Sector: Professional Development
When asked to tell his story, Lucky humbly insisted that the story not be about him, but his parents. It was through their love and support that he was able to achieve the unthinkable. However, Lucky’s role in his success cannot be overlooked. He was able to overcome many obstacles like poverty to achieve his dream.
Ever since Lucky broke his arm when he was a child and was unable to receive treatment, he had the desire to help those who were in need. Although Lucky had the drive to become a doctor he did not have the means to fund his entire education. Lucky’s father worked long hours cutting trees and growing rajma (kidney beans) in order to meet the needs of him and his three siblings. This was a difficult task as the rough terrain and harsh weather made their village, Chota Bengal, inaccessible many months of the year. Lucky’s parents were illiterate and had no formal education. However, despite their outward simplicity as seen in their traditional Kullu Valley attire, Lucky’s parents were very progressive in wanting their children to become educated.
Lucky was able to complete his primary school near his home. However, when it came time to enter the 6th standard, he would have to attend a school that was 6 hours away by foot. Because Lucky’s parents wanted the best education for their children, they decided to move to Dharamsala and stay in a rented house so that Lucky could attend a good school. As Lucky and his siblings entered higher educational institutions, his parents could not afford the tuition. Lucky’s mother desperately wanted her kids to continue their education, so she decided to work alongside her husband to make ends meet. Lucky and his siblings saw their parent’s hard work, and they too followed by example. This often meant studying long hours in the corner of their house by candlelight.
Years of studying by candlelight paid off when Lucky successfully passed the Pre-Medical Test and was admitted into the Indira Gandhi Medical School in Shimla. Although Lucky’s parents never let their children feel that they were poor, the money required for medical school could not be met by his parents. But Lucky knew that if he worked hard, God would help him. This help came in the form of a friend of Lucky who was in a similar situation. He had received a scholarship through CORD to continue his education and he knew Lucky was capable of receiving the same scholarship. Lucky’s friend brought him and his parents to Dr. Kshama Metre (affectionately called Dr. Didi) who encouraged him to apply for a scholarship provided by the Foundation for Excellence. The Foundation for Excellence, in collaboration with CORD, provides scholarships to bright, hard-working youth who often do not have the resources to succeed. With the support of his parents, relatives, villagers, and CORD, Lucky was able to complete the application and receive the scholarship.
However, once in medical school, Lucky still faced hardships. Because of his simple village upbringing, he found it difficult to mix in and communicate with the students and professors. He struggled with his English and he lacked necessary computer skills to keep up with the other students. But this was no barrier for Lucky. In addition to his regular studies, Lucky spent extra time with a CORD volunteer from abroad so that he could improve his English. Dr. Didi also provided Lucky the means to become more familiar with computer technology. This has allowed him to stay competitive in the ever-changing medical field.
Lucky’s journey could not have been possible without the numerous networks that CORD has created over the years. CORD works in collaboration with other sponsors, hospitals, and organizations around the world in order to provide the best possible services to rural communities. For example, difficult cardiac or neurological cases are often sent to collaborators at other hospitals. This ensures that the patient receives the best care and the latest technology. CORD also performs follow-ups so that after the intervention, beneficiaries are properly absorbed back into the community.
Today, Lucky has almost completed his medical schooling. His parents continue to support him with the money they earn cutting wood. They have also supplemented their income with other innovative work such as selling rabbit fur. Lucky regularly informs Dr. Didi of his progress in medical school. He also attends many CORD functions and has established friendships with many of CORD’s workers. With the love of his parents and Dr. Didi, Lucky hopes to one day go back to his village and help poor people raise their living standards.