Looking to help 13-year-old child prodigy Sushma Verma, daughter of a daily wage earner and reportedly the youngest graduate in the country, NGO Sulabh has extended financial aid to her to encourage her to pursue higher education.
Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak gave Rs 8 lakh to the girl at a function here to enable her to pursue higher education. He also gave her an iPhone, iPad, laptop, desk top and an LED tv.
Eager to become a doctor to serve the ailing, Sushma has taken admission in Lucknow's B R Ambedkar Central University as age did not permit her to join a medical course.
"After MSc, I will not be able to sit for CPMT because of my age. So, I will do a PhD," she said.
The Sulabh founder also promised to provide housing near university campus for the bright student to ensure better environment for her. This has come as a boon to the family who had to sell their land to pay for Sushma's education.
Her father earns about Rs 200 a day to feed a family of five. They stay in a one-room home and their most priced possessions are a study table and a second-hand computer.
But when Bahadur saw his daughter's name on merit list, he paid the initial fee of Rs 25,000 instantly, not thinking about the remaining money (Rs 75,000)to be paid later.
Pathak said, "I am committed to paying the fees and other expenses of her courses in future also."
"The girl is an inspiration for students belonging to elite background. With the prize money, Sushma can fulfil her requirements. We will extend all support to the child even later on," he said.
Sushma is satisfied with her achievement.
"Of course, I too want a lot of things. But I thank God for giving me the gift of learning," she said.
"I miss a better atmosphere, a better neighbourhood. But then, there are a lot of dreams... all of them cannot be fulfilled," she said.
Pathak said Sulabh would educate her father to ensure a dignified life for the family, which has just come to realise the importance of education and knowledge.