(Our Bureau, June 10) Meet Manu Chauhan, a village salesman’s son from Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district who secured a full scholarship to study International Relations and Economics at Stanford University. Hailing from a family with an annual income of less than one lakh, the Class 12 student has been planning for the US for the last two years and several benefactors helped him on the way. His first break came back in 2014 when he was selected to pursue education at Shiv Nadar Foundation-run VidyaGyan, where only 250 students are selected out of the approximate 250,000 applicants every year. VidyaGyan runs a residential program to nurture gifted students from economically underprivileged rural backgrounds
“I will give the entire credit for my journey to my teachers at VidyaGyan who taught me, encouraged me and counselled me at every stage,” Chauhan told IANS.
Over the years, he won an outstanding performance award in Assessment of Scholastic Skills through Educational Testing twice, became the best speaker in intra-class debate competitions, secured a gold medal in Open State Level Table-Tennis championship and got 95.4% in 10th-grade board exams. He appeared for SAT and scored 1470 out of 1600. Chauhan’s advice to underprivileged students who wish to study abroad:
“There are many institutions and organizations that are there to help you. Keep your eyes and ears open and work towards it.”
After graduating, he aspires to take work at the United Nations as he identifies with their development goals. His eventual aim — better the education ecosystem in India for low-income groups, especially in villages.
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