Six students from Govandi slum in Mumbai's eastern suburban area have set an example for children who want to accomplish their goals and dreams as they have cleared the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) this year. It is to mention that Govandi slum is infamous for crimes and drug cases.
One of the NEET qualifiers, Jaiba Khan whose father is a doctor, told ANI that she became determined to crack the medical entrance exam after witnessing a shortage of doctors during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Since my childhood, I was clear that I will become a doctor like my father. I have grown seeing my father working for needy people. Though it was not an easy task to clear NEET, a proper schedule of studies and planning helped me clear this exam. We saw how the shortage of doctors affected us during the COVID crisis. I was determined to crack it," Jaiba told ANI.
Another student, Saif Asif Jogle, a son of a catering services provider, has scored 591/720 in the exam. He said that he wanted to become a doctor as he has seen how poor people struggled to get treatment.
"During my childhood, I have seen my parents and people with weak financial background struggling to get treatment. With an aim to work for them in the future, I decided to become a doctor," he told ANI.
"I have full support of my parents. Govandi is known for many negative reasons but I kept myself away from that. I kept my friend circle limited so that I could stay away from others to focus on my studies," the student said.
Dr Zahid Khan, who formed a local association of doctors in the Govandi area, said that most of the doctors avoid coming to the area since it has been labelled as "bad".
"So, we have decided to motivate our own children to become not only doctors but engineer lawyers etc. Our association holds an annual function every year where we educate parents and felicitate students who score good marks in high school. We also guide them to pursue career-oriented studies," ANI quoted Dr Khan as saying.
"Six students have cleared NEET and got admission to various medical colleges. If we get good support from the government, the number of students qualifying NEET may increase in the future from 6 to 18 per year," he added.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra's Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said there is a need for spreading awareness in these areas.
"Many government schemes already exist for bright students of the slums area. Among these six students, we have already given a government scholarship to two students. We are proud of them," he said.
(With inputs from ANI)