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They dared, with your help

Five indians fought poverty to become life’s winners. HT reported their stories over the last 4 months. Most got a helping hand from you, our readers. We revisited them to find they are still battling hard but now aiming for the skies.

delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2009 02:20 IST

At 16, she dreams reel action from behind the camera



New Delhi: It was a story she could empathise with. When Jyoti Saini, 16, shot a documentary about her schoolmate Meena, a maid’s daughter, having a tough time balancing studies and household work, she put her heart and soul into it.
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A class XI student, Jyoti Saini shot a documentary about a domestic help’s daughter struggling to balance homework and household chores. She wants to make films but parents have little money to afford her dream. Sanjeev Verma/HT photo

The daughter of a cook father and homemaker mom is no stranger to poverty.

The group of 10 students at Gurgaon’s Vedic Kanya School – including Saini — conceptualised, scripted and shot the 15-minute documentary.

The film was produced as part of a Digital Equaliser programme project conducted by the American India foundation.

Apart from boosting Saini’s confidence, making Homework helped sensitise her teachers about Meena’s hardships. “After HT published the story, they encouraged us to shoot all school functions,” says the Class XI student.

“I would love to make films, but there’s no equipment in school. Also, my parents may not let me continue my education after Class 12,” she said.

(Report: Namita Kohli)

Rescued from mill, Siva finds his calling

Hyderabad: Till two months ago, Yelavarthi Siva Kumar, 15, had two worn out T-shirts, a pair of shorts and no hope.
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With help from HT readers, Y Siva Kumar is studying again and hopes to be a chartered accountant. HT photo

From being a child labourer to topping the class X secondary school certificate exam Kumar had fought poverty and exploitation.

But he had no money to continue his education. Often, his family could not manage two meals a day.

Inspector of factories MV Shiv Kumar Reddy rescued him from a cotton mill and put him back in school.

Then Hindustan Times highlighted his indomitable spirit. Help poured in instantly.

Today, Kumar has joined a private college with a full tuition fee waiver.

The money sent by HT readers from all over India has helped him buy clothes, books and study material.

Utilising the Rs 40,000 that came in from HT readers carefully, Kumar looks at the world with a different vision. “I’ve bought spectacles to overcome my eyesight problem,” he told HT from Guntur.

Once he realises his dream of becoming a chartered accountant, Kumar wants to do his bit for other not-so-fortunate children. “When I have the money, I want to help as many poor children as possible.”

(

Report: Ashok Das

)

Bronze bomber gets a fighting chance

Jamshedpur: Financial help continues to pour in for World junior boxing bronze medal winner Namit Bahadur, the son of a labourer.
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A labourer’s son, Namit Bahadur is training at Pune with Olympic medallists Vijender Kumar and Akhil Kumar. He bagged a bronze at the World Junior Boxing Championship in June. HT photo

Hindustan Times had highlighted the story of the teen prodigy who overcame enormous odds to bag a bronze at the World Junior Boxing Championship at Yerevan, Armenia, in June.

Moved by Bahadur’s story, President Pratibha Patil expedited financial help for him.

Today, thanks to the Mittals Championship Trust, Bahadur is training at Pune with Olympic medallists Vijender Kumar and Akhil Kumar.

From a slum cluster 10 km away from city limits, Bahadur’s family is planning to shift to a better house his elder brother Rajaram said.

(Report: B Vijay Murty)

Landless widow farms success

Bargarh: Married off to a daily wage labourer at 15, Rambai, a class one dropout, did not know what destiny have in store for her.

After losing her husband and elder daughter in an accident in quick succession in 2005, Rambai realised she had to be the man of the household. There was nobody else to turn to.
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Widowed and left to fend for the family, Rambai worked the fields and has reaped a good life. HT photo

If it meant digging pits, or tilling the field, watering plants or selling vegetables in a highly competitive market, she was game for it.

Among the most successful vegetable farmers in Jamurda village in Orissa’s Bargarh district today, Rambai is confident of a better future for her 10-year-old daughter.

The landless widow is now a proud lessee of a two-acre vegetable farm and a motor pump.

Her younger daughter Puspanjali, now aged 11, studies in class six in the local school.

The feisty entrepreneur is planning to buy a second hand four-wheeler tempo so that she can start a business of transporting vegetables.

(Report: Priya Ranjan Sahu)

One battle won, and raring for more

New Delhi: An initiative against drinking in public places launched by Roshani Devi, 42, a Dalit sarpanch (headwoman) at the Kothal Khurd village in Haryana’s Mahendergarh district, 140 km east of Delhi, is now a highlight of a national programme against the social menace.
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Roshani Devi, the president of Kothal Khurd gram panchayat, launched a campaign against drinking in public places in her village in Haryana. Virendra Singh Gosain/HT

A week after Hindustan Times reported Roshani Devi’s story on June 4, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil felicitated her for a job well done.

Now, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has decided to make a film on Devi to inspire women in their fight against alcoholism.

The Haryana government will also form women’s groups on the lines of Devi’s Women Samakhya campaign.

But Devi is not done yet. “I want to launch a campaign against female foeticide and dowry in Haryana’s villages now,” she told HT.

(Report: Chetan Chauhan)