January 18th, 2017
Our nation is witnessing a radical transformation where qualified youngsters are giving up their high paying jobs to make a difference in the lives of people in rural areas. One such youngster is Lakshmi Narasimha Ikkurthi who not only quit his lucrative career to help people in rural areas but also made a remarkable change through his smart planning.
The Logical Indian interviewed Lakshmi about his journey and how he spearheaded a quest to make his village counter all the social issues by garnering support from his fellow villagers. Here are some excerpts of the interview.
Speaking of his childhood and initial inspirations, Lakshmi said, “I was born in small village Yazali in Andhra Pradesh in a big family of 47 people living under the same roof. I was raised in a village where agricultural lands, cattle always surrounded me. Growing up, I was always fond of my great grandmother who would narrate bed-time stories and taught me that it is our responsibility rather than a duty to give back to our society. Also, I loved reading inspirational stories that were published in the weekly magazine of Eenadu.”
After completing his education, Lakshmi started working as a software engineer in Hyderabad, despite a conflict that was brewing in his mind. His thirst to work for his people and village, and do something for the society grew every day. The conflict was about whether he should continue his well-paying job or go back to his village to farm and educate others about it.
About this, he says, “There was always a conflict in my mind. And when a series of drunk driving incidents happened in my village, I finally decided to go back. I couldn’t just sit comfortably while the people of my village were suffering. I realised the problems they were facing because of the lack of education. And so, I went back and settled down in my village. I spoke to the villagers and discussed how the lack of direction was affecting their lives.”
With the help of others in the village, Lakshmi focussed on improving the quality of education. They also started receiving funds to better the facilities at the local government school. It was difficult to convince the parents at the beginning, but with persistence and hard work, they were able to admit 400 students to the school.
He aims to increase this number to 1000 by the end of this year. It was not surprising to see the children representing the school and presenting science models at national level competitions.
They also further intend to teach the children about best agricultural practices.
He says, “Throughout this journey, Nagaraju Penumatsa, who is the head of our Alumni Association, was the strongest pillar of support to me and the school. He contributed the most to the development process. He always inspires me with his attitude and positive thinking.”
Lakshmi initiated ‘Yazali-Naa Janmabhumi’ that help migrants connect to each other. He is now working with the help of the local people to build old age homes who live alone as their children work outside the village in far away places. He is grateful to his friends too who helped him financially throughout this process.
Lakshmi also wants to teach the use of technology to farmers. He hopes that with the advent of apps for farming, they will be able to utilise the information available to them whether it be latest methods, weather patterns, or methods to increase crop yield to their benefit. He believes that farming is a very respectable and difficult job. But, people have different perceptions and mindsets and therefore, are reluctant to become agriculturists. He also feels that as citizens, and a country, it is a big failure when a primary industry suffers so much, and so, wants to provide internships to students to help them understand the difficulties and also create interest in the process.
When asked about his message for the youth, he says, “Today’s youth has an unmatched energy, and it should come together for a greater good. There are many who want to go back to the villages and are not satisfied with themselves, but, continue working in city jobs. I want to tell these people to not give up their dreams, because, with dreams, comes determination.”
The Logical Indian appreciates the efforts of Lakshmi and hopes that more people come together to work for a greater good.
If you wish to join the movement to bring changes in rural India or would like to intern with them, you can reach out to Lakshmi here.