My name is Ibrar and I have been a Journalist for five years, working as an education and heritage reporter in the Delhi edition of the Times of India. I hold an unconditional offer to study a postgraduate degree offer from the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK. I got the offer letter in early February this year. But now I require funds to go there to study.
After years of my experience in journalism I want to expand on my knowledge and thus I chose to study the MA in South Asian Area Studies course.
As someone who has family residing in a few South Asian countries, as a consequence of the partition of India in 1947, I believe this course is ideal for me as it will help me understand things about these countries in a nuanced way. The course covers the social, political and cultural aspects of South Asia which I am keen on learning more about as I plan to put it to use as I continue to pursue journalism from an academic bent of mind.
I come from a family residing in a Muslim ghetto in Calcutta. I am a first-generation learner as both my parents were not educated due to the financial constraint they had growing up. Irrespective, they were very supportive of educating me and my siblings, and have always encouraged us to pursue our academic pursuits. It was their encouragement which lead me to do academically well all through school and college.
I was fortunate to get a job at the Times of India where I am currently a Senior Correspondent and have covered important events like the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and the Delhi Assembly election in 2020. I have also covered the Delhi Riots 2020 and have been covering the Farmers’ protest as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.
As an avid lover of history and heritage I also started a heritage walk venture by the name of ‘Delhi Djinn’ in late 2019. With almost 50 walks conducted under it, I have been fortunate to have met, interacted and befriended a number of heritage and history fans as part of the heritage walks which I did.
It was between my work that I had to prepare for my college essays, manage LORs and also apply for multiple scholarships in a short span of time.
My efforts paid off with the unconditional offer I received from SOAS. While it was a happy moment I was aware that I still need to collect funds as my parents cannot afford the amount.
The cost of studying the one-year course at SOAS is 22,500 pounds (23,28,483.04 INR ). While I have applied for multiple scholarships and I hope to get a response by the end of May or early June, I am looking for financial support. And though SOAS gives financial assistance of 3000 pounds (around 310464.41 INR ), the living expense in London would be around 15,000 pounds (1552322.03 INR ), bringing the total money required to be around 38,500 pounds (around 3984293.21 INR).
I have so far applied for scholarships such as Chevening, Felix, JN Tata Endowment, KC Mahindra Education Trust, etc. But I am yet to get a positive response from a few and it will take a few more weeks before I get the responses from others.
I cannot afford my education as father is the lone earner in the family besides me. He is a small-time businessman and has hardly had any work in the last one and a half years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Without any external help, it will be impossible for me to go to SOAS; something which I am keen on.
The most we can generate is 5-6 lakh rupees after much trouble. Taking a loan is also an option but I do not want to be under an educational debt and we do not have any collateral to give to the bank.
As an Indian student, like many before me, I would also work while I am studying there and earn for my living expenses.
Since I come from a background where my parents had to let go of their education due to lack of funds, I desire to help out the marginal sections of Indian society with their education dreams. I hope to be the bridge between them and their dreams while I pursue my career in journalism and continue to create a positive impact through my work.
For this I require your help and assistance in making my dream a reality, so please do contribute. Even if one person donates Rs 100 or Rs 500, it will help a lot as I hope to reach out to over one thousand people in the next few months before I leave.