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We are really excited! It’s that time of the year when we select the new champions. This year we have done a lot more than last year in terms of the selection process. Now that the program is gaining popularity, and many students already know about it, we got a better response in terms of the people who wanted to get associated with the project. We put on our Design thinking hats and begin the process.

First we have the senior champs talk about the project and the work that they are doing, the challenges they face and the learning they themselves have. They also talk about the impact that they are able to create in the society. We believe that this transparency at the very beginning of the process is important as it helps to build the trust between all involved in the project.

We then follow a rigorous six-step process in selecting the new champions.Every step acts as a filter and by the time we are onto the last step we have almost finalized on our champions. It serves as a funnel to get people who are really interested and motivated to be a part of the project. The role of the second year champions become critical now, as they take on the role of mentors too.

1. Writing exercise
First up is the writing exercise, in which we asked the students to write on a topic. This time the topic was “Why should girls be educated?” It had 19 students participate in it.

Writing Exercise Writing session

2. Reading Exercise
Next most important is to see the ability of the students to read and express themselves. They are evaluated on Clarity of words pronunciation, Oral expressions style, Understanding of words.

Reading Session

3. Extempore Public Speaking
This is a small exercise, where we give them a random topic to talk about and evaluate them on their ability to engage in discussions.

4. Group Discussions
The group discussions are important as reflects the ability of the students to stand up and defend what they are talking about. We had varied topics of group discussions, which were related to the areas and their lives.
Group a. How to save people from Floods and the destruction and effects of Floods due to the Kosi river
Group b. Earthquakes and its problems and what to do when it strikes.
Group c. How can Bihar progress with education.
Group d. What are your ideas and how can rural areas be developed in Bihar.

Group Discussion in progress

We don’t just stop at getting the participants to discuss amongst themselves, but also talk to the others and defend their ideas.

Participants discussion

5. Personal Interviews
After all the above, we end up short listing 6 candidates for the personal interview and discuss with them about their aspirations, their intention behind joining the project and whether they will be able to do justice to it. Most of the students have very motivating stories themselves to tell on how they are facing the challenge to continue their own education and the different support they get.

Personal Interview

6. Parents Interviews
The last but in a way the most important aspect of this selection process is the interview of the parents and talking to them about the role that they have to play in this whole initiatives. They need to support not only their own children going to the school, but also their children going out and doing activities in other schools. Not all parents are supportive, but the few that are there, inspires us to do more for the area.

All the different stages are marked and then we tally to find the best amongst the students who get the Rukmini Devi Scholarship.
Other activities

The new champions from 2013-2014 selections
We introduce to you the new champions from this year’s selection process. Mani Bharti and Smriti Kumari. Both have interesting stories to tell and have really interesting aspirations. [A separate post will talk more about these new champions]

New Champions

The next month will be crucial for the new champions as they are trained on how to conduct the activities and the very first few steps towards empowerment. The will accompany the senior champs Deepika and Guriya to the schools and learn these activities on the field.

The days ahead excites us.

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