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A life more than exemplary... Bocha Ravi Kumar
By Castilino
Hyderabad, Nov. 16. The life of this boy can certainly be called exemplary, not just for what he has today become but also for what he intends to do in the future.  It is not just a story of a boy who rose from rags to riches but that of sheer determination and will power to do something challenging and noble in life.  A thatched hut for a home, a sick mother for a family, a street light for a study lamp and an ailment that threatened his very sanity and almost led him to be an outcast were all that he had when he began his studies at the local school 15 years ago.  Today the same lad (now a young man) has in hand job offers from 7 multi-national companies to join their team of engineers with a fat pay, besides a student enrollment letter cum grand scholarship from IIT, Kanpur with a monthly stipend of Rs 12,000.  Welcome to the life of Bocha Ravi Kumar!
Ravi began his long and arduous journey from a small hamlet named Cheepuralvalasa, of the Kothavalasa mandal in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh.  His teachers at the local St Mary's school still remember him as a bright and determined boy right from his early years.  Studies were never an uphill task for Ravi Kumar, but making it to school everyday and being able to afford the least that the school required were.  His ailing mother, the only one whom he could call his own, could work just for two days a week - the rest of the week saw her unable to get out of bed.  While what she earned bought them enough food for one meal a day, his school expenses were covered by the educational support programme of the Seminary at Kondadaba (through the kind favour of benefactors in Turin).

Having completed his basic schooling and junior college (at Vagdevi Junior College, Kothavalasa) with high marks, he wrote the EAMCET exam and secured a good rank (within the first 100).  This gave him the opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming an engineer by enrolling at Andhra University.  With a little help, once again from the Seminary and other generous benefactors who were impressed by his zeal and ability, he was offered a seat at Andhra University.  The rest, as they say, is history.  

Thanks to the generosity of benefactors, especially Fr Luigi Zuffetti and Don Bosco Missioni (Turin), Ravi Kumar now has a bright future.  Bocha Ravi Kumar may be just one of the thousands who have benefitted from the educational support extended by St John's, Kondadaba over the 15 years of initiating this sponsorship programme, but certainly he isn't just a number anymore.  Through his sheer determination and will power to rise above all that impeded him from dreaming big and break free of all the voices that told him that a better life was an impossibility, Bocha Ravi Kumar nows stands tall and sure of where he intends to go and what he must do.  Though the job offers are tempting enough, Ravi Kumar is keen to pursue his studies so as to have a wider reach and scope of extending his skill, his voice and his heart.  At present he is in New Delhi pursuing his dream.  

What adds meaning and depth to the life of Bocha Ravi Kumar is the fact that he has not forgotten his humble beginnings and the initial help that he received from St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba.  He, of his own accord sincerely feels the need to 'pay it forward'.  He intends to now support at least 25 children from his village in their educational process and offer them an opportunity which he once was given.

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