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When the mind is strong, nothing else matters

Born with a physical affliction, Aruna discovered – with the help of Mahindra Pride School – that she had abilities stronger than her disability

As a child, Aruna suffered immensely due to a polio-induced condition that paralysed the lower part of her body. More than physical, the agony was emotional and mental as the condition forced her to become a burden on her parents, especially her father.

Her father, a daily wager, was the only earning member in the family. Despite toiling hard, he barely earned INR 10,000 a month. It was never enough to feed a family of seven. As a result, the family led a hand-to-mouth existence and often had to take loans from their neighbours, etc., to make ends meet. Despite the hardship, Aruna’s father never gave up his efforts to get her physical anomaly corrected. Due to his untiring efforts, Aruna is now able to walk.

However, despite the improvement in her physical condition, Aruna’s emotional state had taken a beating. Her father’s constant struggle and their abject financial condition had emotionally scarred Aruna as she grew up. Feeling both guilty and indebted, she desperately wanted to do something to alleviate her family’s troubles. But she didn’t know how she could do anything, given her physical limitations.

The answer came to her when, after completing her higher secondary from Punjab School Education Board, she learnt about Mahindra Pride School (MPS) from a friend. Visiting the MPS facility in Chandigarh convinced Aruna that it would provide an opportunity to overcome her challenges. She enlisted for the ITES course.

For the first time, Aruna came across empathetic classmates, peers and teachers who encouraged her to participate in classroom activities. It was a far cry from her school days, where she would routinely be the subject of ridicule. Aruna’s coaches also helped in improving her communication skills, which further raised her confidence.

A transformed Aruna appeared for an interview at Dr. IT, a BPO sector company, where she secured the job with an initial monthly remuneration of INR 8,500.

The shy girl who joined MPS is now a confident young woman with an indomitable spirit. Presently, Aruna is working with ‘Forever’, a multi-level marketing company manufacturing and marketing aloe vera-based drinks and bee-derived cosmetics, dietary supplements and personal care products. She is currently drawing a monthly compensation of INR 20,000.

As a supervisor in the marketing and sales department, Aruna leads a team — a proposition seemed unbelievable a few years back. For Aruna's family, this is something that they would not have even dared to dream. They had witnessed Aruna’s suffering and had never imagined that the timid, polio-stricken girl would metamorphose into a self-assured and financially independent woman. Her father says, "By dint of sheer hard work and unwavering will, Aruna has set an example in our neighbourhood. She is now inspiring other girls.”

Her proud parents are grateful to MPS for supporting and encouraging Aruna to fulfil her dreams. As they rightly say, MPS has given her wings to soar high. With tears of joy, Aruna's mother talks about how her daughter has proven to be better than her sons at handling familial responsibilities.

Aruna continues to encourage and motivate new students at MPS. Undoubtedly, MPS has helped her find a new sense of purpose. As she puts it, “MPS taught me the importance of work and enabled me to develop skills for obtaining the desired job. It has also shown me how compassion can transform a person’s life.”

About Mahindra Pride Schools

Like Aruna, 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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