Internship at Rakshak Foundation – Pragya from Harcourt Butler Technological Institute Kanpur

Internship at Rakshak Foundation

Once you do something you love, you never have to work again. Pragya is pursuing Information Technology and shares her amazing experience of internship days.

I am pursuing my Bachelors in Information Technology from HBTI Kanpur. I thought of doing an internship in my summer break to learn something fruitful. For that I dropped my CV on Internshala in January, 2015. For three months I searched for the most suitable one. Then I came across a post from ‘Rakshak Foundation’ on Internshala. I had heard about the rigorous nature of its research program. This is an internship organized by USA based NGO-‘Rakshak Foundation’ which selects 125 students from prominent institutes of India every year to research on public policy issues under the mentorship of bureaucrats and professors from reputed universities. Strange was the fact that I selected a non-technical internship for myself when everyone around me was going for summer training in computer languages, web designing and android app development. The only driving force for me to join this internship was a one on one interaction with people on significant positions about matters that deeply concern us like corruption, criminal justice system, education and health system in India etc. As common people we can hardly think of the root causes of these problems. Moreover my keen desire to become a civil servant someday landed me in this internship.

But it was not easy to get through the selection procedure. Rakshak Foundation mostly recruits students from IITs, IIMs, NITs, BITS, and some renowned colleges of Delhi University through a well established placement cell system. While applying for it I had two options, either to write an application to them and make them come to my college campus for recruitment through placement cell or apply individually. The chances of selection were more in the former case but it was a long procedure. So I decided to apply individually. The application form was very descriptive in nature. It took me three days to finally submit my application form. Then the wait for a phone call began. A month passed by with no response. I almost gave up the hope when I got a call which I mistook to be a fake one and ignored. From nowhere it struck me to check the number on true caller and to my dismay I had rejected the call from my dream internship program. I called them back two days later.

I was asked for a telephonic interview and then a 1000 word article on ‘Regulating Pornography in India’. I submitted the article even in the midst of my ongoing semester examinations. I finally made it to the ‘Rakshak Foundation Summer Research Internship Program 2015’. It was indeed a very happy day of my life as I had already started dreaming of becoming an IAS officer someday.

I joined the program on 23rd May, 2015 at IIIT Delhi. I was given the project on ‘Analysis of Trends in CSR Activities- Outcome and Way Forward’ under the mentorship of Shri. Vivek Kumar Agnihotri IAS, Former Secretary General, Rajya Sabha. Now the phase of sincere hard work began. For these two months I got isolated from everything expect my mentor and my project. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) was a completely new term for me. I read scores of books, articles, research papers and annual reports of hundreds of companies before beginning with my project. Guidance from my mentor was tremendous. Had he not been there to guide me about what is to be read and from where, I would have never finished reading and learning the wide area of scope of CSR.

The best part of the internship was that every week we had lectures on some current issues by bureaucrats and professors. There is a long list of people who addressed us, some of them were- Sh. K.L. Gupta former DIG UP on ‘Criminal Justice System in India’, Sh. T.L. SatyaPrakash Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon on ‘Public Policies’, Smt. Kalpana Gopalan Commissioner Bangalore on ‘Rapid Urbanization in India’ , a guest lecture by RTI Activists and many more. Another very significant feature of the program was, we were supposed to present our weekly developments in the form of presentations to the class. In this manner we got to know the other areas of study too.

We had some fun moments too. Every week we submitted our ‘Aha Moments of the Week..!’ Interaction with interns from different states and background was an altogether different experience. A visit to Indian Parliament was indeed a very informative and enjoyable moment. The internship coordinators timely organized group discussions on ‘Greek Crisis’, ‘Islamic State in Syria and Iraq’ and ‘Every Cloud has Silver Lining’ etc. We had a photo session in the end. Also a documentary on the internship experience of interns was made for a memorabilia.

As far as my project was concerned, regular meetings with the mentor at his residence, field visits and interviews of the companies CSR Head proved very beneficial. I visited Max India Foundation, NTPC and Development Alternatives (NGO) to get a deeper insight into my project. In the end I could come up with a satisfactory report from my findings, which was later approved by my mentor and my happiness knew no bounds. Eventually my hard work paid.

If Pragya’s experience motivates you, you can check the latest internships in Delhi and Political/Economics/Policy Research internships.

Editor’s note- Have you got an internship story to share? A chance to win cool Internshala T and other cash prizes by sharing your internship story here.

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