Pushpa, front row, second from the left
Greetings from the FFLV team in Vrindavan. We hope this finds you well. Winters have just started to set in. The weather is sunny and beautiful during the day but a bit chilly in the night. Our students are now in mid term preparing for their half yearly exams in this another year full of hope and excitement.
A BIG MILESTONE FOR FFLV: OUR FIRST GRADUATES!
This past school year meant a lot to us, as our first batch of students graduated from 12th grade. Of 12 graduates, 8 were girls, all of who are now enrolled at a private university, Ganeshi Lal Agrawal University (GLA), Mathura. The university is providing fifty percent scholarships to our students and FFLV is covering the balance, as well as the cost of their college uniforms, with the help of generous donors like you!
Going to university is beyond the imagination of most of our students, whose societal and financial circumstances put the cost of continued study so far beyond their reach that the idea itself is almost unthinkable. Most of their famlies live a hand-to-mouth existance that makes it impossible to save anything, let alone enough to pay for the steep costs of private college tuition.
In this report we would like to introduce to you Pushpa, one of the graduated girls, now attending the university.
Pushpa is a lively, talented and studious girl, who was in our first graduation class.
Having been born and raised in a very poor family did not stop her from focusing on her dream. At SMS she was active in extra curricular activities from excelling in odissi dance, feeling confident with a computer, and trekking in the Himalyas to becoming a karate champion.
Pushpa had been in our Sandipani Muni School since she was 8 years old when she admitted to first grade. Here she relates to us her journey from the street to SMS and now to University.
How do you feel about getting into University?
"Going to college would not have been that easy, had not Food for Life Vrindavan extended its support from school to university. I was under the impression that there would be less to study, on contrary I hardly get time for self-study and myself."
What keeps you occupied?
"The economic condition of my family is not good, therefore to support my family I have a part-time job of giving private tuition to small kids. Everyday my College finishes at 5 pm. I reach home at 6 pm,and then I give tuition to 7 children until 7:30 pm, after a quick dinner I go to bed to sleep for 3 hours,I get up at 11 pm to study till 2:30 am, then I sleep again for four hours, another day begins usually at 7:30 am."
Do you miss Sandipani Muni School?
"Of course I do. Now when I have professors who are very compassionate and patient, it reminds me of the teachers I had in Sandipani Muni School. It reminds me of their love and faith and because of that support, it has made me what I am today. Sometime when I get late for college, I skip packing my lunch; by the afternoon I start to miss the tasty lunch that we use to get at our school. I am grateful to God, that Rupa prabhu and Nikunja mataji picked me up and brought to SMS. My parents would have never been able to afford the education that I got for free at SMS. I learned karate, dance and computer in my school, where I also got a lifetime opportunity to travel abroad. And now FFLV is supporting my college education too."
What course are you pursuing in the University? What do you want to become?
"I am pursuing bachelors in Pharmacy its called B.Pharma. In terms of profession, there are many opportunities for me after I finish this course, for example I can get into marketing, sales, and research. I have not decided on it yet. Amid all of this my priority is to stabilize my family economically and serve the society."
It's thrilling for all of us at FFLV to see the first results of our many years of hard work. "I look back at the time when we started the school in 2002, " says Nikunjavasini Didi, Sandipani Muni Schools' co-founder, "We saw the potential in these children and wanted them to have a chance to learn so they could realize it. We dreamed and they worked hard. And now, here they are! We are so proud of them." We invite you to share in our pride and thank you for your part in helping them achieve this goal.
MEET SOME OF THE YOUNG WOMEN WHO STUDY AT OUR SCHOOL
In our last update, we gave you a sneak peek at a short film one of our volunteers from the US made about Nandini, one of the many gifted and ambitious young women at our school. The film is part of a series that will introduce to those of you who can't make it to India, to our students, our school and to Vrindavan, the special place where we work. We are very proud of the series and eager to share it with you.
Today we'd like to introduce you to Maya, who wants to become a teacher. Maya embodies the hope and possiblity that inspire us to work on behalf of girls like her every day. We'll let her tell you in her own words about her hopes and dreams and what having an education means to her. Please click on the link below to hear her story.
Thank you again, for supporting our work. It means more to us and our students than we can ever possibly say!
Rupa (Founder, FFLV)
Pushpa in the UK with her teachers
Pushpa learning karate
Our School Graduates at GLA University