Brijesh Saroj is the son of a daily wage worker in Uttar Pradesh and is determined to repay the society which helped him during a difficult period.
Despite being academically brilliant — he and his brother Raju secured rank 167 and 410 on the JEE merit list respectively — the brothers faced the tough task of putting together ₹ 1 lakh, which was the amount they needed to pay to attend IIT.
An article about the brothers appeared in the Times of India, following which, help from good samaritans poured in from all around the world. A fee waiver from the Union Human Resource Development Ministry helped, and the IIT dream for the boys came true. Brijesh got admitted to IIT-Bombay, and his brother at IIT-Kharagpur.
It was during his stint in Mumbai that Brijesh, with the help of a few friends, founded the Samdarshi Foundation. An NGO, it helps students from slums secure admission in schools, teaches them their rights, and mentors them to ensure that they pursue their academic dreams. “We have a classroom and a dedicated teacher in Kalyan where students, who cannot afford tuition, can receive personal attention. We are currently tutoring 15 students, but want to improve our base as much as possible.” Brijesh told the Times of India.
Currently, the brothers are based in their hometown Pratapgarh, where they are helping children gain admission into Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya. Brijesh says, “The school helped us pursue our IIT dream, and we want to be able to make it possible for as many children as possible,” adding that he wishes to skip the IIT-B placement process and wants to appear for the UPSC examination.