Reetesh, Ashutosh and Ajay are three boys from a remote village in Madhya Pradesh who had the courage to follow their dreams through unfamiliar territory. Today, they have jobs in reputed companies and have done their village proud. This is also a story about how learning life’s values and living by them can make a world of difference
Narasimha Village in Madhya Pradesh got a school in 2006. But Reetesh Kumar didn’t want to study there. Neither did his friends, Ashutosh Gupta and Ajay Kumar Dhemar. “The teacher would barely take classes,” they recollect. The boys felt constrained by the small village atmosphere, and wanted to move out into the exciting big world. But the problem was money. Their parents were poor.
That was when they heard of the Krishna Rani Papneja AIM for Seva Free Student Hostel for Boys in Narsinghpur District, an initiative of the All India Movement (AIM) for Seva, an NGO working to provide value-based education to rural and tribal children across the country. The hostel provides children education, nutritious meals and a clean place to stay. The boys convinced their parents to enrol them in the institution, and they left their village to try their wings. They joined the hostel when they were in Std VI and stayed on till they completed their schooling in Std XII. They made their families proud by passing out with flying colours.
At the hostel, they made new friends, learnt values and understood that life has no shortcuts; only hard work will bring rewards. All three boys wanted to pursue higher education in their favourite subject – Mathematics.
An opportunity to join Swami Dayananda College of Arts & Science in Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu, presented itself, and they took it. It was a challenge – the place was 1700 km away from home, the food and language were nothing like home, but they overcame the hurdles, keeping their long-term goal in mind.
In their third year of college, organisations like Lucas TVS, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, Sundaram Finance, City Union Bank, CAMS and ICICI came for campus recruitment. There was an introductory round, followed by a group discussion round. The boys aced the procedure. “The topic of the group discussion was demonetisation and I spoke against it, says Reetesh.
Ashutosh’s father is a shopkeeper in the village. When he was asked what changes he would like to bring in the education system, he promptly said education had to be judged more on presence of mind, general awareness and practical knowledge, rather than testing memory.
Talking about his interview, Ajay said “It was our grooming at the hostel that helped me to stay calm and confident. When asked how I would be an asset to the company, I replied that my mathematical expertise would help them in computations and calculations.”
“My parents are domestic workers. For someone else this might be just a small step, but for me it is a step to success, a pillar to sustain my family and a key to my dreams. I am afraid to think what would have happened if AIM for Seva had not been there,” says Reetesh.
Chairperson and managing trustee of AIM for Seva Sheela Balaji says proudly that the boys are confident, not hesitant to ask questions and bold enough to think out-of-the-box. “What is more inspiring is that they were steadfast in their goal. It is not about educating children – it is about educating them the right way,” she adds.
Reetesh, Ashutosh and Ajay stand testimony to the determination that lives in the hearts of rural India and are examples of the maxim that when one commits oneself, providence moves in the right direction, too.