Hi every one,
My name is N. Venugopal.
I would like to thank Dr. Kiran ma’m for giving me this wonderful opportunity to speak about my journey with the ASHA FAMILY.
I am from a slum called Kusumpur and believe me, “Life in a Slum is not Easy”.
I come from a financially disadvantaged family. My father is a driver and my mother is a housewife. My father works two jobs. He wakes up at 3.00 am every morning and first goes to clean cars in a wealthy neighbourhood. After that, he reports to his boss and drives his boss’s car till late in the evening. Sometimes he comes home at 10 or 11 pm.
There are two rooms in my house, one is the room where we all live and the other is a kitchen. The height of the ceiling of my home is the same as my height. So, I have to bend down to enter my house.
My parents have to wait for long hours to get water from the water tankers when they arrive in my slum. Because they don’t want to disturb me from my studies, they call me to carry the big cans back home once they fill the water. This is because my parents have been passionate about my education. They have suffered a lot financially and made many sacrifices to send me to a good school.
I still remember that when I was young I would go out to play in the small playground in our community. But the playground was full of pigs that were reared by the people, and they would chase us away.
When I was in Class 12, my life drastically took a new turn because of my association with Asha. I was so fortunate to receive so many books that helped me to study for my Board examination. The Team leader of Kusumpur, Pushpa didi is like a mother to me. She worked very hard and helped me get admission in Bachelors of Commerce (Honours) in Shri Aurobindo College of Delhi University, as soon as the first college list came out. I was thrilled beyond words. I am the first person from my entire family to go to college.
This was just the start of my happy life. Under Asha’s internship and mentorship programmes, I was so fortunate to intern at Macquarie Global Services Pvt. Ltd. Just the thought of getting an internship at Macquarie gave me goosebumps. It was a proud moment for me when I walked into their offices on the first day.
I have been greatly encouraged by my mentor Bob McCubbing of Canada High Commission. He has been guiding me throughout my time at University. I went to a Mall for the first time with him. He also took me for a tour of the High Commission and has been providing me with assignments and books to enhance my knowledge, Bob Sir, I am very grateful to you.
My dream is to do an MBA in finance, get a job in an MNC, move out of the slum with my family, build a better house, and have my own car.
Many people can provide an education, but providing an education with values is a unique and difficult task. The Asha values have changed my life. I am now an Asha Ambassador and I keenly pay- it –forward to the younger members of my community.
I am one of the lucky ones to have two mothers, one who gave me birth and another Dr. Kiran ma’m, who gave me a better life.
I can proudly say that whatever I am today is because of my Asha Family and my parents. I say Thank You God for giving me birth in a slum. Otherwise, how would I have become part of the ASHA FAMILY?
I would like to end my speech with a quote by Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world!”