STUDENT STORIES

LIFT is the sum total of many small individual successes and the collective growth those cumulative successes bring to underdeveloped communities. LIFT successes are made possible by donors, volunteers, alums and, most of all, the children of LIFT. 

LIFT TALENT

Life Poem by Kanaga Jothi

A child who wants a happy family
But never slept a day without tears
Fear occupied me
A fear between love and alcohol
Of course alcohol is injurious to health
Also injurious to the family
A lot of sleepless nights
and running through the streets

The touch of cold shivering hands of my younger sister
Tears that I wiped off my mother’s face
Holding my breath underneath the bedsheets
The sound of the bangings on the door
That was all I never wanted to remember.

The fear of losing someone when I need them both
Was always running through my mind
These things never stopped me from learning
I wanted a change but all I could do is to ask my God
My prayers about the happiness in my mom’s heart
Came true through LIFT
My education gave her hope
And LIFT gave me the best opportunity.

The Eagle’s Nest: A story by Kanmani

There is a big tree in which an eagle’s nest is located. It is filled with father, mother, elder daughter, younger sister, and grandmother. Elder eagle wants to fly higher than the other eagles, and the mother eagle is the one who teaches and helps it. So the elder eagle feels happy and loved with her mother. The Father eagle is always busy protecting the family.

Suddenly, the mother eagle fell ill and passed away. The elder eagle could not accept the fact of her mother’s death. After that incident, she felt so lonely and miserable. She didn’t know what to do in her life.

All her friends teased her that she is good for nothing, useless, and has no talents. That made her feel very sad and down.

However, she still had hope and got to know a nest named LIFT through her grandfather. She hesitated to go as she loved her family and didn’t want to be separated from them. Still, she made up her mind that she wanted to fly high and learn more. She wanted to explore a new world to grow better.

As the eagle realized that it had to make a sacrifice to achieve something, the new nest accepted her, loved her, and took care of her. She expressed her talents and had the capacity to learn things very easily. She proved to herself and to the others that she could do anything, She is talented and will learn new things to grow. She also participated in a storytelling competition and received second prize at district level. She was very happy about her growth and has the belief to go beyond.

The eagle is none other than Kanmani from Trichy in 9th grade. Kanmani wants to fly high enough to reach ISRO and to be a scientist.

PERSONAL STORIES

My name is Kirthika, and I was born into a lower-middle-class family. I have vivid memories of my parents struggling hard to make ends meet. During my early school days, they couldn’t afford to pay for my fees, books, or transportation. However, after completing my tenth grade, my life took a significant turn when my primary school headmistress introduced me to LIFT in 2008. Joining LIFT was a life-changing event for me.

Hello friends! I am Leo. I am from Kallathikinaru, Tamil Nadu. Four people are in my family—my father, mother, my older sister, and myself. My father cannot hear. I go to work for daily wages to support my family. My mom is a daily laborer. I did my early schooling in my village. After that I did not know how and where I could continue my studies since my family could not afford to pay for it. One of my teachers who taught me in primary school helped me by taking me to LIFT.

I’m Migavel, born and raised in Puliangudi, a village in southern India. In my family of four, consisting of my dad, mom, elder sister, and myself, we faced financial challenges. To support my family, I started working at the age of 10 on weekends as a delivery boy, seller boy in a textile shop, and a Mason’s assistant. We lived in a small room (10×8 feet) that was cramped for the four of us. Despite financial constraints, I nurtured a childhood dream of becoming a software engineer.

Hello, I am Shaya Saruga. I’m 23 years old. My home village is Singamparai, India. I give my 100% dedication to do the work given to me, and seek perfection in all I do. My talent — dance, acting, drawing, painting, and card making—and dedication to my goal makes me
special.

I am Sowmiya from a village called Nanjankulam. I’m 17 years old. I am doing Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Thank you very much for the opportunity to share my life story with you. More importantly, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity, through your help, to rewrite my life story

My name is Selva Shekila, my friends call me Shaki. I am from a small village called North Vandanam.

Your support of LIFT is giving me a career and a future. I know that most LIFT supporters cannot make the journey to India but I hope to share with you how important your commitment to LIFT is and how deeply grateful my family and I are for the opportunity you have provided us.

Arun and Christy both came from families who were struggling. When Arun was 18 and when Christy was 17, they got involved with LIFT and began an impressive academic path. Arun received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and then went on to get a Master’s degree in Computer Applications. Christy received her Bachelor’s degree in Physics and also went on to get a Master’s degree in Computer Applications. So, where are they now?
I am Jonisha Mary. My mom passed away when I was 10 years old. My dad is not part of my life since then.
I was brought up by my grandma. As my grandma could not take care of me, I joined LIFT. I was very interested in studying, and I am also very keen on helping in any way I can even as a young girl. I believed I had the capacity to study to be a doctor and the mind-set needed to be a doctor.

This is Anusuya. My father is a coolie worker in a spinning Mill and my Mom is physically challenged. There is no way I could think of doing much schooling leave alone medical school. Any quality schooling for me would be out of reach due to the financial hardships at home. But my dream even as a kid was to become a paediatrician.

I am Martina.  My home village is Kuthukal Valasai, Tenkasi in southern India.  My mother is a working government school cook.  My father passed away when I was one-year old.  I have an older brother who has completed his engineering education and is now working for a company in southern India.

I am Saranya.  I am 22 years old and am from Ukkirankottai, Tamil Nadu, India.  I completed my UG degree in Commerce in St. Xavier’s college in Palayamkottai. Now, I am doing M.Sc. Visual Communication in Loyola College, Chennai.

My name is Devika. I am from Gangaikondan, India. I am twenty-three and the oldest of three girls. My mother and father are coolie workers. My parents were planning on asking me to quit my studies due to having no financial resources for education.

My name is Rita. I am a young LIFT graduate who you have helped to transform into an independent woman. Unfortunately, my life began with a bleak outlook. With two young brothers at home and parents earning less than $2 per day, I planned to quit school and become a day laborer to help provide food for my family.

My name is Rajan and I am 18 years old and have been in the LIFT program for six years. I come from Kulavanihar Puram, Tirunelveli Dt. There are four members in my family. My dad passed away when I was in the 8th grade. My mom is paralyzed and can’t walk. She runs a little shop on the side of a road and earns a very little amount. I have a sister and a twin brother. My brother is with me at LIFT and my sister is taking care of my mother since she can’t do any work without help. I am studying through LIFT to support them.

I am Sowmiya from a village called Nanjankulam. I’m 17 years old. I am doing Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Thank you very much for the opportunity to share my life story with you. More importantly, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity, through your help, to rewrite my life story

I am Arulraj from a village called Veerakeralam Pudur in Tamil Nadu. I am 25 years old. Thank you very much for the opportunity to share my life story with you.

I am Ragaveni. I am 17 years old. I am doing my 12th Grade. I am from Kuthukalvalsai which is located in Tenkasi District. My village is a rural area where I don’t have enough facilities for education 7 years ago. My mother died which was a crisis I did not expect in my life. My father is a coolie worker; so, he was unable to offer a good education for me. I got an opportunity to join LIFT with the help of Mr. Alphonse, Retired Headmaster for my higher studies. It is a great blessing in my life as well as for my family. I am in LIFT for the last 7 years.

I am Angelin Mary doing grade 12.

I come from Thalarkulam which is in Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. My parents are coolieworkers. I have two siblings doing 11th and 9th grade. Even though I shined well in my academics and other co-curricular activities, my parents were not able to support me financially due to poverty. I had a fear about my future, when I was at home but by God’s grace and with the help of Fr. Jamels I joined LIFT in 2018.

LIFT ALUMNI

More than 25 LIFT students have completed the program through the college level, and some have master’s degree. LIFT alumni work in the fields of education, engineering, computer applications, nursing, business and for companies such as Caterpillar, Honeywell, and Tata Consulting.

Each LIFT graduate has their own, wonderful journey of success. The following stories are just two examples of how a LIFT education transforms life for an entire family.

Recent LIFT graduate, Ambika, was quickly employed as an engineer upon completion of her college studies. Ambika’s father died several years ago, and due to her education and employment she can help with her younger sister’s education and care for her mother. She has married even though her family could not afford to fund a dowery, a custom still widely practiced in India.  When Amika’s first employer could not grant her request for a transfer to Chennai to be closer to her fiancé, she quickly interviewed for a new job and doubled her salary! This kind of mobility and opportunity is made possible through the education she received with LIFT. Ambika’s confidence, tenacity, and intelligence make her an inspiring role model for the young girls that follow her through LIFT.

Arther, another graduate, leads LIFT 2.0, a group of LIFT graduates who find the time and resources to give back to the program that gave so much to them. Arther entered LIFT in the 6th grade and is the first student to complete both an undergraduate degree (in mathematics) and graduate degree (in computer applications). Arther’s first job was with the Chicago based consulting company Thoughworks. When Arther was recruited by his current company Stayzilla, Thoughtworks paid him the compliment of offering an open invitation to return if and when he wished.  Arther grew up in a one-room house, but has recently completed building a new, modern home for his family in his home village of Pettai. Arther has also supported his brother’s education, allowing him to complete a degree in business. Not only is Arther transforming life for his entire family, but he regularly visits LIFT to mentor students and assist with site improvements.