Ajay Bahadur Singh’s story is one of an aspirational tea seller turned exemplary teacher who is helping dispossessed children to successfully chase their dreams. Singh once harboured dreams of becoming a doctor and when he couldn’t, he is helping scores of young and ambitious would be doctors to inch closer to their dreams.
This year, all 14 of Singh’s students have cracked the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). He deserves to grab the credit for their astounding success. Singh founded ‘Zindagi Foundation’ in 2017 to help the underprivileged children realise their dreams. His non-profit venture is modelled on ‘Super 30’ run by acclaimed mathematician Anand Kumar . Zindagi is designed for students endowed with exceptional talent and calibre but who lack the wherewithal to accomplish their dreams. It offers a huge glimmer of hope to those who cannot enrol themselves in swanky coaching institutes which demand hefty fees from the aspiring students.
“In 2018, students came to Zindagi. 18 students had qualified and out of them 12 took admissions in different medical colleges of Odisha,” Singh says.
Singh had covert dreams of becoming a doctor. But pressing family obligations dissuaded him from chasing his goals. His father who was an engineer by qualification always pined to see his son as a doctor. But Singh’s father had to undergo a kidney transplant and the family had to sell off their property to meet the burgeoning medical expenses. Misfortune fell on Ajay Bahadur as he was constrained to sell tea to sustain his family. However, buffeting all the life’s storms, Singh graduated with honours in sociology.
“I always wanted to be a doctor and I was preparing for it as well. But my studies suffered due to kidney failure of my father. I started my career by selling tea and syrup. After completing intermediate education, I used to sell soda making machine. I gave tuitions as well to complete my education,” he recalled.
But since Singh fell short of his dreams, he took it as a mission unto himself to train the brilliant young children to ensure that they are not hobbled in their career paths.
“When I am now in a good condition, I think I should find helpless students who could not afford to pay and help them. Poor students can join our foundation, the expenses of their accommodation, food, studies and coaching of medical entrance examinations are borne by us,” he said.
Though over 30,000 students qualified for the NEET examinations this year, the story of these 14 students trained by Singh is an inspirational case study on how a dogged will and the right counsel can surmount all odds to success. More power to Ajay Bahadur and his tribe!