Published: Release date – 10:45 am, Sunday – 11 Sep 22
Nagpur: Four Indigenous students from remote villages in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region have taken a step closer to realizing their dream of becoming doctors and serving their community by passing the NEET 2022 medical entrance exam.
With minimal resources available, students belonging to farmworker and smallholder families passed the 2022 National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), the results of which were announced on September 8.
Speaking to PTI, 18-year-old Arun Lalsu Mattami said he’s always dreamed of becoming a doctor, but education isn’t easily accessible where he lives.
Arun hails from a tribal village in Bhamragad Taluka. He continued his studies by staying in a hostel from grade 4 in Aheri and grade 12 in Bhamragad.
The teenager, who belongs to the Madia Gond community, classified as a vulnerable tribal group, scored 450 out of 720 in NEET-2022.
Arun’s parents are farmers who take odd jobs to make a living.
“I was skeptical about performing for NEET as my family couldn’t afford the coaching fees. However, one of my teachers put me in touch with Lift For Upliftment (LFU), an organization that offers free coaching,” Mattami said.
Founded by students and graduates of BJ Medical College, Pune, LFU works with disadvantaged and marginalized students who cannot afford or have access to private coaching.
However, Arun’s journey did not go smoothly as he had to transfer to the Lok Biradari project in Hemalkasa, which was equipped with a laptop and projectors for online classes.
He prepared for NEET from March 2021 to April this year and was guided by mentors from LFU.
For Sapna Jawarkar (17), one of the biggest barriers to attempting NEET was language.
Sapna, the daughter of a marginalized farmer from Makhla village in Melghat, Amravati district, said: “It was difficult for me to study for the exam. The language was a hurdle as I struggled to understand English.”
In addition to Sapna and Arun, tribal students Sachin Arki and Rakesh Podali from Bhamragad also passed the exam under the expert guidance of LFU mentors and are expected to register for the MBBS course.
Prathmesh Dadas, who volunteered in the LFU session called “Ulgulaan” (“be ready for change” in Munda tribal dialect), said that four out of nine students from Vidarbha who participated in the free coaching session were NEET with would have passed with flying colours.
“We try to help disadvantaged students achieve their dreams. We’re trying to bring medical education to areas where people speak tribal dialects and many don’t have basic amenities like housing and electricity,” Dadas said.
LFU volunteer Yogini Shirode said, “The majority of the mentors are experienced medical students and many who were trained by the organization are now studying in medical schools and have joined the organization as teachers.”