LONDON: A 20-year-old ballet enthusiast, who is the son of an e-rickshaw driver in Delhi, is using a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to pay the fees for a training course at the famed English National Ballet School in London.
Kamal Singh dreams of representing India at an international dance platform after he won admission to the school's one-year Professional Trainee Programme.
However, he needs to raise enough funds not only towards the fees but also the high living costs in the UK capital.
"My family and my coach always stood by my side, they never gave up on me.
Unfortunately, I could not afford the fees of the one-year programme -- 8,000 pounds (USD 10,365) -- not to mention the additional living expenses in London -- at least 1,000 pounds (USD 1,295) per month," said Singh, whose father runs an e-rickshaw in Delhi.
"I decided to raise funds on Ketto. I am moved by the love and support I have been getting from the people. I am so grateful to the people who donated for my campaign," he said.
Singh has already raised over 18,000 pounds (USD 23,297) of a 27,777 pounds (USD 35,952) target, attracting messages of support from hundreds of supporters from around the world.
"You are a great dancer and I hope your dreams come true. Do India proud in the international dance community," notes one contributor.
"I hope you succeed to the best of your capabilities, raise the bar and reach greater heights. Make every well-wisher proud of your achievements," adds another.
The young dancer was oblivious to the world of ballet four years ago, when a chance encounter with Maestro Fernando Aguilera, the director of a ballet school and company in New Delhi, changed the course of his life.
He soon fell in love with the classical dance form and embarked upon the tough training regime, finding it quite challenging as he started to learn only from the age of 17.
But he says that Aguilera had confidence in his talent and trained him for eight to nine hours a day.
After years of intense training, his dream came true with enrolment at the renowned ballet school in London.
"We are excited to introduce this new programme to support talented individuals such as yourself to prepare for your career progression with the dance world," notes his admission letter, he says.
After the one-year training course, Singh hopes to join the English National Ballet Company as a professional dancer on a monthly salary.
Mumbai-based Ketto, co-founded by Varun Sheth, Zaheer Adenwala and actor Kunal Kapoor, is a platform for online crowdfunding for social, creative and personal causes.
"Ketto's primary objective is to use technology to optimise efficiency, reduce redundancy and increase impact targeting the social sector of the country.
We are working with grass-root level nonprofits on technology enablement (including capacity building) to achieve our goals," the company said.
The company's online campaigns raise over Rs 300 crores per year for various causes.