Hailing from the small village of Pudur in Hyderabad’s Vikarabad district, Anand Masagalla beat 2,500 applicants and got shortlisted for the Harvard Summer Crossroads Programme in an open competition at the Asia level.
The 22-year-old is the son of an agricultural labourer and is an exemplary role model for underprivileged students who aim to beat poverty through education.
Unable to afford the expenses of a private school, Anand’s father enrolled him in the state-run Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Society in Chilkur, on the periphery of Hyderabad. After completing his intermediate at the residential welfare society, Anand is now pursuing a B.Com degree from AV College in Hyderabad.
The other 60 students selected for the programme hail from the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa. This Harvard programme stands out, because it is exclusively conducted for students who are ‘first-generation learners’ or are the ‘first’ members of their families to attend college. It provides a unique platform for these students to show their grit and talent despite facing financial and social challenges.
Delighted at the prospect of meeting the Harvard faculty, Anand told The New Indian Express that, “From the 2,500 applicants, only 40 get selected from Asia. I was lucky to have got through.”
The ten-day programme will be held in Dubai from August 11.
Anand attributes his success to the hardship his parents faced to educate him. He is a proud son of agricultural labourers. His financial restraints never bogged him down, but instead, cemented his desire to excel in academics and improve their living conditions.
Anand wants to alleviate his family from their state of abject poverty and has now decided to pursue MBA. He feels one step closer to living his dream after being shortlisted for the programme.
Describing the challenge of clearing the essay round and Skype interview conducted by the university professors, he says, “I was initially nervous. With their accent it was difficult to comprehend what they were saying, but then I focused on being confident and I sailed through it.”
He expresses his gratitude to his teachers and mentor at the residential welfare society.
“Even though I am no longer with the society, they remembered me and insisted that I apply for it,” says Anand.
Anand considers the secretary of the welfare society, Dr R S Praveen Kumar, who is a Harvard graduate himself, his role model.
Anand wants to give back to the family. “We just have an acre of land and even that is not fertile. So, my parents have to work in other people’s fields. Their financial condition, however, never was a detriment in my younger brother’s education. It was their aim to educate me and now it’s my aim to provide them a comfortable life,” he says.
He still lends a helping hand to his parents in the fields when he goes back home during vacations.
“I want to pursue MBA from a foreign university. But I have no intention of settling down anywhere except India. I want to come back and start a business to help those like me,” says a hopeful Anand.
Photo Credit: Edexlive.com