“I can dare to dream...”
My family hails from a small village named Ahirwar near Bhopal,
Madhya Pradesh. My parents were forced to leave the village
following a property dispute. Since then it has been a long journey of trying
to settle down, first in Delhi, then Punjab and finally Dehradun.
With six mouths to feed, I remember hunger being a common occurrence
in my family. Initially we stayed in Clement town, in the outskirts of Dehradun.
Our family then earned its living by collecting and selling used liquor bottles
strewn around. Later my family moved to a slum in Rajpur next to a dry river
bed and worked as laborers and rag pickers. We have lived there ever since.
I remember monsoons being the worst times. It would rain endlessly
and we were forced to stay indoors, inside a plastic canopy, we called our ‘home’. The rain water would enter our house and there would be nights
when we could not sleep and would just sit upright and pray for the rain to
stop. We would live under the constant threat of being bitten by insects and
snakes entering our shacks.
Hardships and trouble were an integral part of our lives. We had no
electricity or sanitation. We had to brave every kind of weather - from 40
degrees Celsius in the summer to less than 1 degree in the winter. Even
today there are many families still facing a similar predicament or worse.
I would pass my day by collecting firewood for cooking food, or I would
help my father and brothers collect rags from public dustbins. The rest of
the time I would play with my little sister and the children of the slums.
One day my father heard about KHW and approached them. Very soon
with their support I started going to school. My life was no longer limited to
picking rags and collecting firewood. I started to learn new things and to
read and write and made new friends.
Since then my story has been of a slow and steady progress. A lot of
hard work. A lot of encouragement and support from my family, and inspiration
from KHW to pursue my dream of becoming an engineer. I am very happy
and proud that I am now in the first year of a four year Degree [BTech.] in
Electronics at the Dehradun Institute of Technology.
This Diwali when I celebrated the festival of light, I was reminded of the
many children like myself, among whom KHW has helped spread the light
of education. As the first young man from my ‘Basti’ (slum) I recognize how
important it is for me to set a good example for the many hundreds children
that KHW helps. KHW has filled our lives with hope. Without KHW we would
be forced to live deprived, unhappy and empty lives. KHW inspired me to
dare to dream and as I work hard towards bringing my dreams to realization
can only thank God for KHW and the people who make it possible.