboration between Mijwan Welfare Society and stakeholders in delivering cross-border enterprise projects amid the Covid-19 pandemic is refreshing. “It adds significant value to the growing UK-India partnership as they embrace the Government of India’s flagship initiatives such as Digital India and Make in India.”

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