A round trip that will change their world.
Taking the first step is the hardest part of any journey, and it takes a special kind of courage when you know that the odds are stacked against you. Fortunately, this is exactly the kind of courage that the children at Deepalaya have in abundance.
The boys and girls who study at Deepalaya come from underprivileged backgrounds. They are the sons and daughters of daily wage earners. Most of them have never set foot outside their city and some of them are burdened with the responsibility of being the family’s sole bread earner. But instead of surrendering to their fate, these young adults arm themselves with education and get ready to claim their rightful position in the world.
One such program that enables them to do this is the Community College Initiative (CCIP) program. Administered by the U.S. center across sixteen countries, this program enables economically underprivileged students to study their chosen course at an American college. In 2013, only thirty seven students were selected from across India, of which two were from Deepalaya.
A press conference was held at the Press Club of India on 3rd July 2013. The conference was headed by Mr. A.J. Philip, president (Deepalaya), who introduced the Deepalaya alumni who had participated in the CCI program. There were four students (Komal Rathore, Niranjan, Chiranjeet Shah and Sanil Mathew) who had finished their course and returned to India and two students (Ritu Kumari and Satvinderjeet Kaur) who were preparing to fly out to the U.S.
Both Ritu Kumari and Satvindar Kaul studied in Deepalaya and today are the sole bread earners in their family. At Deepalaya they received the guidance and counseling that motivated them to opt for the CCI program. Ritu works as an elementary teacher and has chosen to pursue ‘Early Childhood Education’ as her subject of study. Satvindar on the other hand will make her way to Wisconsin to study ‘Web Designing’. Both the girls have overcome insurmountable challenges are full of nervous anticipation at the prospect of visiting a foreign land and learning about a different culture.
Chiranjeet Shah, batch of 2012 – 13, is a young twenty year old from Sanjay Colony who joined Deepalaya at an early age and went on to do his graduation from Delhi University. He learned about the CCI program while he was working with a BPO and sought out his alma mater for counceling. With regular help and preparation from Deepalaya, Chiranjeet went on to study Business Management from the U.S and now works at Luxor Writing Instruments as a Marketing Executive. His message to the community – Never underestimate the children from the slums. There’s no lack of talent among us and the only thing we lack is opportunity.
Well, he proved himself true when got the opportunity from Deepalaya and the CCI program and went on to become the first person from his community to finish his schooling, do his graduation and visit a foreign country for further studies.