Throughout my childhood, my parents instilled a belief in me that the world is an equal and just place. But growing up in remote towns in South India, I was soon exposed to the inequalities and injustices of my world. I wondered then if there was a magic pill to overcome these disparities. Without looking far, I discovered one of the many solutions through my experience. That is Education.
My paternal grandfather, who hailed from a family of farmers, broke away and took up a job in the Railway Police despite not completing his education and ensured that his children, my father and his two sisters, graduated. On the other hand, my mother was deprived of formal education due to lack of a school in the vicinity of 16 villages where she lived. Coming from such backgrounds, my parents were certain that me and my two siblings studied professional courses. Today my brother and I are engineers, and my sister is a doctor. Thanks to his education, my father, a senior officer in an insurance giant, has been able to provide quality education to us. I realise now that education is the gamechanger. One generation that is educated is all it takes to reduce inequalities significantly, almost irreversibly.
Graduating as a Mechanical Engineer from VNR Vignana Jyothi Engineering College, I got placed in an IT MNC and began to work as Project Management and Operations Lead. Working closely with the enablers of the organization helped me to learn how IT solutions could solve real world problems with their leverage of scale and efficiency.
In pursuit of learning experiences, I set up TEDxVNRVJIET Community & lead it with 50+ members at my college. Being TED Licensee, I’ve had the opportunity to curate and discuss ideas worth spreading, with eminent personalities, an enriching experience that revealed the importance of human development through the lens of education, livelihood, and the use of technology in various sectors. Impressed by the passion and possibilities the community offered I attended TED workshops focusing on community engagement, leadership & ideas curation. It had changed my thinking in substantial ways. I intended to understand social development and the problems facing by the other parts of my country, India.
Determined to understand the act of giving, receiving and vulnerability, I was hitchhiking a lot places with help of strangers. I spent 3 years, hitchhiking whenever and wherever possible, asking for help and listening to strangers’ stories and reflecting on them. Ranging from BMW to Eicher lorry, I was offered help by youngsters, ladies, veterans and everyone. These experiences burst my bubbled opinions on india’s problems and the solutions we give over coffee table conversations.
In 2019, I was 24 years old and was willing to leave my safe, secure corporate IT job at Tata, to live and learn about the realities of my country India,
I applied for a fellowship at Azim Premji Foundation, Asia’s fifth largest philanthropic organization, whose vision ‘to facilitate a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society’ appealed deeply to me. I was one of the nine recipients selected from over ten thousand applicants for the fellowship.Quitting comfortable corporate job in metropolitan city, Hyderabad, to live in a small town Sirohi, Rajasthan during the march 2019 summers is one of the toughest out-of-comfort-zone experiences, I've ever put myself into.
During this period, I taught at a government school. It has revealed to me the stark reality of current education levels in my country. I worked closely with the school authorities and nearby communities, studied the correlation between family’s social, economic means and girl child’s dropout rate and worked with Government functionaries to understand how they’re addressing these issues.As COVID lockdown has begun during March 2020, I continued living in Sirohi and witnessed the disruption of economic and social growth of deprived communities first hand while working with the Government departments on food and medical supply distribution.
With these life changing learning experiences, I decided to commit to the service of humanity in my own way.The more I began to work for children, the more I understood the importance of education as well as other factors which contributes to a quality of life. Watching 11 siblings living under a single roof with parents. The parents’ struggle to provide a healthy meal to them. The violence and the abuse the children go through in their daily lives, always taught me an important lesson – Do not consider anything for granted in life.
Being an outsider to the development facets of India, Foundation has given me tremendous opportunities to understand the complexity of issues and scope to work on my strengths and contribute to social change.For the past four years, I have been working for the public education system in remote areas of India, in states such as Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh.Poverty, Livelihood, Hunger are some of the factors that were affecting families, and directly learners in the classroom. The more I study the issues and solutions, I could witness how governments and organisations are trying to solve the problems in their own ways depending on resources, technology & commitment.
Spending four years on the field and looking at the solutions the government and other organisations are coming up, I've decided to invest time in studying the complex social development through multi-disciplinary course- Masters in International Development Studies at Graduate Institute of Geneva.Sadly, I couldn't avail any scholarship through college.
I'm pooling up my savings and considering an education loan to bear my tuition expenses (Tuition fee for 2 years is 14 Lakhs (17000USD))Geneva being the third most expensive city in the world. The basic living expenses are ranging to 40 Lakhs(51000USD). As the Labour laws are very stringent in Switzerland, they do not allow the non-residents to work for first 6 months. Relying on part time job to pay up 40 Lakhs seems to be a feeble option. I've planned to pursue my studies and work in social development sector, at larger scale in my own country.54 Lakhs of loan is forcing me to reprioritise my future plans, at least to repay the loans.
I want to worry less about securing my future and focus more on studies.
In future, I intend to continue to work in Development Sector. I do not want to spent my 2 years of studies with a constant fear of loans and repayments and affect my learning experiences and the exposure the course is offering me.
This fund would help me out to live a meagre life in Geneva and finish my studies. Also, you’d be helping out an artist to continue pursuing his art.
Hence, I seek help from all of you. Could you please fund whatever is possible for you, for my higher education? Thank you so much in advance.