Life After the Fellowship: Pavneet Kaur
From a Computer Scientist to a Civil Servant: How Pavneet's desire to bring change became the the driving force of her life
Office of PR & Communications1 June, 2014 | 7 Mins read
Pavneet began her journey as a Computer Engineer. However, it did not satisfy her. To find some sense of meaning she joined the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in Rajasthan. This experience convinced her to join the social sector; her main driving force was the desire to bring about change. Soon, she started working with an NGO and simultaneously prepared for the Civil Service Examination. Fortunately, or unfortunately, her first attempt proved to be unsuccessful and pushed her into contemplation. It was then a friend told her about the Young India Fellowship on the very last day of the application cycle. Without knowing what YIF had in store, she filled out the application. As she proceeded through the rigorous rounds of the admission cycle it became clear to her that it was going to be worthwhile. The interviews were nothing but thought-provoking! Simultaneously, she managed to clear her Prelims. Now, the dilemma struck and brought her to the conclusion that she would do both: YIF and the MAINS preparation as she did not have the heart to defer the admission offer. She took the plunge. Once at the Fellowship she felt her horizons widen and extend. The diversity of the cohort only enriched the experience. She understood that even the closest of individuals could have strikingly contrast views. However, the art was to coexist and embrace the difference. These learnings did not stop after the conclusion of the Fellowship and continue to this day. The following is a case in point. Pavneet managed to balance the rigour that the YIF required along with her equally taxing MAINS preparation and accomplished both. She wanted to change the world as an idealistic UPSC aspirant, now her understanding of change-making has evolved after YIF and also after having spent five years in the service. She is now mindful of the intricacies of bureaucracy and the challenges that it poses to sustaining change. Despite this, she has managed to accomplish a fair deal and believes that there are endless ways to effect change. While post services Pavneet still has the same spark, she is also rooted in reality. One of these change-making projects lead her into a collaboration with Natasha, another change hungry Young India Fellow. Natasha had already bagged the first prize in Maharashtra State Innovation Society for a Dense Forest Project and executed it in Aurangabad. Natasha and Pavneet worked on this pilot project together for which they covered around 100 zila parishad schools. Later, with the help of Pavneet, the number increased to 2000. The Design for Change Project works on the basic premise of developing problem-solving skills in the children of zila parishad schools. Natasha and Pavneet were glad to see the creative ideas that these children managed to execute. Both of them also worked on a pilot project relating to solid waste management briefly.
YIF became a channel for their connection. Pavneet knew that there was no doubt about Natasha’s competency, considering that she was a former fellow. They bonded over their mutual need to effect change and the common thread that brought them together. It is a testament to the magic that ensues when two Fellows combine their strengths. The Fellowship truly never ends!
Come Join Pavneet Kaur in the first episode of YIF Podcasts
The YIF Podcast – Season 1
For Season 1, each episode in the seven part series will have a few alumni each in conversation with Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha (@pramathraj ), Founding Dean, YIF; Founder and Trustee, Ashoka University. The diverse Alumni lineup includes civil servants, social entrepreneurs, young corporate leaders, writers, filmmakers, and more, each with a transformative story to share with our community and beyond.