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The man who came out of the blue

It could be a man or a woman, the struggle they face to stand out from the rest is same. A very important aspect of empowerment is the will and aspiration to develop, leaving the past behind you

Photo of Rohith Rai
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He(a person X) was born in a rural area and in a very low income household. His dad was a retired army person who was paid an amount of Rs 90 ($1.5 approx)per month. This was the scenario in 1962, later he used to earn Rs 150 ($2.5 approx). ' X' was one among 9 of his siblings, where all the family lived with that 150 rupees. ' X' lived in a very pathetic situation where he had no resources to study, no money to go to school, no one to encourage him and look for a better living. It was in 1970, where ' X' got an admission in a government school. He did not even have money to buy a school uniform, he had two white shorts, which he used to dip in blue water to make it look blue in color and to satisfy the dress code. He lived in a place where there were people, who were hopeless and aimless. He thought to himself, "I was born poor, that is my fate, i should not let my children face the same situation as me". That is where his journey began towards a bigger dream. 

He was surrounded by people from different caste, creed, race and gender. All of them were Brahmins(people believed to be the most educated ones, during that time), who were vegetarians. It was very kind of them to welcome ' X'(a non-vegetarian) and allow him to study with them. He went along with them and developed his skills and intelligence, later he applied for a government job, which he got eventually. His journey towards that job was never easy, but his mind was only focussed on one aspect that his kids should have a better life than him. Now, he is working as a Deputy Director for all the Industries in Hyderabad, a city in Andhra Pradesh. He is a role model for many, as i personally heard people say that to me, and he is a role model for me too. That person ' X' happened to be MY FATHER

I never asked him about his life and his struggles, he never told me either, He had to move to a different place for his job, leaving the burden of the household on me. That is when i started to learn how difficult it is to manage a family. I put myself into his shoes and lead my life, and that changed my way of thinking and living. I would say, even now we are not very rich, but my inspiration towards becoming something great in life has gotten me to New York and to NYU. The support he gave me to reach my dream was invaluable, he never said no to any, but asked me to justify myself. So, i am looking to empower myself as an individual. So, it could be a man, a woman or a transgender, everyone is a human being and everyone has a past. Aspired people never look at the past, they look at the future and work in the present to achieve what they want, but will never forget any lesson that the past has taught them.

So, for women, gone are those days where women were bounded to the kitchen. They have equal rights as men do, they proved every point in saying that they are equally inteligent, strong, skillful and competitive. Commit yourself to anything and none can stop you. Its just that kind of will power that you have to develop. So, for people in low income areas, with empty pockets, you will learn a lot and can succeed a lot.

This is one of my personal experience, the other surveys and interviews will follow soon.


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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks for sharing Rohith your dad's story.
In connection with this challenge, I can see how getting an opportunity was key and then he was able to seize it. The question is how can we provide women in low income urban areas with these opportunities that will allow them to be empowered.

Photo of Rohith Rai

This has to go right into people's head. As a matter of fact, no one in this busy world will take time from their routine, and help others. But, now we have a team that has some extensive research and are trying to help, we should aim at creating a harmony between people, that can enrich their bonding and help each other in the community. It is only when people are in a common danger, they come together (Ex. If there is a terror attack in a place, every one's aim is the same, i.e. to escape that attack, so they help each other and escape). So, if we can create a common goal and aim for all of them, we can make it work, and can enhance them to collaborate with each other for their development.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Rohith, I think that if you look at many of the research posts on successful stories posted for this challenge, you will realize that there are quiet a bit of people ready to help each others.

Photo of Rohith Rai

Yes, Anne. In some areas, they are ready to help. In some areas, people don't even bother. Its a mix, that is not a question now. Since we have volunteers now, We want to relate them to people in poor/low income areas.