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Year 12 Dubai Student Facilitates EducateNow

by Eddie Rayner

Rashika Rathore, a Dubai-based year 12 student firmly believes that an educated community is an empowered community. The budding social change maker has embarked on a mission to promote the EducateNow campaign that is under the umbrella of Century Financial UAE and Divine India.

With an avant-garde perspective, Rashika chose a path less trodden to make the most of the global exposure she experienced on her educational journey in the UAE. Her recent visits to Doda district in India’s Jammu and Kashmir brought to her notice the lack of educational facilities, inaccessibility to resources and challenges high-schoolers undergo despite immense potential and talent. Her campaign, EducateNowfocuses on skillsets that’ll empower students to feel equipped and confident for the corporate world and beyond.

Daughter of the successful businessman, Bal Krishen Rathore, Rashika believes that her father’s philanthropic spirit has been an inspirational force in her life too. Her role with the EducateNow campaign, a part of Bal Krishen’s Divine India initiative, seeks to create awareness of skill development among higher secondary school students. They have both aligned their initiatives with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 on promoting quality education.

A unique initiative that brings J&K’s Doda district to the forefront

Patriotism with a Purpose

For the expatriate community living in the UAE, the zeal to make a meaningful contribution to their motherland is an emotion. However, it is when the change begins at the grassroots level that it becomes revolutionary. With EducateNow, Rashika does just that and more – the first step of course is spreading goodwill towards the cause of education and creating equal opportunities. Further on, the initiative offers mentoring, online webinars, access to e-libraries, guest faculty, collaborations for research, exchange, twinning programs, and scholarships. It also aims at connecting universities across the UAE and GCC regions with the student community in the Doda district. In a giant leap toward becoming an active social change maker, EducateNow aims to choose 100 promising children, to be enrolled in various colleges in the UAE for access to global education trends. Currently, Rashika and the team are working in areas like Ghat, Jodhpur, Jatheli, Shadiwal, Parshula, and Mohala, in Jammu and Kashmir’s  Doda district.

Speaking about her experience with students in Doda, Rashika said: “At first, I was quite nervous while reaching out to them and sceptical if they would accept me and understand what I was trying to convey. However, I received an overwhelming response and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they too had high aspirations in life just like me. They have dreams of becoming a cardiologist, IAS officer, etc. but are also unsure given the lack of opportunities.”

Rashika is also passionate about girl empowerment and hence aims to find ways to support their future aspirations

Small Steps, Bigger Change

For a Year 12 student studying at Hartland International School in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai, the immersive programmes undertaken for students might seem like baby steps. But the impact that it will bring along will make perfect global sense in the backdrop of compassion shown to students experiencing social struggles. Rashika is also passionate about girl empowerment and hence aims to find ways to support their future aspirations. Her initiative is emphasising three fundamental areas such as career enrichment opportunities, global industry and institute linkages, and facilitating internships and placements. By bridging a small town like Doda to global education hubs, her campaign ensures that quality education prevails and that society is offered holistic opportunities to elevate.

Rashika’s visit to Doda district brought to her notice a lot more challenges faced by high schoolers

She was further determined to take up this cause when she was approached by a group of girls belonging to various institutes in Doda. Their concerns about continuing their education and the financial burden it causes to their parents struck a chord.

Rashika’s visit to the Doda district brought to her notice a lot more challenges faced by high schoolers than what meets the eye. EducateNow is a platform that intends to not just bridge divides but also reduce gender imbalances, and raise standards in the educational system.

Knowing the challenges faced by students in Doda, Rashika considers herself fortunate for the lifestyle she is blessed with in the UAE. After joining her school in Dubai, she took notice of the difference between the resources that she has access to, and how stressed the students in Doda felt to even attend a regular school.

A Legacy of Responsibility

For as long as she can remember, Rashika conveys that through his struggles her father has created a solid platform for social work in sectors such as education, health, environment, and youth empowerment. His Divine India Trust is involved in a lot of humanitarian and philanthropic activities back home in India and EducateNow is an integral part of this trust. Be it opening a school that focuses on holistic growth and development of young minds or creating business investment opportunities for their home state, when it comes to delivering true impact, Rashika has a legacy of responsibility to carry forward.