20-year-old Nandaram Kumar is from Khandwa District, Madhya Pradesh. During 10th grade, he fell ill and dropped out of school without taking the board exams. He never returned to studying because he did not want to. He found himself sitting at home doing nothing. When a mobilizer called him to tell him about the training course at Pratham’s Sagar Automotive Center, he decided to enroll. He used to repair bicycles at home and was interested in the mechanism of automotive vehicles. More importantly, he wanted a change in his life; he was tired of being idle and people nagging him about it. He felt that he had wasted his time and wanted to take responsibility for himself and his family.
His parents, however, were not happy to send him away because he was their youngest child and they thought he was too young. It took him awhile to convince and persuade them. He learned a lot at the center, including heavy vehicle driving. He feels that he has a lot of knowledge about cars and likes to learn about them even outside of his course and work. The people at Pratham also became his second family. He calls them any time on any day for help, and he has received help with housing and transportation.
He has been working 7 months – he was first placed with Tata Motors in Indore, and was later transferred to Panvel. He lives in a house 2 km away from his work with a colleague who was also trained in Sagar. With a newfound ambition, he walks to and from work everyday, and even considers taking up contracts. In his free time, he listens to the radio, enjoys Bollywood songs and choreography. He teaches dancing to the children in his neighborhood and puts up stage shows for people. Although he has little free time today, he is happy with the new life that he has chosen.