From empty stomachs to cracking NEET: These Rajasthan boys fought hard to win | education$career | Hindustan Times
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From empty stomachs to cracking NEET: These Rajasthan boys fought hard to win

An initiative started by a few doctors in Barmer, 50 Villagers provides support to students who cannot afford to pay their school fees and do not have access to the most basic of resources. Some of these students are orphans while some worked as daily wage labourers.

education Updated: Aug 17, 2016 18:37 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
NEET
An initiative started by a few doctors in Barmer, 50 Villagers provides support to students who cannot afford to pay their school fees and do not have access to the most basic of resources. (HT photo)

Like any other student, Suresh Kumar from Rajasthan’s Barmer district worked hard to clear the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

Kumar also fought hunger and poverty to crack NEET in his first attempt and secure an All India Rank of 995 in the exam that determines admission into private and government medical and dental institutions across the country.

A resident of Padru village, Kumar’s parents died when he was only seven. His elder brother takes care of him and two other siblings, including a younger sister who is mentally challenged and a brother suffering from polio.

“Sometimes my elder brother managed food for us. When he failed to do so, we had to sleep hungry. Despite such a situation, my brother always supported me and inspired me to complete my studies,” Suresh, who completed his Class 10 from a government school, says.

Nem Singh from Bandra village has a similar story to tell.

Read more: CBSE announces NEET 2016 results, Het Shah from Gujarat is the topper

Singh’s parents died in a road accident in 2008 when he was in Class 5 and could not continue his education. With a little help from his relatives and 50 Villagers, he can now boast of a 6,024 rank in NEET.

Like Kumar and Singh, 26 other students also thank 50 Villagers for helping them follow their dreams despite all their hardships.

An initiative started by a few doctors in Barmer, 50 Villagers provides support to students who cannot afford to pay their school fees and do not have access to the most basic of resources. Some of these students are orphans while some worked as daily wage labourers.

Founder of 50 Villagers, Dr Bharat Saharan, says the credit goes to the students.

“I am saluting their dedication. At a time, when a number of students have committed suicide due to mental stress of competitive atmosphere, the success of these 28 students, challenged by destiny, has set an example for others on how to cope with challenges,” he says.

Students at 50 Villagers are provided with a place to live, books and faculty free of cost (HT photo)

Idea behind 50 Villagers

Dr Saharan says while studying at a government school he felt that teachers were neglecting students who did not take tuitions from them. “It hurt me and hundreds of other students like me, but we were helpless,” he says.

“I am lucky that my father somehow managed to educate me and today I am a doctor. But I thought about those who had lost their parents and did not enough resources. I decided to work for them,” he says.

Read more: NEET results 2016: Lucknow’s Shreya Mittal gets AIR 21

“Initially, I shared the idea with my friends Dr Omprakash and Dr Hardan who supported me and also agreed with me. Later, we shared our plan with many doctors in Barmer who not only appreciated us but also joined us. This is the story of 50 Villagers”

Sharing the story behind the initiative’s name, Dr Bharat said that they had 25 students from Class 11 and 25 from Class 12 at the beginning.

“When a group of 25 cleared Class 12, there were another 25 students to make it 50 and as they all belong to rural areas so it’s 50 Villagers,” he adds.

Students at 50 Villagers are provided with a place to live, books and faculty free of cost. Dr Saharan said he manages their expense through donations.