Mumbai: Deutsche Bank and Smile Foundation have come together to provide engineering scholarships to 200 meritorious young women from low-income families throughout India. The students will receive funding for a four-year engineering course at select colleges in Bengaluru, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Pune.
The Bank, in conjunction with its NGO partner, Smile Foundation, formally handed over the scholarship letters and laptops at individual events across Deutsche Bank offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, and Jaipur. Other than senior management of the Bank, also present at the event were the parents of the girls and their college principals.
The scholarship programme has been structured to provide students with the holistic support required, right from inception until the completion of their course. By working in tandem with Smile Foundation, the Bank will conduct half-yearly training programmes to continually upskill these girls. Post the completion of their course, the students will also be given industry experience, support, and guidance for job placements.
Almost 1,100 promising applications from aspirants studying in over 50 colleges, across the four centres, were received. Significantly, many of these women would be the first in their families and communities to achieve advanced formal education. Almost all of them aspire to be role models for current and future generations.
The extensive process of conducting orientation sessions and selecting the young recipients for the scholarship was undertaken meticulously by more than 150 volunteers from the Bank and the Foundation.
In pursuit of the Bank’s vision to prioritise inclusive and gender-diverse work culture, the bank is focussing on women’s empowerment to serve as a change agent in crucial areas such as technical skill development for women.
“As a country with a burgeoning female workforce, there is an urgent need to ensure equitable distribution of economic resources and to provide equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life. As a bank, we believe in supporting initiatives that would create a larger talent pool that would help support our vision towards nation-building. Our scholarship will help develop a generation of women technocrats and build gender collaboration to sustain a buoyant and thriving economy,” said Kaushik Shaparia, CEO of Deutsche Bank Group, India.
Vikram Singh Verma, Executive Director of Smile Foundation is proud of what the foundation has achieved in terms of empowering women. “We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with Deutsche Bank which has helped us bring to life, the dreams of these young women. Our efforts are in line with the government’s agenda of educating the girl child and we are actively seeking to create a gender-balanced leadership by increasing the share of women in technical positions in business through such programmes,” he added.
The introduction of the scholarship is the next chapter in the Bank’s five-year collaboration with Smile Foundation. To date, the Bank and the Foundation have addressed the primary healthcare needs of more than 650,000 individuals in the slums and villages of Bengaluru, Jaipur, Kalyan, Mumbai, and Pune. Vital support to migrant labourers and frontline workers was also provided through community screening kits and dry rations, at the peak of the pandemic.