E2G Success Story: Dr. Bhavesh Manijbhai Sonagara

Gujarat, India

At Share & Care, we believe in the power of education to lift individuals (and entire families and communities) out of poverty. However, for many young people in rural India, access to education is almost completely out of reach. That’s why our Educate 2 Success and Educate 2 Graduate Signature Programs provide children and young adults with resources to help them overcome real obstacles — and empower them to create brighter futures for themselves and their families. To make a donation toward our education programs, please click here.

A Real-Life E2G Success Story

Dr. Bhavesh Manijbhai Sonagara is an Educate 2 Graduate beneficiary who rose from the dust of a remote, arid farming village to achieve his dream of not only attending (and graduating) medical school, but also passing along the opportunity for education to his younger siblings. Below is his story in his own words.

I grew up in Kudla, an interior village in the Surendranagar District of Gujarat. Agriculture was the only source of income in our village, but there was always a water crisis, and it is hard to grow a crop in this kind of infertile, dry land. My mother helped my father in the field and looked after household work too. My father barely earned $620 per year for the entire crop. It is very tough to sustain a family of five with such limited income, but my father single-handedly fulfilled our basic needs.

In our village there was only a primary school. I completed my primary education there and did well, but to acquire a secondary or higher education, one has to migrate to the city, and thus began my struggle.

Our financial situation was dire. The crop production that year was marginal, and the fees for secondary education were not affordable. Admission to the school felt like it could only happen in a dream. My dilemma was whether I should quit my studies and support my father, or go for my secondary education. I was confused about what the right decision was. It was then that my father encouraged me to continue my studies.

His encouragement boosted my morale, and I joined a residential school in the city. My father worked hard day and night to manage the funds for my study. This left an immense impression on me. I decided to stay focused on my studies and have never looked back.

I secured first rank in 8th standard, and at this school the annual fees are waived for students who achieve the highest rank in any standard. I received this honor during my 9th and 10th standards, and it felt like all troubles had ended. In my final exams I secured 81%, and my teacher advised me to join the science stream in higher secondary.

Bhavesh was then admitted to a renowned higher secondary school. This began his exciting new journey toward becoming a doctor, but it also presented new financial challenges.

When I learned about the fees, it broke me down. My relatives and some villagers advised my father to end my studies. He showed courage by going against the stream and came forward in favor of my continued education.

After his father borrowed money with interest to pay for his admission to the school, Bhavesh was determined to prove that he made the right choice. He secured high marks and was then admitted to a medical college — which again presented a huge financial burden. It was then that a teacher recommended he apply for Share & Care’s Education 2 Graduate program. This program, in partnership with Sister Nivedita Foundation, provides interest-free loan scholarships for promising students.

The aid from Share & Care supported Bhavesh though the remainder of his studies. He has completed his MBBS and is now preparing to enter the medical field. His success has paved the way for his brother and sister to complete their education as well.

I will never forget the timely financial support through E2G.

E2G has proven to be a blessing for students like me who have a socially and economically needy background, yet are talented and driven to accomplish their dreams.

India’s School Crisis

India has vastly improved school enrollment with initial attendance at 96%. But keeping children in school through to graduation continues to be a nationwide issue. In fact, India is currently among the top five nations for number of out-of-school, primary-age children, with 1.4 million 6–11 year olds not attending school.

  • 29% of children drop out within their first five years of primary school
  • 43% drop out before finishing upper primary school
  • High school completion is at a dismal 42%

Contributing factors include:

  • A shortage of 689,000 primary school teachers
  • The number of schools with a functioning girls bathroom/toilet is at only 53%
  • Only 74% of schools have access to drinking water

Source: Brookings Institute

Would you like to help others like Bhavesh?

With a gift to our E2G program, you can help other brilliant yet marginalized students achieve their dreams of higher education.