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Hari Spandana

posted Jul 9, 2016, 4:08 PM by siri admin   [ updated Jul 9, 2016, 4:50 PM ]
Hari Spandana, a gifted and talented student from a remote village Veeravelli Agraharam, her hopes of higher education dwindled when her father was struck with a disease that paralyzed his legs, and confined to the bed for a year. She is the eldest of three children from a poor family of agricultural workers. She achieved 9.8 GPA out of 10 in tenth grade and has a thirst to study in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). IIT’s are the most prestigious institutes in India, and over a half million students compete to get an admission into the twenty IIT colleges. Many students go through intense coaching sessions for two full years to attain a good score in the entrance test. The best coaching institutes are often expensive and located in cities. Only privileged children can afford those trainings. Hari Spandana has a remarkable talent, but no means and resources to achieve her goals. The odds were against her dreams of higher education because of the financial difficulties, being a girl, living in a remote village, a paralyzed father with no support from the other family members. 

Recognizing Spandana’s talent, a group of teachers from Vaddadi high school approached Siri Foundation for a scholarship support.  It was late in the summer and many institutes had already closed enrolments and had begun classes. Siri volunteer Mr. Babu Rao took that as a challenge and spent almost a week to find the best institute that matched her interests. Mr.Rao had stumbled upon “Sri Chaitanya institute”  one of the good coaching centers for the IIT prep in the city of Vishakhapatnam, but it was a very expensive endeavor. Then came the negotiation part; After many discussions they agreed to provide deep discount (up to 80%) on the enrollment fees because of her credentials. We thought everything was going well until we found out that it was a day-scholars institute with no hostel facility. 

Where would she stay? Would it be safe for a fifteen-year-old girl to stay in the city for the first time in her life? Honestly, it would be a big responsibility for anyone. It is not uncommon in families from the small villages to preclude girls from venturing out all by themselves, let alone far away from home, in a big city. Mr. Rao met her parents and discussed many options. After few more days of scouting, he found a hostel exclusively for girls with a reasonable cafeteria facility. It was expensive, but close to the Sri Chaitanya institute and the environment was just right for her to continue the education journey. Siri foundation took a bold decision and approved 100% scholarship that covered her school fees, education expenses and hostel fees. Finally, Hari Spandana joined in 11the grade at the Sri Chaitanya Institute on June 20th, 2016 to pursue her dreams of preparing for an Indian Institute of Technology.

While she was waiting for the admission, she contributed over 80 hours of volunteer work by organizing education camps for the young children in her village. The desire to dream big and share the knowledge was commendable.

Here is the kicker; Despite joining two weeks late, and far behind the course work, she made it to the top tier batch that has the best visiting professors. Just like any other privileged kid, she has a fair chance at the IIT target. The impossible dream a month ago suddenly became a reality. When asked, how did you like going to a big school? she said, Super, Sir!