Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Who is the hero?

This is a riddle, actually a story .. a little longer one though. You would have to read through to the end and find out who the hero is!

His is a typical rags to riches story, epitomized in so many Tamil movies. He is the General Manager of a big manufacturing company now, very fluent in English, highly computer savvy, drives a nice car and visits foreign countries regularly for Business meetings. He however has not forgotten his roots and visits his parents every fortnight, who preferred to stay back in their village and not with their son in an ultra modern metropolis apartment.

Flashback to 2013 ... the eight year old boy (our hero) hails from a family so poor they struggled daily to meet even their basic needs. His father is a poor agriculturist, mother a home maker and he has a younger sister who dearly wished to become a doctor when she grew up.

Every morning, the mother takes the previous night's meal and makes a porridge out of it for the kids. The kids have that half-meal and leave to the school about 5 kilometers away. After the school is over, they return home and work in the nearby field for some time.

The odds seemed heavily stacked against them. The only beacon of light in their otherwise gloomy lives was the best-in-class education they received at the school. Math, Science and Computers are his favourite subjects. But he has to study only in the flickering lights of a kerosene lantern in an otherwise completely dark house. Of course, they do not have an electricity connection nor can they afford the power generators in event of a power failure.

That did not however dampen the boy's spirits. His scholarship is up for renewal and his sponsor had written to him congratulating on his recent grades & goading him to do well in higher classes too. That was fire enough to keep him going.

Soon, time flies by and he keeps writing letters to his sponsor every year. They have even met once or twice, with every visit the boy showcasing the talents he has been gaining. He soon completes his school with very high grades and gets admission to one of the most reputed institutes in the state. The person who sponsored his scholarship did not even dream initially that the boy will achieve such heights in life! He is so happy and tears of joy flow from his eyes on seeing the boy.

What happened to his sister!? of course, she too has been inspired like her brother and studied like him in the same school. It would be couple of more years for her to realize her dream of joining a medical college though.

Did you guess who the hero is?

ggrrrr ... I can hear the readers screaming "Stop! You do not have enough information about the guy? And did you just dare say 'best-in-class' education in a rural school?"

Yeah - I forgot to mention, this was one school and the only one common for 5 or 6 villages in the district. They charged minimal fees (about 10000 to 13000 rupees) per year for the education & bus facility.

"Ooh .. a school bus for door pickup at that cost and still I dare mention 'best-in-class' education!? How could that be?"

Well, the boy studied at one of the Isha Vidhya schools! :)

What you just read is not fiction - this is how a lot of rural kids live in our country. Most can only dream of an education, let alone a good one. However, in the last few years, about 6000 rural kids have come to receive this very light of knowledge in their lives thanks to Isha Vidhya!

They can now dream of a rosy future thanks to the really fantastic education at their school, complete with a huge library, computer lab, math lab, activity based learning systems, etc. You name some of the most advanced education techniques employed by some of the best schools in Chennai, I bet they have already been tried out or are under trial at the Isha Vidhya schools.

So - coming back to our question, "who is the hero?"

For readers still scoffing about the lack of information, it is not the kid. It is the sponsor who supported the kid through his education!

It would have cost the hero of our story, about 1.5 Lakh rupees over 14 years of education of the boy. But in most city schools in India now, parents pay that much for their kids' school fee per year! And is this cost too much for making an inspired Indian out of a rural kid?

I am running now for this cause - to educate rural Tamilnadu. I am participating in Chennai marathon on 1st December 2013, running for Isha Vidhya. I have made a promise that I would reach out to as many people as possible.

You, my reader, is a potential hero yourself! 'What can I do' you may ask. The real question is, do we really care to do something for kids who live like this or not. If you do, there are tons of ways to help. For starters, something so simple as allotting 200 rupees per week (is it costlier than a pizza?) aside for a kid's education. There are 52 weeks in a year and am sure you can do the math :)

No amount is small enough! Even 200 rupees, collected from 50 people, is enough to light the lamp in a child's life forever! Are you inspired to do something now? What are you waiting for?

Visit the link below and sponsor a kid's education online - you can pay as much or as little as you want!

http://www.ishavidhya.org/marathon/index.php?marathon=chennai2013

We have been sponsoring for two kids since the last few years. The joy and satisfaction we get out of it is untold! My picture from last year's Chennai marathon is here:

http://blog.ishafoundation.org/inside-isha/announcements/run-for-isha-vidhya-educate-rural-india

Hoping to see you all soon with my next blog on how the marathon was :)

1 comment:

Vivek Ravindran said...

Awesome.. Well written blog article.