Synergy’s Chakra Scholarship

Synergy Chakra Scholarship”

This was established in 2022. It aims to select students aged 14-15 and provide them with financial and other support so they might go into the maritime industry. It is reciprocal and incentive-based, and once they start earning Chakra beneficiaries are encouraged to reimburse the fund, in small instalments, to help support future scholars.

In November 2022 our CSR team was very active in increasing awareness of this marine education initiative, and of the industry in general.



SOS Children’s Village, Alibaug

On 18th November 2022 the team visited this international NGO south of Mumbai, which aims to build families for children in need, such as those who have been orphaned or abandoned, or whose relatives cannot care for them.

The session started with an introduction of our team, and also the students, and the guest speakers were Synergy’s Captain Viswanathan and Ms. Nutan Mhatre.

Captain Viswanathan introduced seafaring as a career by describing what the merchant navy is, everyday life in the industry and the possible ways to join. Seeking in particular to motivate the female students, Ms. Mhatre spoke of her own direct peer group - the women seafarers at Synergy - and highlighted the much wider industry acceptance, and so greater numbers, of women at sea.

The team then described the rationale of the Chakra Scholarship and its various components, like eligibility criteria and benefits. The students found the presentation engaging and many asked insightful questions about life in our maritime world, and how to progress.

There was also an activity to test teamwork and communication skills, with all showing a high level of enthusiasm and interest, and at the end each student received a small kit containing a folder, pen, notepad, pencil, eraser and lastly a small piece of chocolate.

As well as being a very noticeable success, this event was highly rewarding in raising awareness of the maritime industry and motivating the students in considering it as a career option. The team was deeply moved and greatly inspired by the children’s keen participation and by the zeal shown by youngsters from highly disadvantaged backgrounds. We hope to see as many as possible of them become leaders, and to support them in their journey ahead.



Lady Khatun Marium Navik School

On 24 November 2022 the team again presented on our Chakra Scholarship.

This was on the campus of TS Rahaman in Nhava, which houses the Lady Khatun Marium Navik School, an academy offering equal opportunities to all children irrespective of their background.

With an audience of nearly 100 students, a short introduction was followed by a video showing the life of a seafarer, to give an overview of roles and responsibilities on board ship. Our team also talked about Synergy and its leading role in the maritime industry.

The team outlined some of the career paths in the maritime world, whether ashore or at sea, and then introduced the students to the Chakra Scholarship and its criteria and potential benefits.

Our efforts were especially steered towards female students. We cited leading examples of women seafarers, such as Sonali Banerjee, India’s first female Marine Engineer, and showed a short film on Captain Radhika Menon’s journey to becoming the first woman Captain in the Indian Merchant Navy.



Sevalaya

Captain Sudarsan Srinivasan, Director of Training, visited Chennai-based Sevalaya on 26 November. Sevalaya is an NGO with over 30 years of experience in the fields of education, healthcare, vocational training and village development. With presence in India and abroad, it lives up to its motto of “Love all, serve all” by rendering support to children, the destitute and others who are in need, no matter who they are or where they come from.

Over 120 students attended this gathering, with most very keen and excited to learn about seafaring and our scholarship initiative. The session started with a brief introduction of Synergy Marine Group and our vision for rendering support to communities in need. Captain Sudarsan then spoke about the merchant navy as a career and the opportunities it offers. The children had never heard of these possibilities, and were attentive listeners and keen questioners, on topics like what the merchant navy actually is, life as a seafarer, routes towards becoming one and the career path ahead. As before, this was followed by an introduction to the Chakra Scholarship, and likewise Captain Sudarsan emphasised the increasing presence of women in the maritime industry and again showed the inspirational film footage on Captain Menon. The girls were encouraged to consider a maritime role, in terms of opportunities, responsibility, personal development and income, and the sheer enthusiasm and desire to learn among all the students was highly motivating and hugely rewarding.

From their positive feedback, the students plainly found the session very insightful and informative, and we hope that this initiative can help to set a path for young children and teenagers alike in considering a bright future and then turning their dreams into reality.