Six young people from non-government organisation Deepalaya are heading for the United States to study in community colleges to become well qualified professionals in their chosen fields.

Belonging to marginalised families, the students -- Chandni, Indira, Ambika, Neha, Sonu and Chander -- are among the 51 selected from across the country in business management and administration and health profession, including nursing under a programme launched by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Community College.

Describing his former students as “super six”, Deepalaya secretary and chief executive T. K. Mathew said the students might come from underprivileged families but are on the same wavelength as other children in terms of education and intelligence. “For the past three decades we have been working in education, health and institutional care and mainstreaming differently-abled to bring social transformation in society. Our efforts have borne fruit as our former students have done us proud by performing well in the written exams to qualify for further studies in the US.”

Neha Sharma, who is studying physical and health education at Delhi University, will like to share the rich tradition of her country with her foreign friends. “Luckily, we have mingled with foreigners at Deepalaya and their culture is not alien to us. We will share an apartment with students of other countries and would be given a big budget to buy groceries so that we can cook our kind of food. My only concern is that I should get vegetarian meals. I will miss my family but am happy that my parents are proud of my achievement.”

With her “genuine caring nature”, Indira wants to become a nurse. “I will not be able to give my first year exam at IGNOU but will complete my studies after returning from the US.”

It has been a dream come true for Chandni who had been longing to go abroad. After studying health education and nursing at Gadsden State Community College in Alabama, she, like others, would have to stay in India for at least two years before deciding which country she wants to work in.

It has been a hard life for Sonu Singh but he has managed to keep his eyes focused on his goal. His mother and brother continue to work as a domestic help and a labourer respectively but he has completed his school education and is studying political science at DU. “After the business management completion course at Pierce College in Washington, I will complete my graduation and then study for MBA.”

Chander Giri, who used to demonstrate his sharp intelligence at quiz competitions conducted at National Science Centre, sees his education in the US as another challenge. “Studies in the US are of highly specialised nature and I want to make the best of this opportunity by grasping everything related to business management.”