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KC Mahindra Education Trust: Giving wings to ambitions

Since its inception, Mahindra has been a socially responsible corporate — going beyond the legal and statutory requirements — to make responsible investments in the community. Corporate Social Responsibility has always been an integral part of the Group's vision and is the cornerstone of our core value of being a Good Corporate Citizen. Over the years, the Group's efforts in education, health and environment have transformed lives of thousands of people all over the world.

KC Mahindra Education Trust (KCMET) is one of the Group's early community outreach programmes. Instituted in 1953 by the late KC Mahindra, co-founder of the Mahindra Group, the Trust's vision is to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged students by offering them a variety of scholarships, livelihood training programmes and financial support. KCMET has granted more than USD 88.35 million in the form of scholarships and loans to over 4 lakh deserving students.

Today, many KCMET scholars are not only carrying out path-breaking research and teaching at reputed institutions but are also manning national and international banks, commercial and financial institutions, multinational corporations. Some of them are providing quality health care and legal services, while others are entering sunrise industries such as IT, biotechnology, computing, including areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and so on. One such beneficiary of the Trust is Vishal Kumkar.

Dreams do come true: Vishal's story

Vishal's journey is a heart-warming example of how the determination to succeed can help you overcome hurdles and go far in life. Born in Mumbai, Vishal grew up with his three sisters in the slums of Bhandup. Both his parents worked hard to build a life for their children. His father was an auto-rickshaw driver, and his mother ran a small grain mill and doubled as a public telephone booth operator. His parents toiled day and night to educate the children and give them a better place in life.

A bright child, Vishal dreamt big. He wanted to study computer technology after his secondary school education. While he qualified for the course, his family's circumstances meant that paying the fee would be a hurdle. The fee for the diploma was over INR 25,000 — an unattainable and unaffordable amount for the family. But Vishal was destined to overcome these circumstances.

In 2006, he applied for the Mahindra All India Talent Scholarship and was one of its beneficiaries. This took him one step closer to his dream of acquiring a degree in engineering. With the help of the scholarship, he completed a diploma course in computer technology at Vivekanand Polytechnic, Mumbai.

Life had much more in store for the bright young man. Vishal graduated as a state topper in Maharashtra, which fueled his ambitions further. In 2009, he enrolled for the undergraduate degree course in computer engineering at VJTI, Mumbai. In his third year, he was selected for an internship with Goldman Sachs. That later translated into a full-time position as a software developer with a salary of INR 17 lakhs per annum. His years of hard work and dedication has helped him chart new heights in his career. Within a few years, he had saved enough to buy a flat for his family in Mumbai.

The story doesn't end there. This is because when ambition meets ability, it creates a powerful engine. Vishal had a fulfilling and promising job, but there was another dream to follow. He wanted to pursue a master's degree in computer science. In 2015, Vishal secured admission at the prestigious Cornell University in the United States. But again, there was a hurdle as an Ivy League education is expensive. Vishal's family stood by his side and decided to sell their flat to cover the costs, but this wasn't enough. Vishal applied for the KC Mahindra Scholarship for Post Graduate Studies Abroad and was selected, thus bridging the funding gap.

Over the years, Vishal's star has steadily risen despite hurdles. He has built his career on the back of sheer grit and determination. Back home, his three sisters, too have worked hard and are making great strides in their professions. One of them is an engineer, another is a general physician, and his third sister is an accountant. Recently, Vishal took his parents and sisters for a month-long trip to the USA. Talking about his incredible journey, Vishal says, "I am thankful to KC Mahindra Education Trust for their support throughout my career." From a humble beginning in India to studying at a prestigious Ivy League university in the United States, to working for some of the top software engineering companies, his life story is both an inspiration and an affirmation — that determination can make any dream come true.

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