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From unskilled Labour to a Social Worker, It Still Feels Unreal

I am Ballu and a proud member of Naman Seva Samiti. This pride comes from the change that I am able to create in my community by supporting some of the most marginalised. However, life was not as hopeful as it is today. At the age of 28, I had finished my schooling and was looking to study further. As a rural youth, education was my only to hope to change my fortune. Born in the family of daily wage labourers who were surviving with negligible resources, my choices were limited.

I was educated and hoped to do something meaningful in life however, as destiny has for people like us, I ended up working as a labourer like my parents. All my hopes shattered in front of the harsh realities of life. Even when I suppressed all my aspirations in life and accepted what I had, I still could not run my family. The work was not enough to feed my family. With an income of barely Rs. 1000 a month, the days were as dark as nights. I did not know if I will get the work tomorrow and how will we manage food for our family.

Yet, a ray of hope came from Naman when I joined them as a volunteer. My
education also helped me contribute in social change that the organisation is creating. I could pick up things faster, contribute in planning of activities and help the community. From soil testing kit, to animal rearing, skill and entrepreneurship development, the learning provided me ample opportunities to transform my life.

My work also was threaded around cycle of overall development. From awareness to empowerment. Though it’s a slow process, the impact remains in people lives for a very long time. However, more than anyone, this helped me to the most.

Today I am earning around Rs. 60,000 per year which is five times increase. From a labourer to an advisor. This all seems so unreal. People around treat me as an educated, skilled individual who can show them a path to prosperity. Even Naman is recognising my potential and I am selected as field supervisor from a volunteer. With more responsibilities, I look at this as an opportunity to change lives of many more who are looking for that one opportunity to break the shackles of poverty and build a respectable life for themselves.