And I saw him, a small thin kid. With a spark on his face and a confidence which for a moment made me feel smaller than him. Like I am in the 5th standard and he is our school captain… such was the spark on his face. I can’t understand Telugu. So when he came with that small black tin
drum and started taking out boxes from it and explaining something, I couldn’t quite grasp it. Something which was so powerful that even our translator was shocked and silent. But the human vibes flowing in that moment was enough for me to understand that something big is going on. And then finally Jayanth (fellow volunteer and our translator for the day) spoke… Naveen studies in the 7th standard and that black tin was an eco-friendly device which uses a bio coal which he invented. The full system was created out of daily waste. Even the coal is made of coconut skin mixed with few more ingredients which is a daily waste in their small village. He got a national award for his invention. That was already shocking for me and before I could come to terms with it, Jayanth further explained… And this time what he said shook my sense of existence and everything I have ever done in my career or education or used to feel proud of… “Due to financial problems at home he dropped out after class 5 and started selling vegetables”… It was then that PORD, a CRY supported project, identified him and helped enrolling him back to school.. Within one year of his enrollment, he developed this incredible tech and got national award for it. And unlike other awarded school projects (I could relate because it was a passion for me in school to develop some project) his project was not just in theories or demo. They are actually using the same technology for preparing daily mid day meals in their school. For a second I felt ashamed of myself for feeling that I am doing something great getting up a weekend morning to come here. Me sacrificing my weekend morning sleep (trust me it’s great for us) was suddenly insignificant in front of what I gained that moment. And it filled me with a sudden pride to be associated with CRY. Many such brilliant brains are lost in the devil’s kettle of poverty and lack of awareness. And Naveen is just one of the flowers we saved from dying before blooming. And as a human I want to thank CRY for this.
Shravani Ojha, CRY Volunteer