Bhubaneswar: Nineteen underprivileged Odisha students, backed by a non-governmental organization (NGO), have cracked NEET. The results of the medical entrance examination were announced on Friday.
The budding doctors are from families of daily labourers, vegetable sellers, truck drivers and idli-vada sellers. They were a part of Zindagi programme, run by an NGO founded by academician Ajay Bahadur Singh, who himself faced hardships in his childhood.
Talented underprivileged students, who aspire to take up medical studies, are identified from across Odisha, and provided free coaching and food to help them crack NEET.
“Neither poverty nor coronavirus pandemic could dampen the spirit of these students who dream of becoming doctors. This year also the Zindagi foundation students created history, with all 19 students qualifying in NEET 2020 exam,” Ajay Bahadur was quote as saying by Edexlive.
One of the successful students is Khirodini Sahoo from Angul, daughter of a farm labourer who lost his job during the pandemic. “I fell ill during the lockdown and came to Bhubaneswar in an ambulance. Ajay Sir told me to stay at his house and provided me with everything required,” revealed Khirodini, who has secured All India rank of 2,594.
Satyajit Sahoo, a vegetable seller’s son, scored 619 out of 720, while Subhendu Parida, who use to sell ‘idli vada’ with his parents, qualified in NEET with a score of 609.
Nivedita Panda, whose father is a betel shop owner in their village in Dhenkanal district, secured 591 marks. Another NEET qualifier Roshan Paik used to lend a helping hand to his father, a farm labourer.
Talking about his own experience, Ajay Bahadur said he had to leave medical studies to sell tea and sharbat to sustain his family. “I had to sell tea and sharbat at Shravani mela in temple town of Baba Baidyanath in Jharkhand,” he said.
Twelve out of a batch of 14, who had cracked NEET in 2018, got admission in government medical colleges of Odisha. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had hosted them to acknowledge their achievements.
“I could not become a doctor but when I see these kids achieve their dreams, I feel I have achieved mine. I would never accept that any brilliant child is not able to achieve his or her dream just because of financial constraints,” Naveen said.