A dream come true

On Monday, 27 February, twenty underprivileged children from the Smt. Shakuntala Sathaye English School, interviewed a pilot and a technician, both from Global Vectra Helicorp Limited. Captain Avindra P. Miranda and Engineer Sanjeev Kumar met the children and answered their many questions and explained what they did. Mrs Chetna Shah, President of the Inner Wheel Club of Mumbai Airport, and Dr Yogini Seth, member of the Inner wheel Club, graced this event with their presence.
The Smt. Shakuntala Sathaye English School was founded four years ago by Mrs Visini VELAPPAN (M.A., B.Ed, LLB.). Mrs VELAPPAN received the Principal English-medium State Award for Best Teacher from the Maharashtra government.
The Smt. Shakuntala Sathaye English School is located in Santa Cruz (Mumbai). It is under the umbrella of the Sane Guruji Arogya Mandir (Marathi medium), which was founded in 1962. The Sane Guruji Arogya Mandir School is a private, Marathi-medium school with 1,500 students, which receives financial help from the Maharashtra government. The Smt Shakuntala Sathaye English School receives financial help from private organizations like the Inner Wheel Club of Mumbai Airport.
The students of the Smt. Shakuntala Sathaye English School are from the lower middle class (below the poverty line). The school has 250 students in the primary level classes (play group to class 4). Every year, the school adds a new class, thus growing rapidly. The families of these students are so keen that their children study not only in Marathi but also in English that they willingly pay the relatively high fees (Rs 700 per month), although for them this is a real effort.
Captain Avindra P. Miranda, who is from Sri Lanka, told the children that he had joined the Air Force of his country as a technician. He went through all the different steps, received training, studied hard, and became a pilot. He was such a good pilot that he received six awards from the Sri Lankan Air Force. Captain Miranda said as a trained and experienced pilot, he could help people in times of trouble. For instance, he has saved the lives of many people through emergency operations, especially during the December 2004 tsunami. “Being a pilot means having responsibilities. You have the responsibility of saving the life of your passengers,” he said.
Engineer Sanjeev Kumar told the students how happy he is to work in the field of aviation. He said that it is possible for them to become pilots and engineers too. All they needed to do was to focus and to study hard, concentrating especially on mathematics, physics and English.
The kids were deeply interested and enthused, displaying considerable curiosity and a desire to learn. They asked plenty of technical questions such as “How can a helicopter fly?” and “What sort of fuel do you use?” The two aviation veterans took great care to reply patiently to the children’s questions in simple words, explaining even complicated technical matters in a way that made it possible for all to understand.
It was a dream come true for the students to learn about flying planes from actual pilots who did this for a living. The interaction had an amazing effect and served a valuable function. It showed the children that if they did well in school, worked hard, and stayed focused, they would be able to get sponsorships and scholarships, and that this would help them to realize their dreams. They learned that there is no limit to their dreams and ambitions. Even the sky is even not the limit. The children went home with happiness in their heart and stars in their eyes.
Like the children, Captain Avindra P. Miranda and Engineer Sanjeev Kumar too were deeply moved and touched by the children’s enthusiasm and determination. These two men from GVHL appreciated the opportunity to spend some time with these kids, who reminded them of their own childhood when they too had big dreams.


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