At Cadence, giving back to the communities where we live and work is an integral part of the our culture. Helping others is deeply rooted in our DNA and extending this into our communities is one aspect of how we make a difference in the world.
One such program is the Cadence Higher Education Scholarship program introduced in India three years ago. The goal of this program is to address the issue of retaining students from under-privileged backgrounds in the academic cycle through funding and support. Many meritorious children drop out of the education system after school because of the lack of finances, and the extra burden on them to augment family income from a very young age.
The Cadence Higher Education Scholarship Program has helped under-privileged young adults undertake graduation and professional courses for livelihood. These courses are beyond the conventional vocational programs and not limited to engineering and medicine. This program was initiated in National Capital Region (NCR), and over the last three years, it has benefited 75 students. After a successful pilot it was expanded to Bangalore two years ago, and has benefited 35 students. In its third year, the Pune chapter was added, helping 11 students.
The execution and administration of the program is managed by our NGO partners Concern India Foundation (CIF) and Joining Hands. The students are selected through a rigorous process of due diligence carried out by Joining Hands. Concern India Foundation oversees the student’s performance throughout their coursework. Cadence employees in each of these locations volunteer as mentors to help them with their studies, develop their personality, improve their communication and employability skills.
There are many underprivileged students who are eagerly waiting for an opportunity and help to pursue their dreams; Cadence places a premium on reaching out to them and lifting them by offering higher education scholarships.
We are glad that we can extend ourselves to make a difference to these young adults. We have several stories to inspire you, and in the first of this series I want to introduce you to Ankita Kanojia.
This first story is about Ankita Kanojia. Her determination and grit, and how Cadence support and mentoring has helped her to realize her dreams.
Ankita is the daughter of a migrant family who moved to New Delhi a decade ago in search of livelihood. As with most migrant families, they strove hard to make ends meet. With the meagre income from a small ironing shack, Ankita’s parents struggled to support her education. Later, the family was heart-broken when they found out that the mother suffered from Tuberculosis which drastically impacted the income of the family. Unfortunately, Ankita's father had also been bogged down by serious health issues; hence, most of their earnings were spent on medical treatments.
Considering these difficulties, the family assumed that after completing school Ankita would start working to earn for the family. But Ankita, encouraged by Cadence’s partner in the Scholarship Program, Joining Hands, decided to continue her education. Her interest lay in design and fine arts. Though reluctant at first because of their concern about her ability to earn a good livelihood, her parents eventually consented and she joined a diploma course in Fine Arts at the South Delhi Polytechnic for Women. She graduated in 2019.
Throughout the Cadence Scholarship Program, her mentor from Cadence, Mahesh Soni, was in regular touch with Ankita. Over three years, he invested time in Ankita to help her improve her written and verbal communication skills, and also gave her invaluable career advice. They share a rapport till today, well after Ankita has completed the formal Scholarship Program.
In September 2019, Ankita secured a full-time job as a digital artist at Hike Messenger, a billion-dollar start-up that is a homegrown messaging app. She is required to design and create “avatars”, or caricature-like emojis, from selfies. Initially, she started with creating 100 avatars each day. Now, thanks to her skill and experience, she is creating 300 avatars a day.
Recently, Ankita and her former classmates from the Polytechnic organized a small art exhibition. Going forward, she wants to continue with more exhibitions to demonstrate her work.
There is now a complete change in her parents’ attitude towards her career and aspirations. They have seen how she can pursue her dreams while still earning well.
Ankita says, “One of the positive things that I learned is the ability to walk alone. It was my habit to walk in a group, like sheep. But now, thanks to the support of the Cadence Scholarship Program, I feel very confident and do not hesitate in forging a path on my own. I am sure of realizing all my artistic aspirations.”