Conceptualized in 2012 by Amit Chandra, the Mother Teresa Fellowship (MTF) is a values-based early career fellowship for Ashoka University graduates committed to shaping careers in social impact. The MTF programme endorses a dedicated leadership approach to build innate strength and resilience that enables young leaders to successfully navigate complex and challenging situations. Through the course of 18 months, fellows delve into the social impact space to forge a better understanding of self and its correlation to one’s efforts in civil society.
The Mother Teresa Fellowship is an early-career programme that supports selected, high-potential Ashoka University graduates working full-time in the social impact sector. Started in 2012 as a scholarship initiative, the programme currently provides mentorship, capacity building, networking and community building support, in addition to a financial stipend for Fellows earning below Rs. 40,000 per month.
MTF is a values-based programme that aspires to lay the foundation of future leaders who have a nuanced understanding of the confluence between social impact, society and self. The programme’s support structure facilitates a transformative journey that pushes Fellows beyond their physical, emotional and mental boundaries. It aims to build and harnesses innate resilience and strength to tackle complex and difficult situations head on. Thought-provoking dialogue triggers meaningful and inspiring action, and forms the crux of the MTF nurturing process. Our goal is not to create a uniform set of “social impact leaders,” but offer each Fellow the tools to ask what leadership means to them and how they want to go engage with the depth of their potential.
The Fellowship is open to alumni and students graduating from the Young India Fellowship, MLS, MA, Ashoka Scholars Programme, and Undergraduate degree.
The MTF is a rigorous programme that is as much about personal growth as it is about social impact.
The following values lie at the core of MTF and everyone who is associated with it:
MTF is an 18-month programme that starts on November 20, 2021 and culminates on May 20, 2023. The programme will begin with an orientation in November 2021, followed by a learning engagement every 6 months.
Please note that attendance at all four forums for the entire duration is mandatory. MTF will liaise with the fellow’s employers to highlight the core tenets of the programme and why attendance is mandatory to reap its full benefits, not only for the fellows but also for their participating organisation.
In addition to the orientation and workshop, MTF provides Fellows with the following support mechanisms:
Please note: You do not have to require financial support to apply for MTF; the programme is also open to applicants earning above Rs. 40,000 per month.
Any student who has graduated from the following programmes at Ashoka University (or will be graduating before the start of the MTF) and is either already working in or entering a full-time career in social impact is eligible to apply for the MTF:
The applicant could be working at an NGO, social enterprise, development think tank, development consulting firm, or starting their own organization. As long as there is a clear social impact goal that the organization and the applicant’s role aspires to achieve, you are eligible to apply – the mode of achieving that impact can be varied.
The MTF programme is not open to academic research, independent projects that do not require a full-time commitment, part-time or consultant based roles, and roles/organizations that do not have a clear social impact motive.
MTF is looking for exceptional individuals who show the potential to push boundaries, take on complex challenges, and ask difficult questions. We are looking for candidates who exhibit the values that the programme stands for in their actions.
The selection process is extremely rigorous and will involve multiple stages. All of these stages will be driven over Zoom calls in this MTF 2021 selection cycle to be covered over October 2021.
Final decisions will be sent latest by November third week. A call for interview does not guarantee the award of the Fellowship; the Selection Committee takes into account many criteria when selecting Fellows. Our focus is to find the right candidates who have the highest potential to benefit from MTF. The programme can award a maximum of 20 Fellowships in each cohort.
Yes, absolutely. The Fellowship is meant for graduates and alumni from Ashoka University who are working full-time in the social impact sector. The programme runs parallel to your full-time role and is designed in a way that it adds to the work you are doing.
You are not required to have a job in the social impact sector at the time of application. This implies that you can apply for MTF 2021 while you are looking for a job in the social impact sector. However, you are required to have an offer letter in hand by November 20, 2021. We understand the COVID – 19 situation has had widespread ramifications and hence we will consider exceptional circumstances.
Yes, MTF will speak to your employer about the Fellowship and explain the benefits of being a part of the programme to them. However, once selected, Fellows are encouraged to take the first step and be proactive in facilitating that communication.
Yes, it is mandatory for each Fellow to attend all the forums for their entire duration. Failure to do so can lead to termination of the Fellowship. Exceptions might be granted in situations of personal emergency or health related circumstances.
The MTF forums are planned in a way that they only take you away virtually/physically from your job for less than 12 days over the course of 18-months. To the maximum extent possible, we have included weekends in the forums so the Fellow is away from work for the least amount of time. Once selected, Fellows are encouraged to tell their employers about their engagement well in advance.
Please remember that MTF looks for people who are willing to push themselves out of their comfort zones physically, emotionally and mentally. In terms of the application and selection process, the only tip we have is to be genuine!
For further information, please write to the Mother Teresa Fellowship programme team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications for the present cohort are closed.
MTF alumni share their thoughts on the value of the fellowship.
“The Mother Teresa Fellowship has played a crucial role in my life in not only making me realise who I am but also who I want to be and maybe how I can get there. It has helped reinforce in me a certain set of values and has made me self-conscious of whether I am practicing those values in my real life or no. It has also been a platform where I have had the opportunity to meet the best of the people and establish organic real relationships with them, without any artificialities. A community like the MTF, according to me, is essential for everyone who wants to embark on this journey of wanting to ‘change the world’, because we need companions in that journey, and we need friends.”
“The journey of working in the social impact sector is often as much a personal journey as a professional one. Many of my heroes in life often talk about intertwining of the personal and the professional as a way of maximizing one’s potential, a way towards contentment. The MTF journey enabled me to look into the aspects of the self and work towards them. Also, interactions with co-fellows working on the ground bring newer insights into the conventional top-down approach of problem solving that I resort to in my work.”
“I am often asked, “What is Mother Teresa Fellowship?”, “How is it really helping you?”, “What does it mean to you?”. I am very happy to see the answers to these questions beginning to crystallize. MTF has rendered an environment where I can be myself, shed all my inhibitions and become a part of a group that embraces your weaknesses and celebrates your strengths. The devotion, sincerity of purpose, and steadfastness of every fellow in the cohort is infectious and leaves me reinvigorated every time. For me the fellowship has been that wall, that anchor, the reassurance that I am not alone in this journey!”