BENGALURU: A cobbler’s dream to see his daughter become a cardiologist has caught the imagination of his entire locality.
For two years in a row, the residents of HRBR Layout, 1st Block, in Banaswadi, have been pooling in money to fund the education of Saravanan’s daughter, S Ramya. She is a second year MBBS student at Government Medical College in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu.
Most of the donors have been Saravanan’s customers. Whether out of fondness for the man who has mended their shoes for the past 20 years or an altruistic desire to fund a girl’s education, the residents have kept the funds coming. October 1 is the deadline to pay the college fee.
Saravanan’s wife, S Selvi, works as a domestic help in four houses to make both ends meet. The small room where Saravanan works during the day doubles up as his home at night. He sends money to his parents who are raising his two boys in Dharmapuri.
The man who made this happen is Arpuda Rajan, secretary of the Sammilana Residents’ Association in the area. He was visiting Saravanan to mend his football boots when they got talking. “I was impressed with his dreams for his children. The minute I heard about his efforts in the face of financial despair to help his daughter get an MBBS degree, I felt he must be helped,” Rajan said.
Rajan then reached out to the residents through smses and e-mails. Among those who chipped in was Natarajan, who is more than 90 years old. A few have contributed cash in person to Saravanan while others have sent cheques to the college, specifying the purpose. Swarnalatha, a government employee, is among the donors. When asked what motivated her, she said, “I have a son who is a rank holder. I know how expensive education is. The money is going to a highly deserving individual who needs it.”
Saravanan said what encouraged him to realise his daughter’s dream is her aptitude for studies. When Ramya was in Class V, he said, she wanted to be a doctor. She later decided that to become a cardiologist.
“After she completed Class 8, I admitted her in a private school in Dharmapuri,” Saravanan said. He then approached the school authorities, who waived half the fee due to her excellent academic performance. She scored 460 marks in class X and 1,142 in her class XII exams and secured an MBBS admission on merit.
“When I told customers about my daughter securing a medical seat last year and my attempts to arrange funds, they started chipping in. This made me give up the idea of taking an education loan. I have no qualms about asking help as I cannot afford Ramya’s education. We are left with only Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 after our monthly expense,” he said.
Ramya’s yearly fee was Rs 43,000 last year, while this year it is Rs 49,000. But it comes to around Rs 1 lakh a year due to hostel and other expenses.
Readers interested in contributing can call Saravanan on 9686480503.