When destiny becomes a matter of choice

Manjunath

A look at him, and he may come across to be an ordinary young man but very few know that Manjunath has reached where he is today after restless peddling.

Rescued as a child labourer in 1999 from Udupi, Manjunath had two options then, viz to put his heart and soul into studies and give a make over to his life completely or get employed somewhere and eke some income to help him survive, as most of the children who start off as child labourers do.

Manjunath chose to take the path of education because by the time he was out of Bapuji Balaniketan Samsthe, Alike he knew the power of education.

Son of Katraj and Sharada, daily wage workers from Kaudalli of Kollegal taluk of Chamrajnagar district, Manjunath lost his mother at a very young age and his father married for the second time.

Soon the family shifted out of Chamrajnagar in search of greener pastures and landed at Udupi, where little Manjunath was employed at a hotel. With dreams of learning and growing up to be educated young man still fresh in his eyes, Manjunath however worked in the hotel to supplement the income of his family.

Fortunately for him, a raid from Women and Child Welfare Department changed his life forever.

He was taken to Alike and was admitted to I standard, where he knit his young dreams. With perseverance and dedication, he burnt the mid night oil and got 63.3 per cent in SSLC and chose science stream for his Pre University studies. In II PUC, Manjunath successfully scored 60 per cent marks.

On special consideration, Alike centre decided to keep Manjunath for five more years even after he attained 18-years on record.

Though Manjunath had got several offers of free seats for Degree courses, he was sure that he wanted to become an Engineer and was further sure that he would have his higher students at KPT Mangalore. After procuring his caste certificate and going through the procedures Manjunath is today a face in KPT campus.

Employment

Impressed by his dedication and sincerity, Women and Child Welfare Department appointed this 23-year old young man as a watchman at Kadri Bal Bhavan on April, 13, 2010.

He is paid Rs 3,000 per month and the idea behind this move is to help him become self-dependent. Apart from this, a local restaurant named ‘Dinky Dine’ in Kadri has been supporting Manjunath by providing him free food.

Speaking to City Herald Manjunath, who is presently preparing for his first semester examination at Alike centre said that he wants to pass out of KPT with flying colours and get employed in a respectable company.

“I do not aspire to leave my country to try my luck. I am a die hard patriot and I do not want to be separated from my land. I will live here and serve my country in my own small way,” says Manjunath.

He says that if not for the initial push from his Physical Education Teacher Chandrashekar Bhat and Wardon Janardhan Nayak, things would have been very difficult then for a young rescued child labourer. “These are the people who motivated and guided me to think out of the box,” says Manjunath.

When asked about where he sees himself some years from today, Majunath says that though he has many dreams for himself and for children who have similar background as he once did, he would talk about all those dreams only when he realises them or atleast starts working on them.

With cent per cent dedication, Majunath as of now continues to toil to shape a better future for himself, which would become an example for many children who are forced to become child labourers.

Comments (+)