Our mission here is not to provide charity but to reward fellows for their good work so far, and encourage and support them to achieve even more in the days to come. As such, we have certain expectations from our fellows, and have discussed them extensively with their families, friends, teachers and well-wishers. These expectations also guide our selection mechanism for future scholars.
The four major expectations we place on our fellows are:
1) Continued Excellence: Our fellows are selected because of their track record, and we expect them to maintain that record. We pledge to support themÂ as long as we are convinced they are trying their best to meet their goals. Our notion of excellence is not limited to academic success either; we expect our fellows to be leaders and role models in their everyday lives as well.
2) Ownership of Education: While we commit to provide a comprehensive support package to our fellows, we still expect them and their families to contribute as much as they can (without having to sell their cow or their land) towards their education. We recognize that there will be a significant shortfall, which we cover, but if the fellows invest in their education themselves, they will own it. Our work is based on an honour code, where we expect our fellows and their families to be honest about their regular contributions. In addition, we emphasize that we are not replacing but complementing their roles as guardians, and the ultimate responsibility for their well-being rests with the fellows and their families.
3) Pay It Forward: A major part of our commitment to this Foundation stems from the help and support we received from others in our own education. Most of us at Samaanta have benefitted greatly from the love and belief of others as we pursued our dreams across continents. We are paying that love forward the best way we know, by supporting more people get the same kind of opportunities. In return, we expect our fellows to embody similar values and, some day, repay that support by helping educate others in need around them. Once they are close to their goals and are able to make a suitable living, we hope they will be financially capable and willing to reinvest in us so that we can continue to educate others. We expect our fellows to have nurtured a sense of giving that will guide them to continue our mission forward.
4) Empower Communities: A large part of our mission is to provide real opportunities to students from rural communities who would otherwise be left out. Our investment in these students carries the hope that they will be empowered themselves as well as find ways to support and empower their communities. We do not have a mandate to prescribe how they can be leaders or role models, but we expect them to find their own ways to be positive change makers in their own right, and in their own communities.