This morning we handed out two drafts to Vivek and Shambhu for their respective courses. As you may recall we had launched an appeal a few days back to help these two bright lad realise their dreams. Many responded and we have managed to reach the half way mark. However as there was a deadline we decided to advance the missing sum and ensure that the boys are enrolled in their courses. The main reason being that they unlike many of their peers listened to our advice and opted for professional options rather than go for an almost useless degree from an evening college or a correspondence course. Once they have completed their course they will have have no problem getting started. Medical laboratory assistants are in great demand and a quick perusal of an employment website shows the starting salary to be 12 000 rs a month for those without experience. And a good electrician is worth his weight in gold and much sought, I just paid 800 rs for a couple of hours work to mine yesterday! So Shambhu and Vivek are definitely on the right track.
A friend suggested that we put a rider on our support. She proposed we tell the two to boys that they need promise that when they are settled and earning they sponsor the education of a child each. It could be by paying their fees, or books or uniforms or simply by helping them with their studies. I kicked myself for not having thought of this as I remember being very touched by the Catherine Ryan Hyde's book Pay it Forward. The book is about doing a favor for another person ~ without any expectation of being paid back. Indeed one would request that the recipient of that favor do the same for someone else ~ ideally, for three other people. What is special about this book is that a simple work of fiction evolved into a vibrant foundation. I remember wondering whether we too could adopt this precept. Now was the time.
So when we handed the cheques to Shambhu and Vivek we asked them to promise that they too would one day help educate a child. They were a bit perplexed at first but then slowly realised what we were saying and smiled broadly nodding their heads. I hope they remember their silent promise.
It was a great moment for all of us at pwhy as we felt we had reached somewhere. Shambhu was one of our very first students as he joined when he was in class II and we had just opened our doors. What a journey it had been. Maybe we did deserve a small pat on our backs!