Little would one realize that the quiet and soft-spoken Chandan was the Asha topper with a whopping score of 89% (A grade) in class 12. Hailing from Jeevan Nagar slum colony, 19-year-old Chandan is the son of a daily wage labourer and the eldest amongst three siblings.
Chandan’s tryst with Asha began about fourteen years ago on a casual note. “A big Gulmohar tree with a makeshift swing is my first memory of the Asha centre in Jeevan Nagar. I guess that my involvement with the Bal Mandal (children’s associations) and its activities was a natural progression arising from the comfort levels that I had started sharing with the centre and its staff”, said Chandan as he checked his watch so as not be late for his college.
A diligent student all along, Chandan secured admission and pursued a degree course in mathematics from the prestigious Shri Venkateswara College (amongst the top ten colleges under Delhi University). In an atmosphere characterized by dilapidated roofs, poorly ventilated overcrowded rooms and lack of basic sanitation facilities, it has not been easy for Chandan to find time and space to be devoted to his studies.
But dedication and perseverance have paid off to pave the way towards better prospects in life.
Currently, Chandan is in Australia after receiving a prestigious Future Research Talent Award 2019 offered by the Australian National University to be a Research Intern and receive an exposure into the rich and diverse world of collaborative research in his favourite discipline- Algebraic Topology. Chandan has also been accepted by eight top UK universities for his Masters in Mathematics and he has also received prestigious Chevening Scholarship to study at the UK. He is scheduled to join his Masters in September.
It is the experience of students like these that inspire Asha to move ahead with a strong belief and a stronger resolve.