As Mumbaikars celebrate the SSC results, Shreya Bhandary brings you stories of four unusual students a mother of two, a blind boy, a hearing-impaired teen, and an autistic kid who crossed every hurdle in their path to crack the exam
Teenager prevails over hearing loss, aces SSC
Bhavya Gangar is unlike other 16-year-olds. The fact that he is not only fluent in five languages but also scored a whopping 95 per cent in the SSC examinations makes it hard for many to believe that he was born with a hearing impairment that had left him completely deaf.
Bhavya Gangar overcame complete hearing loss with the help of a cochlear implant and went on to score a whopping 95 per cent
At the age of two, Bhayva underwent a cochlear implant to overcome the hearing loss and began to attend lectures like other kids his age. “In the beginning, he had no option but to sit on the first bench so that he could hear the teacher better.
Sometimes he would miss what was taught in class but he would always ask questions and make sure he understood the concept well,” said Jigna, his mother. She also thanked his school for the unending support Bhavya received.
She said the teenager had let nothing get in his way so far and that he hoped to some day attain an MBA degree from a well-known college. “I know it was his determination to do well in life, no matter what his circumstances, but he has also taught us to never give up,” said Jigna.
Mother of two juggles four jobs, clears Board exams
Ever since 42-year-old Jayashree Kanam lost her husband in the 2005 deluge in Mumbai, the burden of raising her two daughters fell solely on her. To make ends meet, she worked four jobs — cooking in three households and then working as a helper at a playschool. At the fag end of the day, the mother of two would sit down to prepare for the SSC exams.
42-year-old Jayashree Kanam failed the exams last year but was determined to crack them this year so she could earn more and ensure her two daughters have a brighter future
Last year, the 42-year-old and her younger daughter appeared for the exams together, but while her daughter passed with flying colours, Jayashree failed in four subjects. She was almost ready to quit, but what kept her going was encouragement from her daughters and the fact that clearing SSC would pave the way to a better salary at the playschool where she worked.
Also read: A tale of two Mumbai mothers
“I think I would have given up, but my daughters kept encouraging me to do better — not for others, but for myself. Hopefully now I’ll have more money that I can use for my daughters’ future,” said Jayashree, who had cleared Social Studies and English last year, and Maths, Hindi, Marathi this year with 45 marks in each, allowing her to graduate under the best-five pass policy.
Separated from parents, blind student gets 90.2%
For 17-year-old Shubham Gupta, the months leading up to the SSC examinations were a dark time. Life was hard enough as a visually challenged student in a family that was struggling financially, but Shubham truly hit rock bottom when his father passed away two years ago.
Shubham Gupta lost his father two years ago and was then separated from his mother
Unable to deal with the loss of his father, Shubham was sent into further despair as he couldn’t even live with his mother, who did odd jobs but could not afford to care for him and pay for his schooling. The teenager found help at the Happy Home and Blind School in Worli, where he had been living off and on for eight years but became a full-time resident after his father’s death.
The school provided regular counselling sessions to help him battle his depression and educated him. Beating all odds, Shubham managed to score a staggering 90.2% in the examinations and is now back home with his mother, since the school only keeps students till Std X. He is planning to enrol in St Xavier’s College and is looking for ways to help his mother run the household.
“Shubham comes from a very poor socio-economic background and has been with us for 10 years. He had always done well in class but two years ago he lost his father, and plunged into depression,” said a spokesperson for Happy Home, adding that it had taken a series of counselling sessions to encourage Shubham to focus on his studies again.
Parents, school help autistic student ace SSC exams
The state board began providing concessions to students with autism only four years ago, but this has already helped countless kids towards a brighter future. Among them is 16-year-old Aditya Rao, whose story is a reminder of how far a child can go when given the right support.
Born with autism, Aditya made his school and family proud by scoring 91.2% in his SSC examinations
Born with autism, Aditya made his school and family proud by beating all odds and scoring 91.2% in his SSC examinations. “He is visibly excited about his performance. Since he also has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and concentration issues, we had to spend extra time and efforts to ensure that he studied and appeared for his exams properly,” said Dr Sharada Rao, his mother, adding his school had supported and encouraged them all the way.
“The shadow teachers and special educators always pushed him to do better. His special educator Zeeba Rana also introduced him to writing on computers, and that helped him appear for the examinations,” recalled his mother, who is now focused on getting Aditya through Std XI and XII next.