Our vision
To transform lives in the poorest communities to build a modern, inclusive India.
To groom the leaders of tomorrow and develop as entrepreneurs to bring about this change

Why we exist

Our purpose and reason for existence is three fold:
To scale the quality and impact in development sector, by significantly raising the bar on performance and sustainability;
To enrich the talent pool (both in size and quality), particularly entrepreneurial, for the development sector as a whole;
To promote development entrepreneurship through actual practice, academic training, policy change, and corporate philanthropy.

Our story

Ved Arya

Founder – SRIJAN & Buddha Fellowship Program

“To make ordinary men and women do extraordinary things, is my mission in life.”

In 1981, Ved was working with the Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai when he witnessed the plight of the fishermen folk on his way to work. Deeply moved by their hardships, he sought a different path for himself. Leaving behind a life of comfort in the corporate world, Ved chose to spend six months working with some of the poorest people in rural India, searching for ways and means with which he could use his education and skill to better their lives. During this period an opportunity to meet many Gandhians including Baba Amte and his wife Sadhana who lived a life of simplicity left an indelible mark on him. He decided to join PRADAN, a grassroots non-profit organisation engaged in ending poverty in rural India.

The US Government awarded Ved Hubert Humphrey Fellowship in 1990 to study at MIT and Harvard and intern at the World Bank. He was at Tufts as United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Fellow and returned to India to serve.

In 1997, Ved founded SRIJAN (Self-Reliant Initiatives through Joint Action). SRIJAN is today one of the foremost non-profit organizations in India bringing sustainable livelihood opportunities for the rural poor, having impacted over 78,000 poor rural families in 7 different Indian states. After mentoring over 750 development professionals, Ved is now on a mission to mentor a 1000 Development Entrepreneurs, drawn from academic backgrounds similar to the one he had. A need for building a second wave of leaders who will work for the benefit of the rural population in India by launching profitable enterprises is the driving force behind Buddha Fellowship Program, which was launched in 2017 within SRIJAN
Connect with Ved
Given the need for enterpreneurial approach, Buddha Fellowship Program works in several sectors including rural livelihoods (incl. Climate Change), health, financial education, and energy.

Buddha Fellowship Program emerges from our parent institution, Srijan that is committed to promote sustainable and self-reliant models of rural development.

People behind Buddha Fellowship

Advisory Council Team Mentors
Ved Arya

Founder and Director
Buddha Fellowship Program
Sheila Hooda

Chief executive Officer
Alpha Advisory Partners, USA
Sushil Ramola

President Integrated Mountain Initiative (INMI)
Om Damani

Co-Incharge, Technology and Development Solutions Cell Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Ankur Sarin

Public Systems Group (primary member)
avi J Mathai Center for Innovation in Education IIM Ahmedabad
Rajeev Kapoor

IAS (Retired)
Ved Arya

Founder and Director
Buddha Fellowship Program
Souvik Dhar

Team Leader
Shipra Singh

Theme Leader
Asha Gopinath

Marketing Consultant
Consultant – Digital Marketing & Communications
Kunal Ranjan

Media Consultant
Parmesh Shah

Samir Behl

Ajay Muttreja

Chitranjan Dar

Rohit Bhasin

VS Kannan Sitaram

Our mentor network

BFP partners with NGOs (places Fellows with them) in the sectors of health and rural livelihoods. BFP collaborates, for purposes of mentorship and research with Academic Institutions/ Incubators such as CIIE of IIMA, CTARA of IIT Mumbai, Hubli Sandbox of Deshpande Foudation.

More than 30 eminent people from industry, government and social sector have interacted with and mentored the fellows.

Buddha Fellowship Programme is also thankful to Axis Bank for their continued financial support.

Access to expertise through a network

News & Events


IIT Kanpur – 61st Institute Foundation Day and Alumni Award Ceremony

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Ved Arya, founder at Buddha Fellowship Program, receiving the Business Standard Award

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Lots of Opportunities for Buddha Fellows in Agribusiness : Adarsh Kumar

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Axis Bank partners NGO Srijan to mentor IIM graduates

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