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Tribals get study fillip

Sabitri Birua wanted to be a banker, but cash crunch kept books and coaching classes out of her reach. Today, the postgraduate student of Chaibasa’s GC Jain College can dare to realise her dream, thanks to Tata Steel’s Jyoti Fellowship.

Sabitri was not the lone beneficiary of the prestigious scholarship on Tuesday.

Some 436 tribal students like her received Jyoti Fellowship, along with 102 others who were conferred the Moodie Fellowship at a function at the Tribal Culture Centre in Sonari, Jamshedpur.

Chaibasa MLA Deepak Birua graced the occasion as the chief guest, while Sanjiv Paul, the vice-president (corporate services) of Tata Steel, was the guest of honour.

Jyoti Fellowship, a Tata Steel initiative since the 1970s, extends financial support to deserving students of East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan, besides a few districts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

The Tribal Cultural Society of the steel giant selects students for this reward from different academic disciplines — intermediate, degree, post-graduate (general streams), LLB, BEd, polytechnic, hotel management, MBA, masters in rural development or social work, agriculture and forestry — after a very rigorous screening process.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sabitri said she was glad to have been selected. “My father passed away years ago and my mother stays in our native village. My working brothers do not give money for my studies. The scholarship of Rs 4,500 is a boon for me,” she said.

The Moodie Fellowship, funded by Finlay Moodie and Sheila Ann Moodie of the UK, lends a helping hand to students from Kolhan region and Bengal’s Purulia, Bankura and Midnapore districts.

The scholarship is for students of medical, engineering, MCA, polytechnic, microbiology and biotechnology disciplines. This year, around Rs 11.4 lakh was disbursed among 102 Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste students.

“We have many other plans for the welfare of tribal students. Increasing the amount of scholarships and a free tribal school are on our development radar,” said Tata Steel vice-president Paul.

During the event, XLRI hosted a career counselling session for graduates at Tribal Culture Centre.

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