I need to raise 25,000 CA Dollars (INR 15 Lakh) - tuition fee of 14,931 CA$ (INR 8.8 Lakh) and 10,000 CA$ (INR 5.9 Lakh) mandatory for students to show proof of funds to live there. I have to pay 7797 CA$ (INR 4.6 Lakh) before the 25th August deadline. One of the bank's said, "they need at least 70% marks in Class 10 and 12". This period happens to be a time when I was recovering from the trauma of being bullied and physically abused as a kid in school for being gay.
I was at my lowest. I had no one in this world to go and ask for help. I was scared. A young innocent kid being grabbed by two-three boys every day as he tries to reach the school bus is an extremely scary experience. They used to ruffle my clothes, put sand on me, my eyes and leave me feeling violated. Touch my genitals. Rub theirs on me. This severe bullying and abuse made me quit going to school. It developed into a phobia for schools and uniforms. It also made me feel ashamed to identify myself as a gay man. I dealt with the trauma for 4 years after the 9th standard. While I was too ashamed to tell my parents, they saw me suffering and agreed to my decision to self-study and pursue Class 10 and 12 from the National Institute of Open Schooling, an education board under the Government of India.
The bullying I faced convinced me that the world can be very unkind and harsh for a kid. No kid should go through this. Bullying can be a life-threatening experience and I went through that. I felt like I didn't exist. I felt numb. I did not know who I was and what I should be for not to be bothered by anyone.
Through these years, I dealt with severe depression which also led me to attempt suicide. But I decided to give myself a second chance, another attempt at life. I started educating myself about culture and music -- they became my support system. I went on to get a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Even during the initial days, I was very scared, thinking all the torture will happen again. I was not a regular 18-year-old.
My first ever job was as a trainee at the Fortune India magazine. I am a self-taught person who has fought against all odds, and with extremely limited formal education reached a place where I could write articles and be applauded for them. All my peers appreciated my work a lot, they looked forward to it, every week. After pursuing a postgraduate program in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, I worked as a reporter for Patriot Newspaper in Delhi, India for 1 year and 6 months. I have done a series on manual scavenging, an illegal practice that has taken many lives. I also wrote on governance, environment, law, policy, and urban mobility. Many of the stories I covered were on marginalised sections of the Indian society like LGBTQIA+, contractual workers, and people who faced a tragedy in life. Through some stories, I became the voice of the voiceless.
I have also interviewed and did a story on a bill by the Member of Parliament - Shashi Tharoor - who tweeted and called it an "excellent piece." In 2019, I did an investigative story on a Netflix series on the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case, and covered the discrepancies in the show and got first-hand accounts of the witnesses and real-life characters.
I currently work as a Communications Manager at a research centre working towards built environments. I do not earn enough to support higher education and I need formal training in communications to excel in my career. This is my only chance in life to get a good education, and with support from everyone here, it can come true.
My father, who runs a small business, cannot take care of my education funds. Getting an unsecured education loan was my last bet, as we do not have any collateral to offer as security.
I will forever be grateful if I can raise the mentioned amount and be the first person from my family to study in a good college outside India. Perhaps, this step will make my dream about a life where I can live freely as who I am, and in a society that is kind to gay people come true. I aim to continue my career in communications and work for a research-based organization making lives better through effective solutions.