I am Ram. I work for an Indian grass roots NGO, Seva Mandir in South Rajasthan. After my three years hands on experience at grass roots, I want do pursue another master's in Globalization & Development from UK. For this reason I am seeking help to write my Statement of Purpose as English is not my first language.
Any help would be appreciated.
GLOBALIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT - Statement of Purpose
I wish to do my master's in Globalisation and Development because my interest lies in the development sector and more specifically targeted at bringing about a change in the lives of people through sustainable livelihood programs. Having spent my last three years working at an Indian grass roots NGO, Seva Mandir, has helped unleash my potential and has sharpened my interest in income generation programs for rural tribal communities. My first master's in Business Management and the hands on experience gained at Seva Mandir has given me enough exposure to adequately focus on the business aspect of any social enterprise. However, if I were to design a model for a successful social enterprise, it is pivotal to gain necessary theoretical knowledge of development which in turn will give me a holistic view. Hence, I seek admission at your University so as to further the knowledge I have obtained and to obtain an opportunity to interact with like-minded peers, thereby actively contributing to the sector, the organization and the nation.
I have always had a strong social conscience and have actively participated in various voluntary programmes. During my under graduation, I joined the National Service Scheme (NSS). It is a voluntary organization managed by the Government of India that aims at creating awareness about various social issues related to health & hygiene, education etc. among the students and the local communities. I really loved participating in various special campaigns as well as camps to promote awareness of the above mentioned issues. I also volunteered in local school in my village as part time teacher for almost three years. I loved teaching maths to children and was amazed with the potential these children possess. Many of the children I worked with are now pursuing their graduation in different streams such as Arts, Engineering and Medicine. During my first master's I was one of the five Indian Contingents who represented India in Bangladesh as part of the Bharat Scouts and Guide. The theme for the event was "Global Village Development".
At present I am a Programme Coordinator for Income Generation activities at Seva Mandir, which works with disadvantaged communities in rural parts of the arid state of Rajasthan. Of the programmes I lead there, the most successful intervention has been the setting up of a cooperative pulse processing unit, commonly known as Dal Mill, owned by tribal farmers. I managed to turn around the project from a loss making venture to a sustainable social enterprise. At the time when I joined, the project was going through a tough phase as it was running into heavy losses. In the first place I decided to cut down the cost by optimizing on the overheads which were not paying off. I streamlined the procurement systems for raw material and hence made it cost effective. I put systems and processing in place for proper accounting. I also managed to get help from the experts in the field. With a significant improvement in the quality of our final product, I also got significant number of buyers in the city. The project now reaches out to 3,500 families from predominantly poor, tribal communities. It enables farmers to control the end-to-end supply chain and thus assume a greater role and hence better prices when it comes to chain participation and management. During the first half of the current financial year 2012-13, the project has benefited the farmers with an increase in income for their produce of INR 1,080 per family. Similarly I am also responsible to work with the Soy processing unit; a social enterprise aiming to create employment for local tribal youth. The Soy project as compared to Dal Mill is quite a young enterprise and has different kinds of challenges than that of Dal Mill. Developing a taste for Soy products and creating a niche among the health conscious people in Udaipur is our priority. I also work with women self help groups (SHGs) which carry out a number of livelihood activities including fisheries with 200 SHG members. The project not only aims at the financial well being of these women participants but it also focuses on their empowerment both within the household and the community.
The knowledge gained at my previous master's programme in Management was very helpful in my first job at Kotak Mahindra Bank. However, I wanted to contribute my skills for the betterment of the society, particularly for rural farmers. I have experienced first-hand the endemic and disabling affects poverty has on rural communities for having born in a farmer's family in a small village near Agra. My father lost his lands to the moneylender because he couldn't repay his loan which he had taken for growing potatoes. On account of natural calamities such as inadequate rain, unpredictable market and existence of middlemen in the supply chain, farmers are often captive to the vicious cycle of poverty. This fuelled a strong desire in me to help the farming communities. The commitment was strong but I didn't know what else to do. I left my job and joined the ICICI fellowship programme which aimed at building social leaders by providing them with hands on experience of working with NGOs. I was placed with Seva Mandir's Dal Mill program which became the milestone in my career as I learnt about the social enterprise and how these ventures enabled farmers to get fair prices for their produce. I realized that my passion lay in the development sector and I continued with Seva Mandir after my fellowship came to an end.
Now since I know where exactly my passion lies and I have decided to work in the development sector for the rest of my life, I would want to advance upon my skills that will in turn add value to the work I do. The Dal Mill was running into its third year of operation when I joined it. In case of setting up such more social enterprises from scratch, I would have to understand the nitty gritties of social and development aspects of such a project to develop a sustainable and sensitive business model for local communities. Also since the world is now changing very rapidly and the market based economy is affecting every aspect of our lives; my understanding of globalization and development and the synergies between them has to be strong. It is with this in mind that I am particularly interested in studying the module in Contested Natural Resources, Rural Livelihoods and Globalization and Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty in addition to the core course.
Through my studies I hope to gain a more globalised understanding of the issues involved, which will help me contextualize my localized knowledge. I would like to use this time to learn more and step back and reflect on own practices and beliefs. The opportunity to meet other students and exchanging ideas with them and with the professors during the course will be an additional boost to my knowledge. At the same time I hope the fellow students will also benefit from my three years of experience of working with Seva Mandir and in depth understanding of rural India. My knowledge of business management can also bring value to the peer discussion on various developmental issues.
In the future I want to be a role model for establishing and running successful social enterprises and providing multiple and diversified sources of income and livelihood opportunities to the rural communities. I want to be inspired and be an inspiration for many others who have an inclination towards social sector like me but do not know a way. After this taught master's programme, I plan to come back to my country and use the knowledge acquired and apply it to my current work. I have played an integral part in setting up and developing the Livelihood Programme at Seva Mandir and I remain committed to taking this work forward in the future, by reaching out to more farming communities and leading on more ambitious and satisfying programmes.