Your daily dose of inspiration: Anand's story will reaffirm your faith in happy endings

Rising above hardships, Anand Masagalla has now been chosen for the Harvard Summer Crossroads Programme
Anand (left) with his close ones
Anand (left) with his close ones

Unable to bear the expenses of his school fees, Anand Masagalla's father enrolled him in a state-run residential welfare school in Chilkur, in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Away from his home in Pudur village of the state’s Vikarabad district, the son of agricultural labourers Anand managed to see opportunities even in his state of poverty. After studying in the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Society till his intermediate, he is now pursuing Bachelors in Commerce degree from AV College in Hyderabad. 

For Anand, the hardship his parents have undergone to educate him was never a sense of shame but one that cemented his desire to excel in academics and to improve their living conditions. What could have been a double whammy for most - economic backwardness coupled with a scheduled caste tag - became the reasons Anand decided to pursue MBA. 

He now feels elated and closer to achieving his dream as he has been shortlisted for the Harvard Summer Crossroads Programme in an open competition at the Asia level. He is one among the 60 students who have been selected for this programme from the Indian subcontinent, Middle East, and Africa. This is conducted exclusively for those students who are first generation learners or are the first in their families to attend college and may be facing challenging financial and social circumstances. 

Harvard faculty will teach this intensive, multidisciplinary curriculum in Dubai, for accomplished and motivated youth

"From the 2,500 applicants only 40 get selected from Asia. I was lucky to have got through," says Anand who is very excited to meet the Harvard faculty members. The ten-day programme will be held in Dubai from August 11. 

The 22-year-old had to clear two rounds, an essay and then a Skype interview conducted by the professors from the university. "I was initially nervous. With their accent it was difficult to comprehend what they were saying but then I focused on being confident and I sailed through it," he says.

Giving thanks: Anand is exteremly thankful to TSWREIS

Though the youngster may have put in all the effort, he says it was only because of the push from his teacher at the TSWREIS school and the confidence of its secretary, Dr R S Praveen Kumar, who himself is a Harvard graduate, that he has come this far. "Even though am no longer with the society they remembered me and insisted that I apply for it," says Anand and in the same breath adds,"Praveen sir is my role model, just like for the other students of the society."

Having lived a life of abject poverty, Anand says it is the financial hurdles that have made him stronger. “We just have an acre of land and even that is not fertile. So my parents have to work in other people’s fields. Their financial condition however never was a detriment in my younger brother’s education. It was their aim to educate me and now it's my aim to provide them a comfortable life,” said the doting son who even helps his parents in the fields when he goes back home during holidays. Anand, who is inspired by Ambedkar, hasn’t forgotten his alma mater either, which he says, has made it possible for him to get an education.

I want to pursue MBA from a foreign university. But I have no intention of settling down anywhere except India. I want to come back and start a business to help those like me

Anand Masagalla 

Expressing his happiness over Anand’s selection for the programme, Dr Kumar says that this proves what equal opportunity can do to the marginalised children. “We are leaving no stone unturned to provide ample opportunities to the children who are in need in our endeavour to make them world class academicians. The TSWREIS is on the path of instilling a sense of self confidence among the students by exposing them to a number of activities,” he said.

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