UP: Sulabh extends financial aid to child prodigy

September 24, 2013

NGO Sulabh has extended financial aid to 13-year-old child prodigy Sushma Verma, daughter of a daily wage earner and reportedly the youngest graduate in the country, to encourage her to pursue higher education, according to an official release on September 15.

Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak presented Rs 8 lakh to the girl at a function in Lucknow to enable her to pursue higher education. He also presented her an iPhone, iPad, laptop, desk top and an LED TV.

Eager to become a doctor to serve the ailing, Sushma has taken admission in Lucknow’s B R Ambedkar Central University as age did not permit her to join a medical course.

“After MSc, I will not be able to sit for CPMT because of my age. So, I will do a PhD,” she said.

The Sulabh founder also promised to provide housing near university campus for the bright student to ensure better environment for her. This has come as a boon to the family who had to sell their land to pay for Sushma’s education.

Her father earns about Rs.200 a day to feed a family of five. They stay in a one-room home and their most prized possessions are a study table and a second-hand computer.

But when Bahadur saw his daughter’s name on merit list, he paid the initial fee of Rs.25,000 instantly, not thinking about the remaining money (Rs.75,000) to be paid later.

Pathak said, “I am committed to paying the fees and other expenses of her courses in future also.” 

Says Sushma on her achievement, “Of course, I too want a lot of things but I thank God for giving me the gift of learning.”

“I miss a better atmosphere, a better neighbourhood. But then, there are a lot of dreams… all of them cannot be fulfilled,” she added.

Pathak said Sulabh would educate her father to ensure a dignified life for the family, which has just come to realise the importance of education and knowledge.

“I think education is important for my children, so I did not hesitate in selling the land. We never got the chance to study – I don’t want my children to work as labourers, I will do whatever I can to educate them,” her father said.

Sushma, who cleared high school at the age of seven, also interacted with another child prodigy Thathagat Tulsi, who had passed the Class 10 exam at the age of nine.

Tulsi currently teaches at IIT-Mumbai after finishing higher studies at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the US.

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