Hi, I am Vijay from Khanuli, one of the countless ghost villages of Uttarakhand, and this is my story. From trekking to reach school, writing my highschool exams scooped on the floor (as our classroom had no benches), I came a long way to study at IIT Kharagpur. I am a first-generation learner because my parents never had the means to afford a university education. My father had to start earning as soon as he was 18 to support his mother and younger sibling. My mother married off at 16. Despite all the hardships, education for my sisters and me remained the top priority for my parents. They encouraged us to fight all odds and pursue our academic aspirations. However, dreams are not free, and our financial realities could only support education in government schools, as ill-equipped as it gets in remote Uttar Pradesh towns. Disinterested teachers, absent benches, broken blackboards tussled against my desire for education. Yet, the efforts of my parents pushed me to march forward and led me to one of the top 10 global business schools, HEC Paris.
My job allowed me to support my parents and save for my academic aspirations. I juggled my test preparation, college essays, LORs, scholarship applications with my hectic work schedule. My efforts paid off with an unconditional offer from HEC. While it was one of the happiest moments of my life, I was apprehensive that my savings and contribution from my parents could only meet my fees requirement halfway. My father, the only earner in the family beside me, is now retired with his pension barely meeting the medical expenses of my parents. Yet the village kid in me aspires big. I want to expand my horizon and realize my ultimate dream; becoming an entrepreneur working with local indigenous Indian art & craft, esp. of my native Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The art from this region can compete at a world-class marketplace. I believe I have the potential to create such a platform for all those hardworking artists. Hence, a globally prestigious MBA became my aspiration.
The cost of studying the course at HEC is 76,000 euros (6,700,000 INR). The living expense in Paris, during the course, would be around 24,000 euros (2,100,000 INR), bringing the total money required to be approx. 100,000 euros (8,800,000 INR). I have applied for multiple scholarships, and their responses are due by the end of Oct. As of now, I am yet to get any positive response. After scrutiny and exploring various options for funding, unfortunately, nothing but a fundraiser aligns with the situation. Once in college, I will actively look for internships and other work opportunities to bear my living expenses. But as things stand, without any external help, going to HEC and becoming an entrepreneur would become a fleeting dream. It would also mean the death of the aspirations of an average village boy. I may have grown up in a lower-income household, but that never stopped me from improving myself every day and work for my dream. Will you help me escape the barriers of class to fulfil my dreams?
Since my parents had to let go of their education for lack of means, over the years, through my contributions to various organizations working with underprivileged and marginalized children, I have tried to help those whose education is at stake. I hope to continue to aid them in reaching their dreams while I pursue my career and create a positive impact through my work and resources.
I appeal to everyone who thinks I deserve help. If my story and my dreams strike a resemblance with those of yours, please lend your support. The smallest of contributions (even if it is just the cost of a cup of coffee!) will help a lot. I hope to reach a couple of thousand people in the next few months before I leave. If you read through my story and have decided to help, I sincerely thank you for your generosity and kindness. I urge you to spread this campaign through your personal and professional networks. I want to be transparent and open with this campaign and its funding request!