Originally from Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka’s family came to Karjat in search of a livelihood. When she was only 6 years old, her father Shivmangal died due to an unidentified illness. Soon after, the entire responsibility came to rest upon the shoulders of her mother Rakeshkumari who started working as a domestic servant for Rs.600 a month. Her family had no roof over their heads and survived on the mercy of a landlord who offered them a tiny room on minimum rent. Priyanka had relatives from her paternal side but nobody came forward to help the family.
When she became a beneficiary of Light of Life Trust she began to receive educational support from them. Through the organisation’s empowerment workshops, not only did she receive educational guidance but moral support too. All this began to show a marked difference in her personality. Mathematics is a subject she loves. She also always participated enthusiastically in singing competitions and other extra curriculum activities organized at the local level and at the school level.
After passing the 10th standard, as an Anando plus beneficiary, she received educational support and career guidance for further studies. She got a great opportunity when she was shortlisted from 150 candidates to undertake training for Business Process Outsourcing for three months with Kotak Unnati Foundation at Light of Life Trust’s Jeevan Asha Community Centre. After which she was selected as a Customer Relationship Executive with Tata Power’s rural BPO in Khopoli after going through a focussed group discussion, interview, and other selection processes.
Currently, she earns Rs.4,500 a month and is able to support her mother. She has thus had her mother stop working as a domestic help. They have even shifted houses. They rent a place in a better locality in comparison to the earlier slum area in which they lived. She is also looking to continue her higher education and is looking out for better job prospects. At the moment she is pursuing the second year of Commerce College while juggling a full time job and other family responsibilities.
Like Priyanka, Suraj is another shining example of Light of Life Trust’s success.
A single parent child, Suraj’s father Dhanaji died in 2004 in an accident while at work. At that point of time he was earning Rs.1,500 a month and since his job was on a contractual basis there was no compensation for the family. Suraj has 3 siblings. He came into Anando in the 8th standard through workshop subjects. He conscientiously made an attempt to improve himself to imbibe qualities like politeness, patience, and confidence. He also began to get involved in workshop activities, group discussions and other cultural activities.
After completing the 10th standard, he enrolled himself in Anando+ and with regular guidance and counseling. He was also given an opportunity to work with Kotak Unnati Foundation and got a job as a computer operator in a rural BPO at Tiware. At present, he earns Rs. 4,500 a month and offers financial support to his family especially to his mother who he is extremely fond of. He is also preparing for his 12th standard.
Nilam’s is no different. Nilam was an extremely shy girl when she was taken in as a beneficiary of Anando in the ninth standard. Her father was an alcoholic who had disowned his family, and her mother worked part-time for Polio Work; and would also sell papads door-to-door. Nilam started to come out of her shell at the Anando workshops and she learnt skills like time management, the Art of Living, the importance of realizing ones dreams in life to live positively and more. Slowly she started to bloom, developing qualities like stage daring, communication skills, positive attitude, and the importance of education.
After completing the 10th standard, in Anando plus, she received guidance and support for further studies with an opportunity to train with Kotak Unnati Foundation for 3 months. She was selected to work for them as a computer operator.
She currently earns Rs. 4,500 a month and supports her mother and family who live in Badlapur. Her father has reunited with the family and this is something she holds dear to her heart. Nilam wants to complete her graduation and join a bank in the future. In order to achieve this, she is presently completing her FY B.Com.
Like Priyanka, Suraj and Nilam, is Jitendra. Jitendra is a single parent child. In 2003, his father died of Jaundice. After which, looking after the entire family became his mother’s sole responsibility. He mother worked as a maid and earned for Rs.1,500 a month.
Jitendra came to Anando, bringing with him qualities like sincerity, honesty and a positive energy. He took the initiative of taking part in every workshop activity to find his place in the sun. Confidence, communications, stage daring, positive attitude, future planning, and his own personal responsibility towards his mother made him determined to achieve his goals. He became a mentor to other newcomer students – reaching out to his village level companions – helping them make the right kind of progress.
After completing his 10th standard in Anando+, he received support and guidance for further studies like the police training program for recruitment. He also got the opportunity to train with a BPO and was finally chosen as a computer operator. He now earns Rs. 4,500 a month and supports his mother who no longer works as a maid. His family has also shifted to a better home. He wants to become a police officer and is making effort to achieve this. By working for a rural BPO as he prepares for his 12th standard final exams with job responsibilities.
Lakshman lost his mother when he was just 5 years old. Soon after, he lost his father in a train accident. Orphaned, he was taken in by his uncle, and lived at the bottom of a hill where a majority of Adivasi (tribal) people live. When Lakshman was chosen as an Anando beneficiary, he seemed very shy although he did participate in school gatherings, essay writing, singing and elocution competitions. He showed an aptitude in playing the harmonium and for sports too, especially Karate. During the Anando workshops, he realized the importance of education and also learnt that addiction of alcohol is a detrimental habit which eventually killed his father.
After passing his 10th standard in Anando+, he received support and guidance for further education with the opportunity to train with a BPO for three months with Kotak Unnati Foundation. He proved himself in interviews, and communication skills and was chosen as a computer operator in a rural BPO at Tiware.
Presently, he earns Rs. 4,500 a month and offers financial support to his uncle and family. He is also preparing for the 12th standard final exams. He is also a mentor for the Adivasis in his village and for other children at the Light of Life Trust.
Like Lakshman, Sanket and his younger brother were orphaned at a young age too. The boys are residents of Chapdi Village, Mangaon, a hamlet of barely few dozen shanties, belonging to very poor families.
One day, all of a sudden, Sanket’s father passed away, leaving the family without any support. Just six months later, their mother too was killed while she was crossing the railway track on her way to the local market.
Sanket, who used to attend school as well as Anando’s classes and workshops regularly, stopped attending both for over a month. This prompted the Trust’s social workers to intervene immediately and upon conducting a home-visit, it was revealed that though Sanket’s uncle and aunt had accommodated the boys after the death of their mother, they were dissuaded from continuing their studies and engaged Sanket in sundry work instead. Through repeated home visits and frequent interactions with them, the Light of Life Trust team succeeded in persuading his uncle and aunt to realise the importance of education for the boys and what the future would be if Sanket was forced to go for work, discontinuing his studies. They were also made aware of the Trust’s support by way of educational material, classes and workshops. Sanket’s uncle and aunt finally agreed to start sending the boys to school and the Trust’s classes again.