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HIGHER EDUCATION

DAYA RAM

“I can dare to dream...”
Daya Ram

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.

 

 

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