On Friday July 12th, I read this skype message from my good colleague Sebastian Panakal, of Kerala India.
I have Ajay and Lija beside me. Do you have a couple of minutes to say hello to them? I am training them on Skype
Fortunately, I was online and able to videoconference with two amazing students, whilst they had a rain holiday. This was an intriguing name for a holiday and a topic of conversation in itself! I discovered that rain had flooded their poor school. It was only after the videoconference had finished that I realised how special these students.
What I learnt from them
We asked questions of each other and used the chat when necessary due to my ‘flakey’ internet access. I learnt that there are 888 students in their school and 47 students in their class. Forgetting the time zone differences, I asked what they had for lunch only to be told that it was too early for lunch. However, they had idlis for breakfast. I also discovered how many were in their family, their favourite subjects, their favourite TV program – Kodeeswaran and their favourite books. The books really stunned me! Lija’s favourite book was A Brief History of Time, Hawkins and Ajay’s was My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi! Such mature taste!
Whilst talking, Sebastian added a link in the chat . When the videoconference ended, I looked at the link A Global Salute to Lija Mary and Ajay George and then discovered how special these two students were. They had won an award on their favourite TV show Kodeeswaran - Thew Show conducted by Asianet . Following are some excerpts from the post:-
Lija Mary and Ajay George are from very poor families in a undeveloped hamlet, Thankey. Mostly Catholics, they are very pious. Parents have little or no education. Dependent on fishing, they suffer most due to over-fishing. Angry waves lash on the very walls of their houses and homes. Monsoons drown them. Summers dry them. Most of the malnourished children, go to school as lunch is given free to them by school authorities……..
Braving poverty, these two students won a very stiff competition with wealthy schools and well of students. Their winning advantage? Awesome teachers and loving families.
Congratulations Ajay and Lija. May you continue to succeed, bring further support to your school and village and break the cycle of poverty. Looking forward to skyping with you again some time soon.