Gayatri Karjee, a Post-Graduate (admission batch 2022) student of English Programme, School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures, KISS-DU has been selected for the prestigious Green Hub Fellowship 2024-2025. She hails from the Soara tribe and is a native of Gajapati district in Odisha. The multi-talented Gayatri wears myriad hats, she has worked in the Business Process Services (BPS) at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and at Concentrics a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firm prior to completing her post-graduation in 2024 from Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) Deemed to be University. Gayatri has completed +2 Science and Graduation in Computer Science from KISS.

The Green Hub Central India Youth Fellowship Programme which is an initiative of the (Dusty Foot Foundation along with Support Partner Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation) is for a duration of ten months wherein the selected twenty-six aspiring youth across India shall learn about environmental conservation, climate action, sustainability, indigenous knowledge, livelihoods, social change, and community well-being through the power of rural tribal youth, community, and digital technology. This competitive fellowship received four hundred eighty five applications and Gayatri is the only one from Odisha to have been selected for the fellowship. It offers underprivileged students from marginalized communities a platform to learn vital skills in these domains and learn to carry out audio-visual documentation of community centric heritage of tribal Odisha from acknowledged experts. They shall be trained to digitally capture narratives and stories from communities in the above-mentioned domains and make films and documentaries, hence acting as change agents for their communities and making their voices heard.

The Green Hub Project is the first of its kind in India that looks at engaging and empowering youth especially from remote areas and marginalized communities in conservation action and social change by using the visual medium. The acquired skill of video documentation and the power of communication has given the young people the opportunity and ability to tell stories of their worlds effectively. This has helped many of them to go back to their roots and support their communities and document sustainable traditional practices. This fellowship has created a valuable platform for unheard stories. Many of the Green Hub Fellows have chosen to return to their communities and strengthen conservation and local livelihood innovations at the ground level, some have established themselves as climate actors and are supporting afforestation, spring-shed rejuvenation and community-led eco-tourism. Some have gone to work with NGOs, Forests Departments and local State Medicinal Plant Board.

During the process of interaction, Gayatri said that “there were several rounds of interviews which included both video and face-to-face. My experience was great because the staff, accommodation and food was excellent. I specifically want to mention that the staff there were most cordial and kind; they were very helpful and supportive, just like our teachers at KISS. I am really happy, grateful and blessed to get selected for this prestigious fellowship. It offers an opportunity to work with a great team for the welfare of my society and community and make my people’s life safe and sound.”