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Arvind Ojha Desert Fellowship

Arvind Ojha was an experimentalist choosing to dedicate his life to social changemaking through education, working with children, making institutions and keeping people and organisations together. Someone very forthcoming to dialogue and collaborate with youth. Perhaps something that kept him innovating with community for over 40 years in social sector.

He was an artist, storyteller and a social changemaker. In his early years he wrote extensively. Prose and poetry were his forms of storytelling. He used camera to capture his times and stories, principally focusing on desert.

Later years, he committed to working with communities of Thar desert in the remote places and contexts. His innovations and models have today evolved into institutions and reflect in the people who stand tall in their values and actions.

Arvind Ojha remained a creator and a dreamer working on smallest little things and taking on challenges in desert. He responded to each silence of nothingness with hundred ways of creative changemaking. Unafraid of loving and trusting, He keeps inspiring the people he touched.

This fellowship is a celebration of his values, ideas, experiments and work. It is an attempt to take forward his work and continue building the collectives he strived for.

To foster high potential youth towards sectoral excellence and social leadership having a special bond with deserts, and eventually growing into a committed network of changemakers. We hope to see this network of changemakers evolve into a Global Desert Partnership, engaging with a wider group of thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, changemakers, storytellers and explorers.

Fellowship Segments For 2022:

  1. Institution Building (Solving Small But Solving Strong)
  2. Storytelling (Asymmetry of Human Development)

Deserts are bioregions enliven with innovation, resilience and faith. Arvind Ojha Desert Fellowship Programme derives these as core values deeply ingrained in the approach & design of the programme.

The fellowship programme will be an opportunity to dream; to be mentored by practitioners and theorists alike; to live in desert; to get knowledge & resource support and, most importantly the space to make mistakes and learn therein.

It is visualized to be a unique one-year immersive experience of living and working with desert community. Principally based on the idea of ‘Plural’, the fellowship will enable opportunity for collective exploration, synthesis and action.

Participants will explore the bioregion – its land, life, living; synthesize the complex socio- economic-cultural linkages of each with other(s); and, design their unique interventions to respond to those in their medium and domain.The fellowship programme will follow mentor facilitated do-it-yourself design.

Key themes the Fellows will be exposed to and work on will include Pastoralism, Rainfed agriculture, Textiles & Handicrafts, Education, Environment action, Climate change. The medium for interventions by Fellows will be diverse, broadly categorized in two segments – (a) Institution building (b) Storytelling. Various aspects in both the segments will include engaging with community, dialogue with stakeholders, designing programme interventions, writing, reading, planning, reviewing and more planning.

For details, pls visit: https://fellowship.ourdeserts.org

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Assam Times Staff. editor@assamtimes.org

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