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Last August as a part of our ‘Social Impact and Pledge 1%’ commitment, o9 started a partnership with Foundation for Excellence (FFE). We started a mentorship initiative called ‘Transforming Lives’, with the support of o9ers. FFE is an organization that supports the development of talented students from financially constrained backgrounds, providing them with the chance to receive proper education in different fields, predominantly in STEM. In this program, mentors provided guidance to the young students in their pre-final year of university, helping them prepare for future employment.

FFE was founded with the mission to award college scholarships to underprivileged students who showed great promise in the engineering, medical, pharmacy, and law programs. These sectors were chosen as they are some of the most expensive higher education programs in India. Individual donors, corporations, and foundations from around the world and FEE’s alumni provide donations to this program.

In total, 32 o9ers mentored 32 students at our office in India. They shared their invaluable career experiences, providing experiential guidance, and helping students build critical soft skills. These included time and stress management, communication skills, career development, etiquette, problem-solving, decision making, and interpersonal skills, to help prepare students for the corporate world and enable them to get the right job. 

This initiative, conducted at a crucial stage in their university journey, proved to be a major step for the students on their path to employment. 

Here’s what participating o9ers and students had to say about their experience: 

“The potential my mentee showed was incredible. It was all thanks to his own abilities and the skills he has naturally. For him, it is hard to break from traditional thinking when you are coming from a small town, but he gradually began to believe in himself. This program was also a great learning experience for me. I have high hopes for him, thanks a lot for being with me on this journey.” – Tailjinder Singh, mentor

“Initially, I had the aim of learning something new, and English is not my first language, so I felt uncomfortable speaking up in class. I often knew the answer, but I felt insecure and I would say nothing. This program gave me the platform to improve and gain confidence, all thanks to my mentor. I also improved my presentation skills and time management. It was an enriching experience for me, and I was very happy to be part of this program. Thank you all so much for this opportunity.” – Divya D, mentee

“I felt I was failing and was not interacting in class, as I was doubting myself and my skills. My relationship with my mentor helped me prepare an application for a job and to develop. Thank you for helping me grow and build confidence in myself!” – Amit Pandey, mentee

“Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a mentor. I also came from a similar background, and I know the difficulties and obstacles for young people that are not given a chance. As a mentor all I had to do was show my mentee they were capable, I was igniting skills and abilities that he already had. It was such a rewarding opportunity.” – Akshay Tiwari, mentor

Our o9 mentors relished the opportunity to engage in the initiative and are looking forward to the next edition at the end of 2022. We are working on the format together with FFE for next year and setting goals. We will also be extending the offer to new o9ers, who are willing to participate and help students on their career paths. In the future, we are planning to expand the list of offered skills. 

Overall, it was a great learning experience for everyone involved, as they found a great sense of accomplishment and purpose in the mentorship program.

Enjoyed hearing about o9’s initiatives? Read more impactful stories here at our social impact website.

Shravya Srinivas

Shravya is a Consultant at the o9 India office. She enjoys client interactions and solving business problems. When she is not sitting in front of a computer plugging away on a keyboard or jogging her mind to get things done, you'll find her out exploring places, photographing aesthetics, or indulging in an evocative book. Shravya has been a perpetual advocate of Social & Environmental welfare, and her passion impelled her to be closely involved with o9's Social Impact mission.