27-year-old Raju Kendre from Buldhana's Lonar will always remember June 29 as a day he stepped closer to his dream when he won UK's prestigious Chevening Scholarship. The scholarship is an International Award program by UK government that offers future leaders from over 160 countries and territories to take up postgraduate study or courses in various universities in the United Kingdom.
Raju has had a long journey -- from cancelling his admission in Pune University in 2011, because of financial issues, to winning an international scholarship like Chevening in 2021.
Speaking to FPJ, Raju said, "As a farmer's son belonging to a nomadic tribe, a first-generation learner from a small village in the Vidarbha region, it is a very proud moment for me."
Dedicating the scholarship to first-generation learners, Raju said that his journey will ignite a new movement for them to secure seats in national and international university campuses across the globe.
"My parents have completed education only till the primary level. They are totally clueless about what this Chevening Scholarship is. They can't even pronounce this name, but their quest for my education has led to this amazing journey. There are thousands of young minds like me who wish to study in foreign universities. All of them have high hopes now about conquering the globe as first-generation learners," Raju added.
Raju is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tuljapur Campus, where he completed his MA Social Work in Rural Development. For the last four years, he is leading his own NGO, Eklavya and has been working in the tribal areas of Vidarbha for the last 9 years.
Speaking to FPJ about his work, Raju said, "Under this platform, I, along with my colleagues, have been working for first-generation learners to take up higher education in eminent institutions. We are trying to build the leadership from grassroots. This scholarship will be a trigger point for the Eklavya movement."
What is Chevening Scholarship?
Chevening is the UK government’s international awards programme aimed at developing global leaders.
Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and partner organisations, Chevening offers two types of awards – Chevening Scholarships and Chevening Fellowships – the recipients of which are personally selected by British embassies and high commissions throughout the world.
Chevening offers a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.