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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Why God did this to me?"---Meeting SHE Scholarship Teen Students at Deenabandhu #3

SHE Scholarship Teen Students at Deenabandhu

Yoga Gives Back launched a new exciting program SHE (Scholarship for Higher Education) in 2013. This five year scholarship now funds 62 financially disadvantaged students at high school and college level so that they can continue and complete their higher education, acquire degrees and get their dream jobs. This scholarship will provide very poor but extremely eager students a life time opportunity for higher education and to become real change makers in their community, India and this world.

Among the graduates from Deenabandhu Elementary School in Chamarajanagar, a town of 1 million and where the majority of families are below the poverty line (earning less than $2 a day). Jayadev and a group of teachers have selected 31 eligible students for this program this year. All the students and supporting teachers gathered to express their gratitude for YGB's support. They each gave us a beautiful hand drawn thank you card and one girl performed a beautiful B… dance.

Most of you, like myself, would not believe what these teenagers have gone through in their lives already. I filmed all students' dreams.

Sandeep is a 19 year old SHE student, who is currently studying very hard to pass the 10th grade exam next March, equivalent to senior in high school.

Sandeep 19 years old

"Education is much more precious than GOLD." Sandeep said with incredibly focused eyes. I interviewed him further about his background with Jayadev's help. What I learned from him was beyond what I could have imagined his story broke my heart. As a young boy Sandeep lived in Deenbandhu orphanage when his mother could not take care of him. When he was 12 years old, his mother returned to Deenbandhu to take him home to live with her. However, his mother had no income earning skills or desire, and she sent Sandeep to work at a construction site to pay their 150 rupee (3 dollar) monthly rent in Bangalore. His mother continued to force him to work for seven years!!  Being a diligent child laborer his employer praised him for his good work, but Sandeep always knew that he was cheated with his payments. "Why God did this to me? Why I can not go to school when all other children are going every morning?" he kept asking himself. After seven years of hard work, one day, he could not take it anymore, he wanted to study!!  Sandeep called Jayadev who gladly welcomed him back to Deenabandhu home to resume his education. 

Ganashree, 18 yrs old, 1st year at local college hoping to become Mathmatics teacher Her family is supported by one elder sister's income after her father died two years ago.

Sandeep is taking private tutoring classes to make up for all the missed years of education. He is extremely eager to get a high school degree next year and hopes to advance to a college and study engineering. "When I become an engineer and make money, I want to help more children like myself. I want to help children in a very difficult situation get an education, raise themselves from the bad circumstances, to dream and to reach their full potential."

Girls Group Students
How did Sandeep come to in touch with his inner calling for education and higher goals for his life, I have to learn more.

I am just so humbled and inspired that a student like Sandeep will have a chance to achieve his goals and in turn help others and ultimately impact the deep rooted socio-economic illness created by vast poverty in India.

I filmed all the students in an effort to learn about their ambitions and dreams for their future with the help of this higher education scholarship. Every student has a very difficult situation at home. The average household income is 11000 rupees a year, about 180 US dollars, or 15 dollars a month!

I was deeply moved to hear each student's determination and gratitude to achieve their higher goals with this opportunity, much like when I listen to impoverished mothers who received micro loans. They all know from the bottom of their heart that this might be the only chance they have got in their lives. We often take so much for granted in our lives, such as education, food, clothes, credit cards, even our family and home. Listening to 31 students voices of honest and pure enthusiasm for their higher education confirmed to me that SHE program has unlimited potential. I can not wait to see how this program will continue to grow with YGB's global community's support like yours!!!

Rohini, 18 years old, 1st year at a local college, wants to become politician to alleviate poverty. Her family is currently suffering from financial hardship from losing a cow as a income earner

If you are interested in supporting these hardworking students, become a YGB member or DONATE!!

I am also grateful for two corporations PURE International and Yoga Fit who took the initiative to fund part of this program with a five year commitment.

1 comment:

  1. Great work, Kayoko!! And congrats to these great, hardworking students!! I wouldn't have been able to get my education without financial assistance, so I know firsthand how important aid is and how invaluable education is. Sandeep has it right! :) I'm grateful I had help and am glad to be able to give back through YGB.