Worrin Muivah has over seven years of experience in the development and corporate sector across 4 countries in Europe and Asia. He is a Young India Fellow, a liberal arts postgraduate Fellowship delivered in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, King’s College London, Sciences Po Paris, University of California Berkeley and Yale University. Worrin completed his Master’s in Development Studies, specializing in Human Rights, Peace and Conflict Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University, in The Hague, Netherlands, on a fully funded scholarship from the Government of India. While at the Hague, he was also selected as one of the 30 participants from around the world for the Peacemakers 2016 Workshop/Conference on “Migration and Securitization of Europe : Views from the Balkan Corridor”, organized by Koc University, Istanbul in collaboration with the University of Kent.
Prior to setting up STEP, Worrin was the Head of Marketing/Outreach and Senior Programme Manager at The Naropa Fellowship. Worrin has also worked with Leaders’ Quest as a Program Coordinator and has been a part of three successful Quests in Romania, Malaysia and China. Previously, Worrin worked with N-Sight Consulting, a Think Tank specializing in the sphere of social policy and electoral behavior, where he successfully headed their North East India project enabling their client to emerge as the single largest party in the state election. Worrin has also worked with Amnesty International India in their “Undertrials Project” where he and his team successfully investigated the causes of excessive undertrial detention in the Indian prison system and campaigned for systemic change in the criminal justice system. They successfully published their findings in a report titled, “Justice Under Trial: A Study of Pre-trial Detention in India”.
I was born and brought up in Imphal, Manipur. Like most kids during our time, who were either first or second-generation learners, I grew up with nobody to guide or mentor me. My parents and immediate elders were unable to play such roles. So the only advice we ever received during our school days was, “Study hard, become somebody in life!” It was entirely up to us to figure this path out. And as such, my entire life became a series of trial and error.
Despite our financial predicament, my parents made sure that my siblings and I were sent to the best schools in Imphal. I believe my grandfather’s stubborn genes were passed on to my dad. My late grandfather is well-known back in the village as someone who sold most of his land and properties to send his eight children to the village’s private English school instead of the government school. Back in his days, land equalled respect, and he was ridiculed by most villagers for this ‘foolish’ action. But it is education that enabled all eight of his children to live comfortable lives. My dad treaded in his footsteps. He worked multiple jobs day and night to send us to some of the best schools in Imphal. After my graduation, I got the opportunity to pursue my post-graduate studies at the Young India Fellowship (YIF), Ashoka University, on a full-scholarship, as one of the 100 Fellows selected from all over India. Up until the end of the one-year program, the thought of going abroad for higher studies was something that was unthinkable. In hindsight, this was because of my conditioning in an environment where this prospect was passed off as something that we could never achieve in our lifetime. But when all my peers started sharing about their acceptance letters to reputed universities around the globe, I realized that if they could, I could too. With this new found realization and confidence, I started applying to universities abroad. After dozens of rejections, I got accepted at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) for my MA on a full-scholarship from the Government of India. The YIF was a stepping stone that opened doors, which ultimately allowed me to work with reputed companies and organizations all over India.
It was during the first lockdown that I had a moment of epiphany: I realized that I could be who I am today only because of the opportunities I received in my life. I did not come from a well-off family and my parents were not that well-educated, yet I had somehow made it in life due to the opportunities that knocked on my door. I also realized that 90% of the people I knew—who were smarter than me, had not been able to achieve what I did because they never got the opportunities that I did. This made me realize the power of seizing opportunities to maximize one’s success in life. When it dawned on me that thousands of students back home will be growing without proper mentorship and guidance to lead them to these opportunities, I pledged that I must do something about this. I had no idea how, but I knew I must act on it. With this realization, I resigned from my job and came back home to start STEP (Social Transformation and Educational Platform) in November 2020.
Since its inception, we have reached out to 5000+ students from Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh across 30+ institutes through our Career Awareness Workshops, Exposure Programs and Teacher Training Workshops. The second lockdown in 2021 hindered most of our physical work. In the midst of this confusion and helplessness, in our pursuit to still create impact even during the lockdown, I, along with my mentor Amit Kumar, ideated an online program to train underserved girls with 21st century work skills. This gave birth to the STEP Fellowship, a six-month-long merit-and-means employability program for women. Our first batch of 10 girls successfully graduated in February 2022. Six of them are now employed, two of them are pursuing their higher studies, one of them is preparing for competitive exams and the other one is undergoing tailoring training. This was only made possible through the generous contributions and donations from our well-wishers and supporters who believed in the vision we had for the STEP Fellowship. Your continued support is helping our second batch of 12 girls in their journey to achieve their dreams. We look forward to your continued support.