Help And Support For Education | Milaap
Help And Support For Education
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    from Belagavi, Karnataka


        I’m writing on behalf of my childhood friend, Manjula Y. Pawar. During our freshman year of high school, Manjula and I quickly became good friends.  We were in a graduating class of only thirty total and often walked home from school together.  With the lack of cell phones, we made lasting childhood memories of learning about each other.  After tenth grade, I moved to a science college, while she attended an arts college.  Now, I’m in the United States while she lives in India.  Even with the physical distance, we have always prioritized our friendship and see each other every year or so.  Throughout the years, our companionship—as well as her selfless, positive, and sincere character—has endured.  Despite our close friendship, she only confided the extremity of her struggles to me during my most recent visit to India.  She refuses to complain or give up, and is truly one of the strongest women I know.

In 2017, Manjula’s husband, Yankusa Pawar, passed away.  Ajay (their son) was in tenth grade, while Namrata (their daughter) was in fifth grade.  Manjula was left to take care of their children, as well as her aging mother with various health concerns.  At the same time, Manjula lost her job in Anekal (the Bangalore urban district).  Her husband’s family refused to help in supporting her, which forced her to move out of their family house and relocate to her native home in Gadag.  For months, Manjula was struggling to find a job.  She and her family relied on the generous support of her friends to survive until she was able to secure a position as a teacher.  

Her initial salary was about $137(Rs 10, 204) a month, an inadequate sum to provide for a family of four.  While being the head of the household, she is also suffering from polio and various stress-induced illnesses (such as low blood pressure).  She is doing everything that she can to fight for her family, neglecting to address her own health in favor of working long hours to provide for the household.  The combined medication bills for both herself and her mother drastically reduce her income (which must also pay for their rent, food, and the children’s education); this makes it even more difficult to support her family.  With the rise of the pandemic, Manjula’s already minimal salary was reduced by 60%—dropping her monthly income to only $82(Rs 6,107) a month.  

Her foremost concern is, and always will be, her family.  All she wants is to be able to support her children’s educational pursuits.  Her son, Ajay, hopes to attend college and earn a Computer Science engineering degree.  However, after graduating high school, he has had to sacrifice his dream.  With the lack of funds, he is now searching for a job to help his mother and the rest of the family.  In order to send him to college, he needs about ( RS 80,000) $1,075 a year, or a total of (RS 3,08,440 )$4,141 for four years. It also costs(Rs 17,500) $235 a year to keep their daughter, Namrata, in the ninth grade, or a total of (Rs 35,000) $470 to finish high school.  Manjula is a fighter.  But no one should have to do this alone.

Despite tremendous hardships, Manjula has always been an optimistic and compassionate friend in my life.  She is incredibly strong and deserving of more than what life has given her.  We hope that you’ll consider supporting her in any capacity that you’re able to—whether that is through sharing her story, donating whatever you can, or commenting on messages of support.  Anything helps.  Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about Manjula.  We are incredibly grateful for your support.

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