Armed Forces Medical College

23 June 2018

To felicitate our recent 10th- and 12th-standard graduates, to encourage this year's candidates, and to inspire all of our girls as they embark on the new school year, all enjoyed a day-trip and tour of the prestigious Armed Forces Medical College near Pune

AFMC is a premier medical institute of India acknowledged as a center of excellence for education and research.  The college provides training to undergraduate and postgraduate medical and nursing students with assured career prospects in the defense services.  It is located on a beautiful, quiet campus just outside of Pune.

Our Day

Visiting a prestigious higher education institution, and a military one at that, there was some apprehension amongst our girls towards this unfamiliar experience, especially when they understood they would be falicitated and addressed by a Major General, the dean of the college (behaviour was exemplary!).  So imagine the collective epiphany, when they discovered that Major General Madhuri Kanitkar is a female, who graduated 12th-science from a familiar school in Pune... a route accessible to all of our girls with hard work and study.
The girls were met on arrival by Major Sujit Bhoumik, who gave them a dignified welcome and accompanied them to a hall where they watched a short film on the history of AFMC.  Major General Kanitkar then addressed the group, sharing her own remarkable journey from the girls' age to the present, providing practical advice on their advancement, as well as great encouragement and inspiration to dream, to believe in themselves, be ambitious, and do their very best in whatever endeavour or career path they choose.  She interacted warmly with the girls, inviting and answering their questions:
"How did you choose this field for a career?  Do you remember any times when you felt like giving up?"
-Vaishnavi (8th st.)
Gen. Kanitkar: "My grandmother was a doctor and a role model for me.  And a visit to AFMC was the turning point in my life when I decided to serve my nation.  Indeed there were many times in my life when I felt like giving up!  Initially my parents were not supportive of my decision but now my family is proud of me.  Every woman faces many problems in her career as she has to maintain work/life balance.  But if you are committed you can surpass any difficulty."
"What is the admission procedure for AFMC and for nursing?"
-Sakshi (12th st. Science)

Gen. Kanitkar: "Any student who completes 12th Science (chemistry, physics, biology) can apply for admission.  All AFMC candidates sit the NEET exam, and for nursing there is also a separate exam."
"I'm a soccer player.  If I join the army can I continue playing?"
-Komal (8th st.)

Gen. Kanitkar: "Physical fitness is very important in the army, and team sports in particular teaches you how to work as a team member, how to be decisive while playing...  These things are important in the army, as well as in life to help us face challenges."
Major General Kanitkar then felicitated our 10th- and 12th-standard graduates, followed by a small reception with snacks and refreshments for the girls.  Major Sujit Bhoumik then gave the girls an extended tour of the campus, -all departments, auditorium, library, laboratories, explanations of modern medical equipment, -even the dormatories and recreational facilities on campus.  Major General Kanitkar addressed the girls one last time before their departure.  On the way home, the girls enjoyed a picnic lunch at Sarasbag Park, and time to digest all they had learned this day.

Major General Kanitkar felicitated our 10th/12th standard graduates

Vaishnavi presents a gift (with Dr. Anupama Sen)

Major Sujit Bhoumik starts our tour

Our 10th standard graduates (minus Arti, Asma)

Our present 12th standard girls (minus Naheda, Sumaiya)


Today's experience is just the latest made possible by the generosity of Margaret Mahfous (UK), who is already responsible for numerous of these kids' fondest childhood memories.  THANK YOU Margaret!
A special appreciation is due as well to Dr. Anupama Sen (pediatrician) in Pune, herself a past student of AFMC and a founding supporter of ASHA, for suggesting today's visit, helping to coordinate with AFMC, and chaperoning the girls.
And as always, thanks to Mukta and Shradha!
"I really want to be a nurse, so after completing my 12th-science, I am thinking of giving AFMC's entrance exam a try."
"General Kanatkar advised what opportunities my engineering diploma can provide in the armed forces, so now I am considering that."
"When I grow up I want to be a scientist and General Kanatkar told me what I need to study and what steps to take for that."
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