Meet Kanchana

Kanchana belongs to a low caste community, living with her widowed mother. They live in a tiny ‘lean to’ dwelling (measuring about 40 square feet) which is situated at the end of a row of houses in a desperately poor region of India. Her mother, works as a labourer in the construction industry, providing the basics for the two of them to survive.

Kanchana’s father died of a chronic illness when she was just six years of age. Since then her mother became the sole bread winner and worked as a domestic worker. Due to the huge stress of their situation, her mother developed a habit of chewing tobacco by placing a portion of it between the cheek and gum or upper lip teeth and constantly chewing. Unlike dipping tobacco, it is not ground and has to be manually crushed with the teeth to release flavour and nicotine. People start out for many reasons, but ultimately, they end up continuing their use because they become addicted. Harmful effects include; heart disease, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition to their predicament Kanchana is constantly worried about her mother’s health due to this addiction.

The Foundations intervention has helped improved their well-being and general situation. We set up Kanchana’s mother with a small micro enterprise thus enabling her to provide a decent income for the two of them. We then focused on Kanchana supporting her through schooling for the best part of thirteen years. With our mentoring and guidance Kanchana thrived on education and proved to be an extremely able student. She selected to study Physics at University and excelled in a male dominated environment. We provided related support and counselling throughout her schooling, College and University and took care of all costs related to her studies and related expenditure.

In 2018 Kanchana obtained a degree in BSc Physics from a leading University in South India. Not only did Kanchana become the first person from her wider family to attend schooling but also the first to receive a University degree from her entire collection of villages. She has smashed many glass ceilings and is seen as an inspirational role model in the wider community where she resides. She is now on a mission to campaign for those children who are not in education. 

Through this programme, we are achieving our ultimate goal, moving the poorest children from a life of poverty, to a future with opportunity. The legacy of this work is that we are creating Community Ambassadors who lobby and campaign for inclusive and quality education for all