Celebrating International Women’s Day – Aswathy Manukumar

This week we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay and highlighting some of the ways in which Pestalozzi is helping to forge a gender equal world #EachforEqual.

We’re celebrating the achievements of Pestalozzi alumna Aswathy, who we’re proud to announce as our second successful Pestalozzi Development Fund applicant.

Aswathy is from a traditional and conservative Keralan family and was a student at Pestalozzi from 2014-16 and is the first in her family to be educated beyond high school. She is remembered by staff for playing a cohesive role in the community and for her principled and selfless approach to everything that she does. Aswathy’s participation in numerous voluntary activities demonstrates a genuine desire and drive to bring about improvements to her community.

A young woman of significance and meaningful social conscience, Aswathy sees the bigger picture and is capable of generating lasting change in the lives of those around her. She is currently studying for a BSc in Medical Microbiology at the Sai Institute of Paramedical and Allied Sciences in Dehradun, India. In addition, she is working and volunteering with several NGOs.

Due to delays beyond her control, the completion of her degree has been delayed. Aswathy sought financial assistance via the Pestalozzi Development Fund, which she has been granted, to help cover some of her final year costs, which will enable her to focus on her studies.

Aswathy explains that it has not always been an easy journey.

“There was a time during my gap year when I was way too close to giving up on everything; my father had already told me that he couldn’t afford to send me to college and I hadn’t managed to find any funds either. I had to somehow find a way to continue my studies. It didn’t matter to me what I studied or where I studied; I just wanted to study something, somewhere, but far away from home. Then I figured out a way to study in Dehradun.

People are still disappointed that I did not get a full scholarship to study in the US and for ending up here, but I don’t care. Ever since I came here, I’ve been working super hard to take care of myself. Though there have been days when I couldn’t afford food, but didn’t tell anyone, I’ve actually enjoyed everything. I now have this new born optimism and confidence within me that keeps reminding me that ‘everything will fall into place.’ And everything has been, since 2017.

If it weren’t for Fay, Priyansh, Sonam, Chhiring and Yanti, who knows how I’d have survived my gap year; these were the only people who could connect with me completely then and still continue to support me. Everyone whom I’ve known through Pestalozzi makes me so happy; inspires me; you’re all family and I don’t have enough words to explain how much I appreciate everything you all have done for me.

Thank you for making me the person I am today! Thank you so much for everything!”

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