Odisha-based NGO Zindagi Foundation has once again helped 19 more medical aspirants hailing from poor families to chart new journeys in their lives as all of them have cracked the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) 2020.

Neither poverty nor coronavirus could dampen the spirits of these students to achieve their life goals to become doctors.

‘Zindagi’ programme is run by academician Ajay Bahadur Singh, who himself wanted to become a doctor as a youngster but had to make do without medical coaching and shelve his dream because of severe financial constraints.

Singh formed the Zindagi Foundation in 2017, which now selects students from underprivileged backgrounds across Odisha and provide them free coaching along with board and lodging, study material etc to help them realise their dreams and aspirations.

Among the kids under foundation tutelage is Angul district’s Khirodini Sahoo, whose father works as a farm labour. Due to the pandemic, her father lost his job and the family had to struggle to arrange even basic food.

“I fell ill during the lockdown, and came to Bhubaneswar by ambulance and told everything to Ajay sir. He kept me at his home and provided the necessary support,” said Khirodini, who has secured the 2,594th all-India rank in NEET 2020.

Satyajit Sahoo, whose father sells vegetables on a cycle, has scored 619 marks.

Subhendu Parida, who use to sell ‘idli-vada’ along with his father and mother, has obtained 609 marks.

Nivedita Panda, whose father is a betel-shop owner in her village, has obtained 591 marks. Roshan Paik used to work along with his father as an agricultural labourer but has now qualified in NEET.

Manjeet too has a similar story of NEET success, coming from a family of fishermen.

Many other students at Zindagi Foundation have got similar stories of deprivation but also determination. Their grit has helped them work hard with proper support and guidance of Zindagi Foundation and crack the NEET 2020.

Soon after its formation, the foundation’s 18 out of 20 students qualified in NEET-2018. In NEET-2019, its 14 out of 14 students qualified, Singh said.

“I could not become a doctor, but when I see these kids achieving their dreams, I feel I have achieved mine. I will never accept that a brilliant child is not able to achieve his or her dreams just because of financial constraints. I will keep on working relentlessly to ensure that none of these kids abandon his or her dreams due to lack of money and support,” he said.

Ajay Bahadur Singh doesn’t accept any donations to meet the expenses of students at the Zindagi Foundation. He takes care of the kids with his hard-earned money, and ensures they achieve whatever they set out to achieve in their lives.

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