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Dipak’s inspiring story shows how hard work and determination need just a spark to light up a new life. For him, like over 39,000 other youth from socially and economically disadvantaged communities, Mahindra Pride School opened up a brand new horizon.
All his life, Dipak has worked hard, and that labour has not been in vain. “Earlier, I had to think twice before buying a cup of tea that cost INR three, but now I readily spend INR 3,000 for a family meal,” says Dipak Sonawane, reflecting on his past struggles.
Dipak hails from Raver in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. One among four siblings, Dipak’s childhood was spent in penury. His father’s meagre earnings as a rickshaw driver, along with his mother’s income from tailoring, barely supported the six-member family. As a fifth-grader, Dipak picked up the gauntlet to support his family’s income. He did all kinds of odd jobs — selling sugarcane juice, waiting and cooking at restaurants, working as a janitor and ward boy in hospitals, and also operating a reception desk.
As the only son, Dipak was driven by a fierce resolve to look after his family. It helped him rise above the challenges that he faced. On top of the financial struggle, he had to face the loss of one of his sisters in a road accident when he was in the tenth grade. Despite being extremely grief-stricken, Dipak kept soldiering on.
For years Dipak juggled work and studies, paying for books, stationery, and other miscellaneous expenses from his earnings. To support his family fully, he even discontinued his studies and began driving an auto-rickshaw. But he soon realised the importance of formal education and resumed his academic pursuits. While at college, Dipak shuffled studies with two part-time jobs at a medical store and in a Tata Indicom gallery.
Dipak has always been a pillar of support to his family. “His hard work has changed the lives of our family,” says his father, Shantaram Sonawane. Perhaps the only time that Dipak went against his family’s wishes was when he married his childhood beloved even though both their families were against the inter-caste alliance.
The couple settled in Pune, where Dipak landed a job in an NGO called Kranti Jyoti. Although Dipak was not drawing a handsome salary, the idea of serving others gave him immense happiness. However, he was still anxious about his future and his family’s dire financial condition. Little did he know that his life was soon going to change dramatically.
It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher arrives. A college mate told him about Mahindra Pride School (MPS) in Pune, and Dipak jumped at the opportunity. He joined the ITES (IT-enabled services) batch in March 2014, and despite having done it halfway through the course, he quickly learned the computer applications. He also benefitted from the communication, life skills and English-speaking modules.
The course at MPS boosted his self-esteem and confidence and opened up a brand new horizon. It enabled him to sail through an interview at eClerx Services in his first attempt, where he obtained a job with a monthly salary of INR 16,000. Within two years, he moved to BNY Mellon at the lowest Grade E. After a series of promotions, Dipak is currently leading a team of seven people and earning INR 90,000. His dedication at work has allowed him to earn performance bonus benefits — Dipak proudly remembers one month when he earned INR 190,000.
Although Dipak’s inherent skills have taken him far, he gives much credit to MPS for the turnaround in his life. His father agrees wholeheartedly. “MPS was a turning point in Dipak’s life. Earlier our family’s financial condition was very poor as my earnings as an auto-rickshaw driver were insufficient. Dipak used to do all kinds of jobs while completing his education. The training at MPS allowed him to enter a rewarding occupation,” says Shantaram.
Today, Dipak resides in a self-owned house in Pune with his wife and two sons. Passionate about vehicles, he owns two cars and three motorcycles. He has also begun constructing a large house in their village and invested in farmland.
Dipak’s status has given his family a revered status. His father proudly explains, “Earlier, our relatives would never involve us in anything whereas now they do not decide anything without discussing it with us.” The contentment in his voice is evident when he says, “Dipak takes good care of us and fulfils all our needs. I am very proud of my son.”
Today Dipak continues to regularly visit MPS to inspire other students with his story.
About Mahindra Pride Schools
Like Dipak, over 39,000 youth from socially and economically disadvantaged communities have been trained at one of the nine Mahindra Pride Schools in Pune, Chennai, Patna, Chandigarh, Varanasi, Hyderabad and Srinagar. The youth have benefitted immensely from the 90-day intensive training at MPS. Besides the domain-specific training in one of the four verticals – IT-enabled services (ITES), Organised Retail, Hospitality and Quick Service Restaurants, and the Automotive Sector, the youth are groomed in spoken English, grooming and soft skills. This has had a transformational impact on their lives and has equipped them to navigate the challenges of the professional world with ease. All of the students have been placed in reputed companies and are excelling in their careers. Mahindra Pride Schools are enabling the country to reap its demographic dividend and is an example of how Mahindra CSR drives positive change in the lives of its stakeholders and communities.
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