Writing this and reflecting upon my life has been an emotional experience. I thank you in advance for reading on.
The latin phrase “per aspera ad astra” has always resonated for me. It means “through hardship to the stars”. As an underrepresented minority who grew up in an extremely low-income family, I knew hardship, and I dreamt, and continue to dream, to know the stars.
Education became my route.
To make a very long story very short, despite the odds, I got into college. I was the first person in my family to have ever gotten in.
At university, my peers assumed that, due to my background, and financial standing, even if I did graduate, my degree would be useless. I worked many jobs to support myself through school. As a full-time student, I worked about forty hours per week. Though I recognized the perceived unlikelihood of my success, I was determined to graduate. The work I put into those years was not for myself alone. I pushed through with the vision of one day helping others who faced similar obstacles to me.
I then took up jobs to support my parents and my community. My mission was (and continues to be) to bring innovative public policy approaches, inspired from across the globe, to my local context, in order to remedy, in whatever way I can, the flawed system that I myself fell victim to.
It was working for a non-profit to establish a training academy for people in the cleaning industry that made me realize that I needed more education to actually make an impactful difference in my community. In brief, there are still taboos and stigma associated with the cleaning caste in India. I experienced significant backlash from government officials about the educational programs we were trying to create. This experience made me recognize the necessity of effective communication, negotiation and research skills, tools that I simply do not have in my toolbox.
This past year has been unimaginable for all of us. As I am sure you have seen in the news, it is extremely painful to see what has been happening in my country.
One surprising silver lining that has come during this tragic time is that I was admitted to a Master’s program at the European University Institute’s School of Transnational Governance (STG) in Florence, Italy. I am in shock even writing that down.
This was once an unimaginable dream of mine. Now, it is a stepping stone to actualize some of the work that I need to accomplish for my community.
Given my background, the school has generously offered me a 50% scholarship. I must find a way to raise the other 50%. In order to secure my place in the program, I need to prove that I have €7,000.00 before the end of June 2021 (Of which 3000 Euro I need to submit by 14th of June, and the rest 4000 Euro by 30th of June). The rest of the money to live and attend school I can figure out as I go along, as I always have.
All in all, I have been homeless for most of my life, and effective educational programs helped me change my circumstances. The STG will enable me to play a role in changing those of others. This is an opportunity to bring myself and those that I will guide and mentor, both at the micro and macro levels, closer to the stars - Per aspera ad astra.
I thank you so much for playing a role in actualizing this dream. Anything that you can donate, be it €1.00, €100.00, or whatever you can, is massively appreciated, impactful, and generous.
Bank Account Name: SUBHAG RAJ M
Account Number: 079901504323
IFSC Code: ICIC0000799
Bank Name: ICICI Bank
UPI ID: subhagraj99-1@okicici