Published: 03rd November 2021
Eighteen underprivileged students backed by this Odisha foundation crack NEET 2021. Here is how
Under the programme, talented underprivileged students are selected from across Odisha through a state-wide screening test. They are provided with free food, lodging and coaching to help crack NEET
As many as 18 students from deprived sections in Odisha have qualified in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate) 2021, the results of which were declared on November 1.
The students were coached by Zindagi Foundation, an NGO run by academician Ajay Bahadur Singh, who had missed out on getting a medical education due to his poor financial background. Among those who made it to the NEET list this time with the help of the charitable body are the sons of a landless farmer, a milk vendor, a rickshaw puller, and the daughter of a poor weaver.
Shivani Mehar, a weaver's daughter who scored 577 marks and cleared NEET, said, “I could not have dreamt of becoming a doctor given the poor economic condition of my parents. It’s because of Ajay sir that I got this opportunity to do something for the society.”
Under the programme, talented underprivileged students are selected from across Odisha through a state-wide screening test. They are provided with free food, lodging and coaching to help them crack NEET and become doctors.
"The challenge was bigger this time as due to the COVID pandemic it was difficult to hold physical classes most of the time. But we did not let the students’ spirit sag. We arranged smart phones for those who could not borrow them from friends or relatives and imparted online classes,” Singh told PTI.
A statement issued by the foundation, which began functioning in 2017, said that all its 18 students have cleared NEET this year just as they did in 2018. A total of 14 of its students had made it in 2019 and all the 19 students qualified in 2020.
“I could not become a doctor but when I see these kids achieve their dreams, I feel I have achieved mine. I could never accept that a brilliant child cannot achieve his or her dream only because of financial constraints. I will keep the project going to ensure that no children miss their dreams due to lack of resources,” he said.
Murshid Khan, the son of a rickshaw puller who scored 610 and Subhas Chandra Bahera, the son of a milk seller who got 595, echoed her.
Singh's work and his foundation have gained recognition in political circles as well as popular media. In 2019, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had hosted the successful students of the foundation at his residence. Even Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan, who performed the role of a teacher in a biopic, has also spoken in public on Singh's project