"Yes, you can come visit me in Oxford during your Christmas break," I told my sister on the phone. Her excitement was contagious. However, as I put the phone down and a cold English drizzle enveloped me, I realized with a sigh, that that meant that I'd have to stay in Oxford in December, in the cold and the rain, and would not be able to go home to my beloved sunny Mumbai.
When my sister arrived at Oxford, I waited in vain for her to start complaining about the constant rain, the short days, the cold. Nothing. She was lost in wonder at the university. As we sat down in my room for dinner, she told me how lucky I was to be studying here.
I realised afresh how impossible it all seemed, that I, who have spent my entire life in Mumbai, was now studying in Oxford. I thanked my stars for the umpteenth time, that I had parents who had insisted on sending my sister and I to good schools, who cared about our education and who pushed us to go as far as we could. The happiest I have ever felt, is when I told my mother that I had been awarded the Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford. The image of her face when I told her the news will remain with me always.
Every year, a committee selects five Rhode scholars from India. India has a population of 1.2 billion people. Was the ratio of me getting one of the scholarship spots really 5/1.2 billion? Ofcourse not. If one looks at the number of students my age who had access to the same education and therefore, the same opportunities I had, the figure of 1.2 billion shrinks substantially.
Some of the people squeezed out of the 1.2 billion, were people I'd see every morning on my way to school in Mumbai. I would look out of the window and sea streets lined with slum children defecating on the pavement outside their chawls. Children who would at the most go to a third rate government school for their primary education. Children, who could never, ever dream of studying at Oxford- who probably did not even know that Oxford existed- and even if they did, didn't care.
As I sat with my sister, thinking about this, unable to come up with any explanation as to why I had been born- me and not a child in a slum in a city like Mumbai, I thought of how little I had done to address this gaping inequality/injustice.
I am grateful to be working for Givology that gives less fortunate children, a chance to escape the vicious cycle of poverty, I am grateful for this chance to be part of a balancing force that tries to even out the game of Life. This Christmas vacation, be part of this force, and change the life of a child with a [url=http://givology.com/giv-now/gift-certificates/]Givology Gift Card[/url]. Your gift will make a difference.
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