vocational training · Youth

Following a dream – A journey across India

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KamwadathmuHadem (Thomu) – 33rd batch – 097656-23452

“..a dreamer is one who can find his way by moonlight, and see the dawn before the rest of the world”, said Oscar Wilde.

I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with one of the most interesting students today. Thomu is how he wants to be known. On insisting on getting his surname, he mentioned his name was Kamwadathmu Hadem. Thomu was born in the picturesque Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. Both his parents are farmers, and Thomu is the eldest in a family of 9 children. He has no idea of any family income that existed, apart from the yield from their farm. Apparently, there are some organizations in Meghalaya that select & support children who have the aspiration to study. Thomu was interviewed and chosen by that organization when he was in Class IV. That organization took Thomu from the hills of Meghalaya to the industrial town of Aurangabad in Maharashrta.

Thomu studied from Class V to Class X in Aurangabad in a boarding school. It is at this school that Thomu happened to meet one Mr. Sunil Goyal. The benevolent Mr.Goyal would spend time with the students at that school and even take them out to movies when he had the time. One of the common conversations with the students was around their aspirations. While most children would respond that they want to become a Doctor or Engineer, Thomu was the only one who expressed his desire to become a businessman. This interested Thomu’s mentor, Mr.Goyal who told Thomu that he would aid in achieving the aspiration.

When Thomu was finishing class XI, he had a rush to go back to Meghalaya & support his family with 8 siblings and ageing parents. He did stay in touch with his mentor, though. At some point in 2010, Thomu returned to Jalna to work with Mr.Goyal in learning the nuances of the trade. It was then that Mr.Goyal suggested Unnati to Thomu. He thought Unnati would play a pivotal role in the overall development of  Thomu’s personality. Off came Thomu to Bangalore, to be a part of the 33 rd batch at Unnati  .The journey of transformation at Unnati seems to be a common phenomenon. When asked (and even before asking too much), Thomu had lots of reasons (some of them are listed below) to thank Unnati for:

  •  Spoken English classes are the best – they helped correct the language and neutralise the accent.
  •  Thomu learnt to respect people, to NOT take emotional decisions under any circumstance.
  •  To keep religion & politics out of the business discussions.

  •  To take enough time before judging people.
  •  Unnati’s helped Thomu become more calm, de-stressed and happy. He says he was a very short-tempered person earlier.
  •  In Thomu’s words, “you will not get this quality of education even when you pay heavily”

After completing the course at Unnati, Thomu got a job at Croma. He worked in Croma for 10 months, with an average salary of around Rs. 10000 a month. Since his dream was to become a thriving businessman, Thomu quit the job at Croma. He says Unnati had transformed him so much that he became very friendly & his colleagues liked him a lot. They even threw a party for Thomu’s send-off & gave him a gift voucher for Rs. 1500 as a token of their appreciation. Since the aspirations were elsewhere, Thomu tracked his journey back to Maharashtra. Today, he is working with his mentor and learning aspects of business management like HR, accounts etc. He says his dream is to go back to Meghalaya and begin a small-scale business there.

If this were not inspiring enough, here’s what moved me further: Like I ask many of the students, I asked Thomu how he would like to give back to Unnati. His response was stunning – Thomu’s “long-term” vision is to start Unnati at Meghalaya. He says there is a long way to go before he does that. He has also invited me, along with the staff at Unnati, to be a part of the Unnati Centre inauguration at Meghalaya.

Team Unnati is extremely happy about students like Thomu, and we wish him the very best!

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