Among those who have made it to the NEET list this time with the help of charities are the son of a landless farmer, a milkman, a rickshaw puller and the daughter of a poor weaver.
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The students were trained by the Zindegi Foundation, an NGO led by educationist Ajay Bahadur Singh, who was deprived of medical education due to his weak economic background. Under the program, talented underprivileged students are selected from across Odisha through statewide screening examinations, providing free meals, accommodation and coaching so that they can help in NEET and become doctors.
“This time the challenge was even bigger because it was difficult to take physical classes most of the time due to the Kovid epidemic. But we did not let the students’ spirits go down. We have arranged smart phones for those who could not borrow from friends. Online classes by relatives and our expert teachers Singh told PTI.
A statement issued by the foundation, which began work in 2017, said 18 of its students had passed the entrance exam (graduation) with national qualifications this year, as in 2018. Fourteen of its students passed in 2019 and 19 in 2020.
Shivani Mehr, daughter of a poor weaver who got 577 marks and cleared NEET, said, “I could not even dream of becoming a doctor because of my parents’ poor economic condition. I got a chance to do something because of Ajay Sir. For the society.”
Murshid Khan, the son of a rickshaw puller, who scored 610, and Subhash Chandra Bahera, the son of a milkman, who got 595, echoed it.
Singh, a resident of Deogarh in Jharkhand, said, “I help students without taking any grant from any person or organization even though many have offered.”
“I couldn’t be a doctor but when I see these kids fulfilling their dreams, I feel like I’ve achieved my goal. I can never accept that a gifted child can’t fulfill his dream just because of financial constraints. I will continue the project. To ensure that no child misses their dreams due to lack of resources, “he said.
Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hosted the successful students of the Foundation at his residence in 2019.
Anand Kumar, the founder of ‘Super 30’, on whose life the Bollywood flick “Super 30” was made, has visited the Zindagi Foundation many times to inspire aspiring students.
Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan, who played the role of Anand Kumar in the biopic, also praised Singh’s project.
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