PMC SCHOOL STUDENT WINS FULL SCHOLARSHIP TO MINNESOTA COLLEGE

Daughter of a school van driver and a homemaker, Namrata Khanvilkar is all set to leave for the US in August, where she will study biochemistry at St Olaf’s
Steadfast focus and a peerless academic record have borne fruit for a Class XII student who has done nearly all her schooling in government and municipal institutions. Namrata Khanvilkar has attained a full scholarship to St Olaf College, Minnesota, USA via the United World School (UWS). The scholarship will include her fees, accommodation and meal costs.

A student of the Pune Municipal Corporation-run (PMC) Acharya Vinoba Bhave, run in partnership with the Thermax and Akanksha Foundation till Class X, Namrata aims to be a psychologist and will be studying biochemistry in the US.

“Science is my favourite subject and Imade extra efforts to take an interest in it as I wanted to be a doctor. When I was in Class IV, a knot formed near my left eyebrow. It took days for a surgeon to arrive and operate on me. We need more doctors here and I want to be one and bring about that change.”

While her ambition has not changed much over time, she also feels that there is a need to work on the mental health of children. “There are many students with a positive environment at home. Psychologists at school may not be able to solve them, but they can help the child understand better and also provide career guidance,” she mused.

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Namrata is also a strong believer in the power of education and its ability to increase awareness and bring about social change. “Education can solve a lot of problems. Once we are educated, we get involved in issues that need to be propelled forward,” the 17-year-old said.

Namrata is very clear that she will return to India after her graduation, work with schoolchildren and also start funding at least one child’s education as soon as possible.

She is also no stranger to striving for academic betterment. While still in Class X, she applied for a scholarship at UWC Dilijan in Armenia. With a solid 84 per cent in her Class X, she won the scholarship in 2015 and completed four semesters under the International Baccalaureate (IB).

While Namrata’s admission and scholarship are finalised, she will be leaving for the US in August, she is looking for donations and funds to sponsor her flight tickets.

For her parents Anant and Asha, their pride in their daughter and a determination to educate all their four children overcame the financial difficulties they faced. While Anant has passed Class IX, Asha went till Class XII. “We did not have the money to pay for private school of all our four children. We managed for the first two, but Namrata and her younger brother are both in in government schools,” said Asha, a homemaker. Father Anant, a school van driver, added that while he can read English, he cannot speak and understand it well and wanted his children to study in the English medium. “Many people told me that I need not spend on my daughter’s education, but I refused to listen to such prejudiced drivel. For me, my three daughters and son are the same and I am happy that they are all educated,” he said.

United World Schools

United World Schools (UWS) is currently present in 16 countries, with the 17th coming up in Japan. They fund scholarships for needy students across the world. In India, UWC Mahindra College is part of the UWS movement and is funding Namrata’s education.

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