Overview:I am Rupesh Kadam, from Dharavi, Mumbai, which is one of the largest slums in the world. I have completed a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering with an aggregate of 90.24% this year. On the 13th of January, I got admitted for Bachelors of Technology Degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering through lateral entry at Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT), Pune. My elder sister Rupali Kadam, She is also studying at VIT Pune. She is currently in Third year of B.Tech in Chemical Engineering. We are hoping for some financial assistance for our education related expenses.
Our Story:We live in Dharavi. It is the place where thousands of people come to make their dreams reality, a whole family strives in a 10ft. × 10ft. room, people struggle to eat even two meals a day. If in the world 1 out of 5 families is affected by domestic violence, then here (in Dharavi) the ratio will be 5 out of 5, where every family is a victim of it and to my wonder, they are unaware of it. As I live here, I see and experience the same struggle. The main reason for this is the lack of education. This is also observed by the great social reformer 'Mahatma Jyotirao Phule'. He has described it in this verse.
विद्येविना मती गेली। मती विना निती गेली॥
निती विना गती गेली। गती विना वित्त गेले।।
वित्त विना शुद्र खचले। एवढे अनर्थ एका अविद्येने केले॥
(Lack of education leads to lack of wisdom, which leads to lack of morals, which leads to lack of progress, which leads to lack of money, which leads to the oppression of the lower classes. See what state of the society one lack of education can cause!)
In this verse, he has criticized lack of education as the main root cause of many social issues faced by the backward classes. As I belong to the Scheduled Caste, poverty, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, etc are not rare for us. My father has been unemployed since 2008 due to an accident that caused a major brain injury. It took him four years to recover. To this date, he faces various problems while functioning and doing tasks. Therefore, he is unable to work. Our living expenses are managed from the rent we get from the upper floor. My three sisters and I manage our educational expenses from the scholarships provided by the government for students belonging to the Scheduled Caste.
Under peer influence, my father started to drink heavily over the past three years. Abuse and domestic violence have become a usual problem.
Copy of written complaint reported at Dharavi Police Station
Overall this makes hostile conditions for learning in our house. Therefore I pursued a diploma in Pune (a city 150KM from Mumbai); my siblings are also studying outside Mumbai. Studying in a hostel proved to be very helpful for us. This made a huge impact not only on my grades but also on my health. My other siblings have had the same experience.
| Semester3 |
|Semester 4 ||Semester 5||Semester 6 |
The table shows the gradual gain in my grades after staying in a hostel (semester 3 onwards)
| Diploma ||B.tech|
This table shows the gradual gain in Rupali's grades after staying in a hostel (semester 3 onwards)
Despite all this, my siblings and I are pushing our limits to achieve our goals because we believe "A smooth sea has never made a skilled sailor".
In 2019, My elder sister Rupali had enrolled in the Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT), Pune, for the direct second year B. Tech in Chemical Engineering. Currently, she is in her third year. Her vision is to be an Environmental entrepreneur who solves problems with sustainability. In the second year, she could manage college fees through the amount collected from crowdsourcing and accommodation in Sant Janabai girl’s hostel (Government hostel). It takes three hours to travel by bus. Traveling used to demand time and energy, so she could barely manage self-study.
And this year, I also got admitted to the same engineering college. Our college has been operating online and from 22 February it will start operating offline. Practically it is not feasible for us to attend our college’s hostel as it is too expensive, which would cost 2,32,000 Rupees (only for accommodation and food) for the two of us. As a solution to this, we have decided to rent an apartment and share it. Living in a rented apartment rather than a hostel will allow us to focus more on our studies and will also give time and space for extracurricular activities. These three years in college will write our future and we want to unleash our full potential and work hard. For this, we are hoping for some financial assistance.
This is the combined estimation of expenses for the year 2021 (Feb 2021 to Jan 2022).
|Category Description||Amount (in INR) ||Amount (in USD) |
|Fees# (Academic year 2020-21)||10,000.00||$138.00|
|Housing Agreement Paperwork ||2,500.00||$34.26|
|Internet & mobile bill||9,200.00||$126.07|
|Books & Supplies||7,000.00||$95.92|
|Extra Curricular Activity||6,000.00||$82.22|
* These will be required only for this year.
# Fees are relatively low because we will get a GOI Post Matric scholarship for SC.
@ Donation of a used and functional laptop will also be helpful.
For lowering the expenses we also have approached our landlord; after listening to our story, he decided to help us by cutting down the rent from 10,000/month to 7,500/month.
We all siblings are first-generation learners, and we are heading towards our vision despite unknown paths. We wish to serve society and the environment through our knowledge. Every help for our journey adds value. The funds collected from crowdsourcing will be utilized for academic purposes. Your support would be of great help, and we will be forever grateful to you for it.
Sonali while giving a talk on Slum and Science at Global Community Bio Summit 2018 at MIT Media Lab, USA
We are a family of seven members; Mother, Father, four siblings and a grandmother. My eldest sister, Sonali, is pursuing developmental neurobiology at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, as a junior researcher, and she is also a Foldscope (origami microscope) community fellow and a member of the Global Community Bio Summit organizing committee. She wishes to make people bio-literate.
Rupali while taking a session on health and hygiene at the local community center in Dharavi
My next elder sister, Rupali, is studying Chemical Engineering at VIT Pune. She is currently in the third year of college. She has been volunteering, and enjoying sharing her experiences in NGOs like Dharavi Diary: A Slum & Rural Innovation Project. She is also interested in Environmental and sustainable development.
Dipali (left), Problem solver Speaker at TEDx Gateway, Mumbai 2017
Dipali, my younger sister, is pursuing a diploma in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering at Government Polytechnic, Awasari (Khurd), Pune. She was a TEDx speaker along with Nawneet Ranjan (founder of Dharavi Diary) and Savita Soni, a young changemaker representing Dharavi Diary. She is also a problem-solver in an artistic way. Dipali has also led many of the street plays, summer activities, impact through wall paintings, events in Kala Ghoda, etc.
Me in the center, while sharing Electronics knowledge with students of Dharavi Diary
I was a junior fellow at Dharavi Diary: A Slum & Rural Innovation Project. Dharavi Diary. It is a learning center based in Dharavi. It mainly works on the education of underprivileged children, and women empowerment. I was actively volunteering and learning there for around five years. We used to take workshops on S.T.E.A.M. in municipal schools. I was also a part of the S.T.E.A.M. Lab project. It is the lab-on-wheels that travels in remote schools and areas, where access to quality education is hard and offers hands-on experience on subjects like science and computer programming. In one particular month-long program, we stepped out on a journey towards rural parts of Pune, Hyderabad, and Bangalore in S.T.E.A.M. Lab van and offered thousands of children hands-on workshops on Science. While volunteering I have also taken part in numerous social activities like health camp, wall painting, workshops on science & technology, and beach cleaning. We initiated a beach cleaning campaign called Mahim Beach Cleaning Drive. For the past two years, I have been more focused on my academics. I am interested in solving global problems by integrating technology, which would benefit humanity and the environment. For now, I am focused on gaining proficient knowledge in the Electronics field and validate gained knowledge by practicing or working in the field.
If you are unable to help currently but know someone who can, please spread the word.
Rupesh Kadam and Rupali Kadam