In this interview series we ask questions to people who are making a difference in our society, it can be big, it can be small, it doesn’t matter, what matters is their contribution. It can be anyone from any walk of life and from any country. Please, do send us suggestions of people whom you think we should interview for this series.
Rambabu Sharma is the founder of Youth Empowerment Foundation (yefindia.in) which aims at educating underprivileged children and providing skill training to youth in order to make them self-reliant. Getting an education was not easier for Rambabu, it was a journey of years of struggle so he decided to make other’s life easier. Rambabu has done power engineering for NPTI, Delhi, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi. He is currently working in a German MNC. His father is a teacher and younger brothers are studying.
Following is our conversation with him
- Tell us something about yourself?
I hail from severely disadvantaged background wherein I did not have many resources while growing up, to a point where to manage the expenditures of my family I had to leave my education and get into the market to sell my labour so that the daily needs of my family could be met, but now all that seems like a long passed history as I am at a situation where I am empowered enough to help and bringing change lives of more than 200 children through my NGO. I have struggled through my childhood and youth in completing formal education. The relevance of my vision can be derived from my own journey since I came to Delhi from a remote village of Bihar. Life was not easy and kind to me so I had to work as a child labor in the factories of Kirti Nagar Delhi to support my family & father’s treatment, I worked as a carpenter, office boy, data entry operator etc. at various places to earn better wages and to be able to cater my family’s living. Nevertheless, amidst of all these challenging situations, I managed to continue my studies somehow and my strong zeal for education paved my way to achieve an engineering degree in 2016 from NPTI one of the esteemed college of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, where I awarded scholarship to pursue my education, I secured 9th rank in the University entrance exam. Currently, I am Engineer in a German MNC and working with cutting edge technology of Power Generation globally. I traveled to Germany & other countries due to my job demand in power plant.
Despite my busy schedule at work and constant traveling, I have not forgotten my root. I am committed to serve underprivileged children to help them pursue their education. This was the genesis of “Youth Empowerment Foundation” that is working towards empowering young minds to impact our community with a positive change. The foundation invests in community projects since June 2017, aiming to deliver holistic education including skills & extra curricular activities to underprivileged children & youth.
I not only fund my salary to the Foundation but also spends quality time with the Foundation team and community leaders to guide them in achieving the objectives of our initiative. I truly inspire the students associated with my initiatives since I can correlate with me and believe that changing their life for better is possible as I made in my life.
I believe either life is to utilize for serving our own family or for the society as a whole, the best utilization is when we live our life to make someone other’s life easier. I considered this society as my own a bigger family & working persistently for it’s all possible upliftment.
- Can you tell us the challenges you faced in your education?
Education for me has been full of challenges although I have been a bright student throughout, yet it did not come easy to me but I did fight an equally hard battle to get and reach my goals and aims. Be it way back in 2005, when I was in 8th standard and I left Bihar along with my education to earn some money from my family or in 2012 when I had to take education loans ask people for money through crowdfunding and a few other sources so that I could pay for my fees to get into BTech or in 2013 when my mother expired right before my term exams. To count the challenges that I faced in my education there is a long list, but to be short I did face quite a few although I bear the fruits now with working in a MNC as an engineer so it all seems like a past memory.
- What motivated you and kept you going?
While I was growing up I did not have any guidance or support of my own so what motivates me to keep going is being a support for someone else and seeing the results coming in to ship to my intervention it is the biggest motivator for me.
- Do you think govt. or our society properly understands and addresses the reasons behind child labor?
No, personally I don’t think the government has been able to address the issue of child labour or even understands because the reality has not changed and still millions of children face child labour and lose their childhood working in those factories and unhealthy environment. Just by making it constitutionally illegal hasn’t much changed the reality even if government understands, my personal experience that the real issue being economically deprived remains unchecked and untackled until that is addressed child labour will continue to exist in the society.’
- When do you decided to open these centers?
I decided to open these centres in June 2017 when I got a job right after completing of education that is when I realised that now it is time for me to give back to the society and open the centres to help children and others education and skills that can change their lives as well
- Can you tell our readers how you support these centers and if you get any help from people in this effort?
If you are reading this particular article I request you to help me in any way possible to take my vision ahead. You can volunteer, give services at my centres, lend in financial help, share your knowledge and skill with the young minds so that I can save more lives or even you could send in more children to my centres whom you know are in need of support, we welcome anyone and everyone with an open heart and encourage you to join us.
- What lessons and skills do you want to teach these kids?
My biggest teaching to all kids is to set goals for themselves because unless and until you dream and aspire you won’t be able to change yourselves or your environment. Next, learning a skill is very important as that is exactly what changed my life and helped me to overcome obstacles in life. The skills you learn might not immediately help you, but in future it shall not go waste that is what I guarantee and my life is a living example of it. So I want all children to have some or the other kind of skill in their hand which might help them and take them through in times of need. Next, education for all is a must as educational empowerment opens up your faculties, critical thinking and rationality so education should be a must for all children. Also, the education I’m talking about is not just about marks it is also inclusive of building a higher Emotional Quotient in the children.
- What are some of the major problems you see in our education system?
I feel that the quality in our education system is lacking as it might give us a materialistic education but it is failing to make us as good human being which I think should be the sole purpose of education. Roots cause of today’s all social evils are such decline in human values.
- What are your plans for the future?
My plans include helping as many as possible being a support, guardian and a lifesaver to hundreds more. Changing lives for the better and making lives easier to others is my Moto and sole purpose in life.
- Your message for our readers?
This society is our family only we can it; our every single action creates impact on it we should never forget. We should always take a social responsibility it strengthens us to do better us of this transient life, it help us get rid of our own problems when we think for others. My life is a living example today I came into mainstream not because of my talents it was because of I had been doing good for others it made my own life so easier that I could never thought of. We have any talent it’s a gift of god, if we use those talents for the welfare of society is our gift to god.