Inside Insights: Monika Phore, Community Coordinator

Before joining Milaan, I worked as a volunteer Program Manager where I handled volunteers globally. I designed workshops and tasks for volunteer engagement, recruited volunteers, and coordinated with colleges. Creating positive change in society has always been my goal. However, one thing I was missing in my work was the opportunity to work on the ground or to explore rural parts of India. I have embarked on a new journey in Milaan. As a Community Coordinator for the Girl Icon Alumni Network, I explore job opportunities and search for scholarships for the alumna of our Girl Icon Program. When they share their journey with me, it feels like my personal success. The direct positive change I am creating is what I enjoy the most in Milaan.

Initially, it was challenging for me to understand ground-level challenges such as the rural education system, geographical challenges, and ground experience because I had never been exposed to rural India. However, after I visited Lucknow, I gained deeper insights into the field.

During my trip to the Lucknow office, I visited Girl Icon Alumni Khushboo’s community. I learned about how Khushboo has stepped forward to encourage girls in her community to pursue education despite receiving no support from her community members. Her courageous spirit and never-give-up attitude truly inspired me and my regular interactions have made me comfortable to interact with our girls. After my field visit, I found myself better able to build a sense of belonging and camaraderie with our alums.

Aspects of my own personal journey have also helped me learn fast. I belong to a protective joint family, and while growing up, I missed out on many opportunities because my family was concerned about my safety. After completing my 12th, I got selected for a Journalism course. However, the college I was assigned to after my counselling was located far away from my house. My family suggested that I pursue something closer to home. Subsequently, I got selected for a BA Hons in Political Science at Kalindi College, which was nearby. Initially, I felt disheartened for not being able to pursue a course of my choice. However, as time passed, I began to enjoy my college life. I also gained confidence in making my own career decisions independently. Witnessing my growth, my parents also started supporting my choices, and their fear of me being away slowly faded.

After college, I never looked back. I traveled to different cities, and recently, I embarked on my first international trip, all by myself. From not venturing out of my neighborhood to traveling alone internationally, I am proud of my journey. In working with girls to help them discover their own freedoms and passions, it seems I have come full circle.

My personal experiences have truly helped me assist my alumni in achieving their goals. I always wanted to do something different in life, things that I might not have been able to do during my time. I wanted to fulfill those aspirations for the girls I work with. I see parallels between the journeys of the girls I work with and my own aspirations. Witnessing their achievements feels like personal success, and their gratitude reinforces my purpose. Their success fills the void of missed opportunities in my own life, making this work profoundly rewarding.

As we move ahead with the GIAN program, our goal is to open up more opportunities for the 2,000+ girls in our network. We want to empower them to make their own choices and succeed on their own terms. In a world where education often feels like a privilege rather than a right, scholarships serve as a guiding light, breaking down barriers and opening doors to brighter futures. The Girl Icon Alumni Network is committed to providing sustainable and efficient means of engagement to our alumni, ensuring they stay connected to invaluable opportunities.

In our current cohort, a significant number of girls are receiving scholarships, enabling them to pursue their dreams of higher education. Here’s a breakdown of the scholarships they’ve been awarded.

Our primary objective is to ensure that our girls can continue their higher education journey without financial constraints. These scholarships have waived off the burden on their parents, enabling them to invest in their daughters’ futures. Here are some inspiring stories shared by our alumni:

Muskan shared, “When I found the Ekam scholarship, it not only helped me pursue my higher education but also gave me the confidence to set higher goals and push my limits to rise higher.

Sushma shared, “I’ve learned one thing throughout the procedure of applying for scholarships: Consistency is the key. I applied for several scholarships but didn’t get any response. However, I didn’t lose hope and kept applying. Finally, I got a TATA scholarship, and I felt so good. My parents told me to utilize the money for my education.

Arti, who received an Ekam scholarship, shared, “The amount I received was huge, which helped me pay my school and tuition fees.

Tusha mentioned, “After hearing about my scholarship, my parents stopped stressing about my education, and their burden was lifted. They felt so proud.

These stories show that scholarships aren’t just about money—they’re tools for empowerment. They help girls pursue education and achieve their dreams. By investing in their education, we’re not only changing individual lives but also creating a better future for our communities and the world. Join us in backing these amazing young women on their path to success.

Author: Monika Phore
Community Coordinator
Girl Icon Alumni Network

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