For Rajeev, it was just a normal day as he rode his cycle-rickshaw with a person called Kaine. It was a 4-hour return trip – and Rajeev would earn a mere $5 and a tip for all his troubles.
However, for Kaine Johnson, who is a community organiser at The Wilderness Society in Australia, Rajeev was a new face in India whom he had discovered while visiting one of its oldest cities, Varanasi.
While Rajeev paddled for four hours and Kaine looked around the city, a very unlikely conversation took place between them. Unlike the generalised conversation you would expect between a rickshaw puller and the customer – in this conversation, Rajeev opined on matters of philosophy, technology and international politics. He even expressed his thoughts on literature.
Eventually, the conversation veered towards Rajeev’s favourite topic. Here, he spoke a lot about climate change and said that his dream was to become an electrical engineer, and to contribute in the implementation of climate change solutions in India.
The ambitious and determined Rajeev had a clear dream to make the world a better place. But, his dream had stagnated due to his chaotic life and the harshness of its circumstances. After all, he had to choose rickshaw-pulling to make ends meet. This, despite the fact that he’s fluent in English and has a basic education. By bowing down to his life’s fortunes, he had made his dream of being an engineer an unattainable one.
On hearing Rajeev’s story, Kaine was motivated enough to try and fulfil Rajeev’s dream. Now, Kaine has launched an initiative to raise funds for Rajeev’s education, with the help of Ketto, one of Asia’s most visited crowdfunding platforms.
Rajeev can now complete his studies at the Shri Krishna College of Technology and become an electrical engineer. The cost of this is a little over $6500. In this way, Rajeev can help in the country’s progress, while also inspiring many others like him.
There are many ‘Rajeevs’ out there, who are carrying their secret bags, full of ambitions and dreams. But, every time they carry that bag, the scarcity in their lives compels them to forget these dreams. Not surprisingly, they only work towards earning a basic livelihood.
Due to the lack of opportunities, we are also losing ambitious, determined people, who are necessary for India’s progress. So, Kaine’s initiative to provide an opportunity and hope should be appreciated.
Even though the revolution to provide opportunities for all won’t come in a fortnight, any step to creating such a revolution will always lead to the nation’s progress!
You can contribute to Rajeev’s education here.