Samson Sundi had cleared the entrance test for the postgraduate course in rural management at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) last year, but he had to let go of the opportunity as his family could not afford the expenses.
Destiny had, however, planned higher education for the hardworking tribal youth.
This year, Samson is among the four students Tata Steel Rural Development Society is sending to Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar for an MBA in rural development.
The other three are Dangi Hembrom (23), Neha Vandana Minz (23) and Nayomi Ilin (26). The two-year course for the four students will cost nearly Rs 45 lakh, which will be borne by Tata Steel.
Samson, who hails from Chaibasa in West Singhbhum, said it was a dream come true.
“Last year, I cleared the TISS test, but could not take up the course as my family could not have afforded it. When I learnt that Tata Steel Rural Development Society has started this endeavour, I took their test last year, but could not make it. This time, things clicked. I am happy to pursue rural management as it will help me give something back to the society I hail from,” the 23-year-old said.
The tribal youth had completed his graduation from Xavier Institute of Tribal Education, Gamharia.
Parsudih-based Neha is equally delighted at her selection. “My father is unemployed and my mother teaches at a private school. We live in a joint family that my mother single-handedly supports. Once I complete the course, I will be able to support her,” she said.
Last year, the Tata outfit had similarly sponsored four students on the Jabalpur and Bhubaneswar campuses of Xavier Institute of Management. The annual endeavour is aimed at helping underprivileged but meritorious students realise their dreams.
Every year, the society organises a written test, followed by a group discussion and a personal interview to select the candidates.
Biren Bhuta, chief of corporate sustainability services, Tata Steel, said they planned to sponsor studies of more students. “We want more students to avail of the benefit. We sponsor for rural development courses because we want tribal youths to work for their communities,” said Bhuta.