Hailing from a small town called Chakan in Pune district, Ayesha is a single child. With their limited and unsure income of approximately INR 3,000 per month, Ayesha’s mother, a housewife and her father, an unskilled labour, running from pillar to post every day and taking up daily odd jobs coming his way to make ends meet, put her in a Municipal school. This is where Ayesha became a part of Project Nanhi Kali when she was in Class IV and continued to complete her Class X as a Nanhi Kali. With 90% scored in her SSC boards, she secured admission in Government Polytechnic, Awasari(KH) College to pursue a Diploma certificate in Computer Engineering. But the big concern was the fees to be paid for this course. This is when Ayesha also came to know about the Mahindra All India Talent Scholarship program by K.C. Mahindra Education Trust (one of the two managing partners of Project Nanhi Kali) and bagged the scholarship.
“My parents are doing their best for me”, says Ayesha. “They have provided me with food, good health, love and care despite all financial odds. And it is my responsibility to do the best in my studies. And to study more and more, I need to work hard and secure scholarships to help with the costs associated with it too.I am so thankful to Project Nanhi Kali for having supported me all these years and help me realise my dreams.”
On her plans post this Diploma course, she says, “Once I get the Diploma, I want to pursuemy Graduation degree in the same subject too and pass it with distinction. Post that, I want to take up a job at a big company and make my parents proud. I am still exploring at what options I will have in the field of computer engineering. This is something I have wanted to do ever since I saw computers in my school and I just knew I want to learn everything there is to know about computers.”
When asked about her role model, she said she admires and draws inspiration from IAS Officer Ansar Shaikh. “He cracked the UPSC exam in his first attempt at the age of 21. He, like me, is also from a financially weak background – his father is an auto-rickshaw driver and mother, a housewife – and he became India’s youngest IAS officer. If he can do something so life-changing for himself, I believe even I can!”
With determination, hard work and such clarity of thought, Ayesha is on her way to break the cycle of poverty for her family and prove that success is not dependent on one’s financial background at all, but on their intent and willpower!