Strengthening Roots, Spreading Wings

Udaan Program is unique in itself as it works firectly with the tribal, drop-out or married young girls. It is a year-long immersive journey for young women (16-24 years old) from tribal and disadvantaged communities who go through a process of inner transformation and lead social change in their villages by designing and implementing action projects in their communities.

Most of the alike Programs in India ask for at least a graduate degree and usually work with highly achieved individuals who are proficient in English, thus, excluding the ones who reside in tribal areas and who could not complete their education but are passionate to learn, pursue their interests and work for the development of their communities. Our experience with the young women from villages of Harda has brought light to their willingness and potential to transform unjust societies if they are given the right exposure and learning opportunities.

Therefore, Udaan fellowship was initiated by Synergy Sansthan in partnership with Center for Catalysing Change keeping in mind the specific learning needs of young women. Currently, the program is supported by Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative.

The program aims to empower young women (16-24 years old) from rural communities to take charge of their lives, develop aspirations, identify their potential, gain awareness about the social realities that restrict them from realizing their potential and become role models for other young people by leading social and cultural change in their communities. This will be achieved when they: Challenge internalized gender norms, roles, and behaviours; build a vision for themselves, their families and their communities; work towards that vision by developing strong leadership skills


Udaan Program follows a ‘Strengthening roots, spreading wings’ approach to leadership development among young women. We believe that it is essential to strengthen the roots of the candidates by making them more aware about themselves - their individual and social identity, their strengths and weaknesses, their fears and aspirations, their rights and their social and cultural surroundings. This process helps them in coming out of their shells, knowing themselves better, questioning normalized gender attitudes and understanding the social nature of their problems. Candidates also identify different skills and areas that they wish to work upon for self-development during this process.

In the second part of the approach, Udaan candidates spread wings by increasing their area of influence, becoming role models for other young people in their communities and facilitating similar journeys for other young women. For this, candidates participate in conceptualization and implementation of a social action project in their communities. 

Varsha Soni, (2016-17)

When I joined the fellowship, I had just one big dream. I wanted to be known by my name. Before this, people referred to me by my father's name but this one year changed everything. With the work that I did, I was able to reach out to so many children and talk about good touch bad touch. Above that, my fear of speaking in front of people vanished. I feel more confident to be who I am.  


1. Any girl/young woman who belongs to Harda district of Madhya Pradesh and is between the age group of 16-24 years.

2. Is committed to work on her dreams and work in her village on the same with atleast 10 girls/young women.

3. Is willing to dedicate and commit around 30 days away from her village for workshops and internships.

4. Is ready to give atleast 10 days/month for implementing the social action project in her community along with a co-anchor (saheli)