Nothing comes granted for kids born in slums. Most of them suffer diseases due to bad hygiene and lack of food. They rarely receive formal education, they can neither read nor write. Public says that once you’re born in a slum, your destiny is set–and it is not a good omen.
Some children manage to break that quote though. They find their way out of poverty. It is no bed of roses, and they have to sacrifice a lot to escape the life in the slum. Once they succeed, however, they typically say their sacrifice was worth it–and it doesn’t matter how much they had to sacrifice.
Ipsy was an ordinary kid from the slums of Mumbai. His parents left him alone when he was five. He spent his days hanging around, begging for food. When the Red Cross workers found him during one of their visits of the biggest slum of Mumbai, Ipsy was seriously malnourished and sick.
They decided to give him a helping hand, taking him out of the slum for a month, to their center in the city, so he could recover. They treated him well, he slept in a bed, and he quickly understood that life existed outside of the slum.
I want to live like you
The experience changed Ipsy’s expectations of life, and himself. He started to attend the school, walking six miles from slum every morning and six miles back. Red Cross paid for his clothes and shoes. Ipsy spent his weekends collecting various stuff directly in the streets of Mumbai, and selling his merchandise to the locals for some cheap change. He managed to get himself some books and food for the money he made.
Ipsy not only learned to read and write, he actually finished the elementary school. And he decided to continue. His life was stressful and tiring, but the goal he carried in his mind empowered him on his journey. Ipsy dreamed of graduating from the University, with the masters degree in teaching. And so he studied hard, worked hard, walked a lot, and slept a little. One day, he finally managed to graduate from the University. He was an accredited teacher!
Starting school in the slum with the help of Red Cross
Ipsy contacted the people from Red Cross immediately, suggesting they started a small school directly in the slum. He was to be a head teacher, and he accepted to be paid a minimum wage. Red Cross agreed to his proposal and soon enough, the Western Slum of Mumbai had its own primary school. Two other teachers joined Ipsy.
Children swarmed in like bees, and the first lesson was Ipsy’s life story– to inspire them and show them that they can achieve their dreams and live outside of the slum one day. Just then they started to learn how to write and read.
Ipsy rented a small apartment five kilometers from the slum, where he lives with his friend. His life is still busy and tiring, but he sees a purpose in what he does, and the purpose motivates him to continue working hard. Maybe, one day, children in slums will receive the same education as they contemporaries outside–they won’t be handicapped anymore.
The talents are everywhere–even where you wouldn’t expect them
Ipsy was born in a slum and abandoned by his parents. An accidental meeting with Red Cross workers showed him that there’s life outside of the slum, and that he doesn’t have to suffer. Without proper upbringing and healthcare, he managed to change his life, study, and become a respected teacher in Mumbai. If a guy from a slum can do it, you surely can. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams!