[Survivor Series] I never neglected academics despite physical and financial hardships

This week in Survivor Series, we share the story of Tarlada Sivanandh, who never gave up his dreams of a solid education despite a problem with his vision and financial hardships at home.

I am Tarlada Sivanandh from Tarapuram village of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh. My parents were daily wage workers. 

I have known the value of hard work since childhood because I had always seen my parents working hard. As a child, I used to go to farms with my mother to help them and I still remember their words: “If you study hard, you don’t need to work hard like us.”

I was an average student in my upper primary classes and my education was hit by the temporary migration of my family due to financial problems and state-wide agitations for a state split, causing schools to be closed in the following year. This led me to fare poorly in academics. My father could not afford to send me to a private school to improve my education.

Sivanandh (L) with his mother and brother

It was then that my brother, who had just completed his graduation, decided to enrol me into a private school despite the high fees. But those two years helped me immensely. They enhanced my education, understanding, and competitiveness. Because of this, I even got good grades in the board examination. This was made possible thanks to the support of my teachers and family. 

I never neglected my studies—despite difficulties at home and my vision problems.

However, I soon realised that my family could afford fees for me to study further. I wanted to go for a bachelor’s in technology but instead signed up for a diploma in mechanical engineering at Government Polytechnic College, Visakhapatnam. 

I felt it was the best way to get technical education and a job in three years—so that I would not be a burden to my family and could possibly reduce their debts. From the very beginning, I was aiming for campus placements.

As my college was far from my village, I took the admission in the college hostel. This was very cheap compared to others, but it was still a big amount to pay for my family as my father was ill and could not work anymore and my brother was the only earning member. 

This led me to take up part-time jobs in internet cafes, tuition centres etc.

It was then that my father told me about the Vidyadhan scholarship programme; he read about this in a newspaper. I immediately applied and got the scholarship. Since then, I did not have to do any part-time jobs as many of my expenses and fees were covered. My family too got economical relief, thanks to the scholarship.

Vidyadhan has helped me in many more ways than just monetary support. The organisation gave me a great platform to build confidence in myself through orientation programmes. It provided me with an opportunity to interact with new people confidently.

I learned how to be confident while speaking in English. Till then, I, like many others, was nervous while conversing in English. I also learned many interview and life skills, which helped me to get placed at Tata Projects during campus recruitment.

I thank the whole organisation and mentors for their support in my journey; they all have played a part in my success.

I gathered great experience and knowledge while working in Tata Projects and was later selected for Grama Sachivalayam recruitment by the state government. Now, I am working near my village to look after my family and farms.

We are now economically stable and most of our debts have been cleared. We have even started the construction of our own house.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai