Last year in June, a young woman – an alumnus of Deepalaya – left behind the everyday struggle for survival that comes with living in an urban slum and flew to greener pastures. She went seeking not refuge, but knowledge, knowledge that would enable her to come home and make a difference in the society.
Satvinderjeet Kaur is a girl of humble origins and lives with her family in an urban slum in Delhi. With her father passing away before his time, the responsibility of becoming the family’s sole bread earner came to rest solely on her still young shoulders. While working, she came to know about the CCI programme (Community College Initiative Programme) through her mentors in Deepalaya. The prospect of a fully sponsored degree from an American college and a chance to break away from her economic status were enough to convince her to give this programme a shot. After a series of grilling written test and interviews, Satvinder became one of 37 students who were selected from across India.
A year has gone by since then and the once shy and soft-spoken girl has returned home with a degree in Information Technology from the Fox Valley Technical College. Here’s what she has to say about her experience abroad –
I was in the USA for 10 months, and those 10 months were the best moments of my life. I studied Web Designing, in which I learnt HTML, CSS, Photoshop and Dreamweaver. This program helped me to improve my English, develop my leadership qualities and gain knowledge in my field of study.
Places I visited -were New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison.
New things I tried – were Flying a plane, cooking and making a snowman.
I successfully completed 60 hours of my Internship at the Student Help Desk of the Fox Valley Technical College.
I celebrated many festivals like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Eid and Christmas Day with people from all over the world.
I also attended a three day conference meeting at Global Youth Leader Conference in Washington, DC.
Before going to U.S., I was a shy and less talkative person, but within these 10 months I learnt to open up, I learnt and started to talk to people I did not know. I did many presentations and group discussions in class. By getting involved in the friendly environment, I changed and evolved into a new person. Now I feel and see the change in myself. I don’t hesitate to talk to strangers and I am also more talkative.
Overall, it was the most wonderful opportunity that I ever got in my life. Thank you Deepalaya and Special thanks to Shikha Pal ma’am to give me this wonderful opportunity.