Sajhe Sapne - Making career dreams real in difficult places. सपनो से मंज़िल तक (ONGOING)




Sajhe Sapne (Shared Dreams)



Shalini Gupta

Surabhi Yadav





Rural India

Financial independence


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The struggle

The world is losing out on the potential and dreams of 200 Million young women in rural India to live up to their full creativity and intellect. At Sajhe Sapne, we are passionate about addressing lack of access to quality higher education programs and aspirational jobs for these women.


The solution: Skilling. Placements. On-Job Mentoring. Through our network of skilling centers called Sapna Centers in villages, we do the following: - Design professional courses in everyday spoken languages - Deliver them through interactive and hands-on pedagogy - Guarantee first job in an industry - Professional mentoring up to one year after getting the job Sapna centers are designed to be setup as 1) residential campuses 2) day-time college campuses 3) online

Roles and responsibilities and work done so far -

1. Co-designing "Systems thinking, Research and Design thinking" facilitation modules for the "Rural Development and Management" course for rural women in India.

One of my biggest challenges was to make the course content contextual, relevant and local. I had to simplify and translate in the content in Hindi without losing the nuance and the complexity of the topic. To design for engagement with a group whose socio-cultutal background was unknown to me was quite a challenge.

Secondly, it was necessary to choose imagery that was decolonial and local. I came to realise the lack of relevant visuals that is contextual for rural women. All the imagery represents the upper middle class population who is obsessed with western notions of every aspect of everyday life

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2. Assisting with strategy, mobilisation, outreach and partnerships

I assisted in mobilisation and putting together the 2nd batch of the course by reaching out to NGOs working with rural girls and women. One of my main tasks and challenge was to convince the parents of the student to allow her to do the course away from home. I also started mapping job possibilities to tie up with organisations and companies who can give jobs to the students after the course. The course primarily trains students for the roles of project managers, assistants, coordinators, operation associates etc. I am also involved with looking for partnerships for things such as donations (laptops, stationery) etc

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3. Learning Culture

These women come from rural villages in India and have grown up in extremely traditional environments.They do not think they are going to succeed. There is a heavy baggage from the past and a burden of fear of failure.They have learned and grown in a culture that rewards only a narrow kind of success and learning, the counter reality needs to be created. Their current state is a consequences of their previous experiences and experiences must be created that not only undo the impact of the previous ones but also help transition their internal beliefs into better ones that would help them grow. So, the question is - 




-How do we design nurturing environments which address present and past conditioning?

-What should be the core principles of Sajhe's learning culture and pedagogy? And what tools would we use in our learning spaces to ensure that culture is build and thrives? 

-How do we address mistakes, how to appreciate growth and how to manage expectations with self

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4. Branding and brand strategy

I have been working on designing a logo and branding for Sajhe Sapne with a 2 graphic designer. I followed the usual process - listing down keywords, mood boards, a few sketches. During the process, I realised that the sketches I was making identified with the urban elite. The women studying in Sajhe Sapne are supposed to identify with the logo and brand identity. What's the point of me designing the logo because I will never to justification to it. So, I went to the field, sat with the girls (on a video call) tried to understand what education, dreams, sajhe sapne means to them. They drew their own stories. I tried to find commonalities and a certain feeling they wanted to express from those drawings emerged. I tried to clean it to up, made some sketches and then we all finally decided on the logo. A few explorations -

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Feel free to reach out for a collaboration or a conversation!

© Aishwarya Jare