New Delhi: More than 1,000 people from across the world reached out within days to help a 19-year-old college student whose father, a farmer in Andhra Pradesh, had committed suicide.
After NDTV reported on the financial predicament of Swapna last week, absolute strangers have sent cheques to the family. The result: Swapna, a first-year college student, will no longer have to work as a farm hand to help pay her fees. Her mother, a heart patient, will be able to afford the medicines she needs and a surgery. Her young brother will stay in a private English-medium school. What's more the family will be able to pay off their outstanding loans that pushed Swapna's father Narsingula Bhikshapathi to take his own life.
"Many thanks to all those who helped us. We don't even know their faces. But we will study well and we will also help other poor children in need. I want to become a teacher. My brother will become a software engineer," Swapna pledged.
Bhikshapati, a farmer from Vangapadu village in Warangal district, was among over 100 farmers who killed themselves in Telangana in the last two months, victims of the grizly combination of of a failed crop and expanding debt.
Swapna's father died on her birthday. When we visited her home, her mother and grandmother had desperately pleaded that we find and bring some help to her.
"The people who helped us...they may not even understand how much...they will always be in our hearts...God bless them," said Swapna's grand-mother, Sarojiamma.
Suresh had not been to school after his father's death last month, not only because of rituals related to his father's death but also because he had been unable to pay the school fees and he was asked to either pay up or stay at home. He is relieved he can now get back to studying - he is in Class X and he knows it's a critical year for him if he wants to achieve his goal of becoming a software engineer. That had been his father's dream as well.
The 16-year-old tells us one of the first things he did after the first donations arrived was to pay Rs 500 and collect a framed photo of his father from the studio.