From Darkness to Light
From Darkness to Light
I was born and raised in a leper colony. Both my parents had contracted leprosy. They earned their livelihood by begging because they were rejected and forgotten by their families and by society. Somehow, they looked after us, but many times, their meager earnings were not enough to fill our hungry mouths.
Being born in a leper colony made it difficult for me to get an education, but God had a special plan for my life. In our helpless situation, the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Graces brought a ray of hope to us. During their frequent visits to our home and to our leper colony, a deep bond grew between us. The sisters worked hard to put the children of the colony in hostels where we could get a proper education and become rays of hope to our families. The day finally came when I was admitted to a hostel. With the help of the sisters, I completed high school and graduated. My parents had no money to help me continue my education after high school, even though I wanted to so much. Out of their love and concern, the sisters helped me to be admitted to the women’s college in Bhubaneswar. After I completed my training in computers and graduated, I got a small job. While doing that job I received another opportunity, and I am doing my BBA studies. I am inspired by the great philosopher Swami Vivekananda, who said, “Believing in yourself is the first secret to success.”
It is difficult for me to find words to express the joy of completing my education. While I was in the hostel and during my studies, mingled with other young people and learned the value and importance of education. I never felt lonely or that I was an outcast. I had good friends and the sisters always helped me to stay positive in all situations. I remember the words of the great man, Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” While doing my studies, I realized that education is not only for a higher earning capacity, but it also gives other benefits. We come to know about our surroundings. We develop social consciousness. We can introduce new things and make better choices in life. Education empowers children to defend themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.
I remember the words of A. P. J. Abddul Kalam: “Look at the sky, we are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give best to those who dream and work.” I received strength, courage, and perseverance to dream big and follow my dreams. The sisters and teachers taught me to be a winner, to learn from my mistakes, and to share my joys and experiences. I never thought that I would be able to complete my studies. It was a dream for me, but at last, my dreams came true. The sisters who come to colony are heaven’s instruments. They are providing homes, medical treatment, education, and other necessities for life.
I am grateful to the sisters and especially to Fr. Richard Vaz SVD, and all my benefactors who helped me to make my dream come true. They helped me to become who I am today. I no longer have to see my parents begging on the streets. My earnings help us to live a better life in society. Once again, I want to give a special word of big thanks to all my benefactors.