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‘Nothing is impossible’ is his message

A visually-challenged student makes it to MIT

A staunch believer in hard work and perseverance, this 17-year-old with his excellent command over English might seem like any other teenage. But, for B. Srikanth, a visually-challenged student, nothing in life came easily. Not even the admission into Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a full fee waiver. Hailing from Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, this son of a farmer completed his schooling from Devnar School for Blind.

When he approached an Intermediate college to pursue his plus two in sciences, he was told he couldn’t do that. However, with the help of his mentors from school, he managed to enrol himself in M.P.C in Royal Junior College and finished his Intermediate with an impressive 92.5 per cent.

The success in Intermediate didn’t come easily. “There was no Braille in Intermediate. My teacher Swarnalatha helped me a lot by recording the entire syllabus onto audio tapes,” he says. “I took tuition only for mathematics as it is not easy to learn this with the help of tapes.”

“Nothing in this life is impossible,” says this die-hard optimist, “We are not ‘disabled’; we are ‘challenged’. So we have to take this as a challenge and fight back,” he says.

Srikanth’s zeal to learn and reach for the stars was noticed by Ravi Kondapalli, an NRI, at a conference ‘Ignite the genius within you,’ held in Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. “I had expressed my dream of studying in the U.S. to Mr.Ravi and he took up the challenge to fulfil my dream,” says Srikanth. With the help of support from Valmiki Foundation, an NGO, his applications were sent to the top-notch universities in the U. S. Soon, his application was accepted by MIT which not only gave him admission but also waived the entire fee amount of over 56,000 dollars.

Srikanth hopes to set his own software firm to employ skilled rural youth. “The biggest hurdle for us rural youngsters is the lack of proper education,” he says. “Primary education is a constitutional right but we are unable to give value to that right,” he adds.

D.V.L. PADMA PRIYA

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