Shanti Bhavan is a residential school exclusively for children born into India’s lowest socioeconomic class. They provide high-quality education from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade to help break the generational cycle of poverty.
Kumar Chinnasamy recently interned with Transoft at our India office as a QA Analyst. He chatted with us to share his inspiring story as a Shanti Bhavan graduate who came from a background of poverty and is now a Computer Science university student with a bright future ahead of him.
Tell me more about your background and how you came to be with Shanti Bhavan.
I have two elder brothers and even though both parents were around, life growing up was really tough. My dad did construction work but was an alcoholic, and my mom had a hard time trying to stop him from drinking. On top of raising the family, she ended up having to do construction work herself in order to support us.
Then she had the opportunity to send me to Shanti Bhavan. A friend introduced Shanti Bhavan to her, and it was a difficult decision for her especially since I was only 3 ½ years old at the time. I stayed at Shanti Bhavan till I completed Grade 12.
What was your experience like at Shanti Bhavan? Did you miss your family?
It was a residential / live-in school, so Shanti Bhavan became like my family. Friends had such close bonds to one another that we were more like brothers and sisters.
Compared to other schools in India, Shanti Bhavan gave students a really good experience. The volunteers are from different countries and the experience at this school is one of the best. We shared a close connection with school staff who treated us like we were their own children.
I didn’t feel like I missed home too much. We were on an American school schedule and had long summer and winter vacation breaks that allowed us to go home and see our families twice a year.
At what point in your life did you realize you could live your best life with an education and a good future with a career?
I used to play a lot and was very carefree when it came to school. But towards end of Grade 9, I had major exams coming up and I knew I had to finally get serious with my studies and think about my future. So I buckled down in Grade 10 and studied hard. Now I’m a Computer Science major at university.
What made you interested in going into Computer Science?
I was really bad with computers until Grade 10, when I got a really good computer teacher and became one of the Top 3 students in computer class. At Grade 11 and 12, I had to pick between Science and Business. I wasn’t interested in either, so I chose Computer Science as my major, which I’m still quite happy about.
How has your experience with Transoft been?
I thought I would be going into a serious IT company environment, but it’s been totally different experience from what I expected (in a good way). My colleagues are so friendly and I feel very supported.
What is the most impactful thing you have learnt?
I learned about 3-4 of Transoft’s products during my time here. I was familiar with the kind of software used, but never thought there were automated tools for civil engineering. Since I was working with civil engineering software products I have learnt how simple the products have made the work of civil engineers. With the use of Transoft Solutions products they would be able to test and design various civil engineering plans in a short period of time.
What are your career aspirations?
I haven’t decided yet. QA seems interesting and I might consider pursuing this in the future. I am also interested in multimedia, graphics and animation, and plan to take these courses in my final year of school.
How does your family feel now, seeing where you are in your life now?
My parents are really proud of me, and never would have expected my life to turn out like this.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
The founder and principal of Shanti Bhavan, Dr. Abraham George. He has accomplished so much in his life. Besides turning the lives of so many children around with the establishment of Shanti Bhavan, he was a captain in the Indian Army when he was my age!
He’s probably the greatest inspiration for all the students at our school. Dr. George has a father-son bond with his students. He gives us life lessons, invites us to his office to chat, and teaches us how the real world is to prepare us for the future.
What do you like to do for fun when not at school or at work?
I like singing and I’m really into sports like football and basketball. I recently became a football captain and participate in lots of competitions in Bangalore.
I like to hang out with friends from Shanti Bhavan. We all stay in a hostel together and we like to play late night football together.
I also spend time with my three dogs, Sophie, Ruby and Blackie.