Two Odisha boys overcome poverty pains to build strong careers

Coming from extremely poor backgrounds, two boys Nira and Bikash had thought of giving up on education a few years back. Today, they have cleared NEET and JEE (Main).
Bikash Sahu
Bikash Sahu

BERHAMPUR: Nira Mallick and Bikash Sahu, both students pursuing education at Berhampur, have two things in common - poverty and hard work. Despite meagre resources, the boys have managed to secure ranks in NEET and JEE (Main) and are now looking forward to carving a new destiny for themselves. Interestingly, Nira and Bikash are first generation learners in their families.

While Nira belongs to ST community in Dumbiguda village of Gajapati, Bikash of K Ranipada village in Ganjam suffers from low vision and hails from SC community. Both were keen on studying science from an early age.

In 2009, Nira had joined Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Paralakhemundi. However, two days after joining the school, his father passed away. With his brother working as a labourer in Tamil Nadu, Nira was left to look after their ailing mother. However despite the adversities, he cleared Class X with 90 per cent marks. He joined Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya in Mohana to pursue Class XII but decided to drop out after the first year due to lack of funds.

Similarly, Bikash was in Class VI when he lost his father, a snack vendor. At a young age, he had to shoulder the responsibility of his mother and three siblings. To eke out a living, Bikash along with his younger brother decided to cook and sell snacks in a push cart in the village and nearby areas in the evening. But he did not give up on school and scored 89 per cent in Class X. Although he got admitted to a college to pursue Plus II, Bikash like Nira could not manage funds to continue higher education and decided to drop out.

Nira Mallick
Nira Mallick

This is when a teacher Gaurahari Palai, who is also a member of a Berhampur-based voluntary organisation Bipadara Bandhu, came to know about the two boys. The organisation that runs with the help of voluntary donations, decided to help them with tuition fees and study materials. After the boys cleared their Plus II, it approached a private coaching centre at Berhampur - Aryabhatta Learning Forum - which agreed to provide them free coaching for NEET and JEE last year.

This year, in the PwD category, Bikash scored an All India Rank of 212 in JEE (Main) examination and 354 rank in NEET. He has already qualified for admission to civil engineering discipline in NIT-Rourkela and in all likelihood, will get an MBBS seat in any of the MCHs.

Similarly, Nira has scored 425 marks in NEET (ST category) and is also hopeful of an MBBS seat in Odisha. “Both the boys, despite their family issues and financial problems, are bright and hardworking. We just provided them a foundation to build their career,” said Palai. While Nira is keen on becoming a doctor, Bikash is happy with his engineering seat.

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