University of Cincinnati awards scholarship to two rural Maharashtra girls

University of Cincinnati awards $300,000 (Rs 13500, 000) Global Opportunity scholarship to two rural Maharashtra girls

Online PR News – 29-July-2011 – – University of Cincinnati (UC) announced the coveted Global Opportunity Scholarship worth Rs 6750000 each (Rs Sixty-seven lakh fifty thousand) to be awarded to two meritorious rural-Maharashtra student girls making India the first beneficiary country of the UC Global Opportunity Scholarship Initiative launched this year.
The new UC global opportunity scholarship is meant for students with a proven academic track record while overcoming significant financial and social challenges. These winners will receive full scholarships, including full tuition, housing, meals, and airfare for a total value of over $150,000 each, to pursue their bachelor's engineering degree at UC commencing September 2011. In early September, Jon Weller, the Director of international admissions at University of Cincinnati, will personally visit the students and their families to escort the students back to University of Cincinnati.
UC spokesperson said the selection of the candidates was important and right from the initiation, UC partnered with a prestigious non-profit organization Lend-A-Hand India (LAHI) that helps students in rural India. Lend-A-Hand India was launched in 2003 by young professionals and is based both in India and in New York City. At present, LAHI runs a three year job and life skills training program in 61 villages, reaching more than 10,000 students and closely working with the government aided high schools and the communities around them. With its well-established presence in rural India and experience of working with the marginalized section of the society, LAHI was uniquely positioned to partner with UC to help select qualified students. This partnership was critical to the thorough selection process and identification of the two deserving and underprivileged Indian students for the full scholarships.
After the formal announcement of the scholarships in August 2010, LAHI invited nominations for the scholarships from principals of selected high schools. All the principals extended excellent cooperation and made their best efforts to select two deserving candidates and nominate them to LAHI. Once the nominations were received, the students were invited to Pune where tests and interviews were administered. After this rigorous initial stage, fourteen students were shortlisted, submitted applications and the LAHI team visited homes of these students to understand the challenges faced by these students and to meet with their parents.

Charles Schwartz, Assistant Director for International admissions at UC also visited Pune and met with the LAHI team. The applications were then reviewed at University of Cincinnati with all other evaluators to finally select the two winners. Now that the winners of the scholarships have been announced, Lend-A-Hand India is also helping the students prepare for their journey abroad in a few months.

Over the next 2 months, the students will work with LAHI and UC’s country coordinator, Anjali Khavnekar, to prepare themselves for study abroad. Meanwhile University of Cincinnati is making arrangements to involve Indian professors and students in Cincinnati to ensure that these students make a smooth transition to life in U.S.A.

About the University of Cincinnati (

The University of Cincinnati was founded in 1819 in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently enrolls over 41,000 students. Serving as a global destination for education, UC has nearly 2,000 international students – including over 650 students from India. This comprehensive university offers hundreds of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines, including those in the fields of Business, Education, Engineering, and the Natural and Social Sciences. Many of its programs have earned high ranks both nationally and internationally.

Some of its notable rankings include:

Top 5 co-op program in the nation (U.S. News & World Report)
Top 25 public university for research (National Science Foundation)
Top 50 research library in the USA (Association of Research Libraries)
Top 100 “elite value” in higher education (Money magazine)
Top 300 world research university (Shanghai Jiatong University World Ranking of Research Universities)
One of the most beautiful campuses in the world (Forbes Magazine)
One of less than 100 U.S. universities classified as Very High Research Activity (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching)
- other universities sharing this classification include Harvard University, Michigan State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California-Berkeley, and Yale University.
About Lend-A-Hand India (
Lend A Hand India (LAHI) provides vocational training by way of “work-centric school education” to young boys and girls from high schools in rural India. Currently, working with government aided high schools in the remote villages in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa, LAHI runs a three year job and life skills training program in 61 villages reaching more than 10,000 youth. The program has been formally recognized by government of Maharashtra as part of the curriculum.
LAHI recruits local trade practitioners (carpenters, plumbers, electricians, agriculturists etc) to teach trade skills at local high schools for one a day week for three years, making the high school education much more practical and relevant. The impact of this model has been outstanding-- over 25% of the students are now getting admission to much sought after higher technical education, positively impacting attendance, and school drop out rates at the same time empowering girl students as well.

LAHI's co-founder Sunanda Mane was recently awarded the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship for the work done by Lend A Hand India.