SWAPATH TRUST'S PROJECTS: HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT PROGRAMME
Under the HESP, 57 students are supported in higher education at University level. Seven of them are studying medicine (four of these are disabled!). Eight are pursuing Engineering degrees and 17 are reading Science subjects. Five students from one of the most underdeveloped blocks (Kaprada) of Valsad district are enrolled in the prestigious Central University of Gujarat. One of these tribal students, Kiran Kunvar, features in Paul Kenyon’s recent video documentary.
Recently, Swapath ran a four-day workshop with eminent speakers and 62 HESP students to discuss the role of youth in society and the need to be sensitive to the society around them irrespective of profession or occupation.
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A SUCCESS STORY:
Dhiren is the elder son of a typical urban-poor family. His father is not well enough to not work and his mother (who recently passed away) could only work part time, cooking for families in the neighbourhood. From this she had to sustain a family of five.
Dhiren could barely manage to pay the fees of the neighbourhood school when we heard about his high scores in school examinations. He was rewarded with excellent scores in his Board exams but had no money to pay for his engineering course. He was financially supported throughout his engineering degree course by AWARE.
After his bachelor’s degree, he was offered a job with a small company on a modest salary. Owing to the family’s financial situation, he was ready to give up further studies and take up the job paying Rs. 5,000/- p.m.
He was advised by AWARE not to do so; instead it was suggested that he should take up a master’s degree course in a first-rate engineering institute in Gujarat. He followed the advice and received a grant which was 40% higher than the first salary offered to him. He was thankful to the organisation for this advice and a loan to purchase a computer. He finished his masters with flying colours and got a first job at Rs. 25,000/- p.m. in Chennai. His ambition inspired him to look for even better opportunities. From Chennai he has recently jumped to Baherain with a salary package close to Rs. 150,000/- p.m.
Apart from the timely and sustained (five years) financial support, Dhiren is thankful for the advice of not taking up a job instead of a master’s degree course. This he considers was a turning point that made all the difference to his life!