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Unable to afford his school fees, David’s parents applied for a sponsored place at Dr Graham’s Homes. This is his story.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Kalimpong, so I knew about Dr Graham’s Homes and we lived quite near the school. My family is from an Anglo-Indian background. My native language over here is Nepalese. So I didn’t actually speak English until I started school.

How did you come to study at Dr Graham’s Homes?

I joined when I was six years old. My father worked as a taxi driver. My mother was a housewife. They couldn’t afford the school fees, so they applied for a sponsorship from DGHUK. I didn’t know much about it at the time because I was just a small kid. But, over time, I realised what my parents had done for me by enabling me to study in this wonderful place.

How did it feel to join?

I cried at first because I didn’t want to leave my parents! But slowly, I began to make friends. There were lots of other people like me, from all over India. The Homes is a very encouraging environment, so it didn’t take long to pick up the new language and settle in.

How did they look after you?

One of the main kinds of support you receive is from your Cottage Parents, known in the school as “Aunties” and “Uncles”. They’re members of staff who look after you in the boarding cottages. In the Lucia King Nursery, they help you with everything – food, hygiene, clothing, and so on. As you get older, they help with studies. They nurtured and guided me. They helped to shape my character and personality.

What did you study at school?

The school offers so many different things. I enjoyed maths; later, I developed an interest in history and political science. But I also got involved in music too. In Class 7, I developed a keen interest in the guitar. The teachers also encouraged me to form a choir. I’d teach the children how to sing – and in Class 12 we went to perform in Kolkata.

Did you face any challenges while you were there?

When I was 14, my father passed away. It was a very difficult time for us. My father was the only one who was earning, and my mother was left with three kids to look after. Fortunately, the school helped me through that. I felt the support was always there for me no matter what. My only regret is that, when I started to do really well at school, my father wasn’t there to see it. I wish he could have been.

You recently graduated from DGH – what’s next for you?

I recently completed my college. So I’ll be preparing and sitting for exams this summer. Then I hope to apply for a master’s in political science. It’s a subject that offers a lot of possibilities. You can go into a career in international relations. You can lecture on it at college level. I’m thinking about doing a distance-learning course so that I can support my family at the same time.

What has DGHUK sponsorship meant to you?

I was totally reliant on my sponsorship. If it weren’t for that, I simply wouldn’t have been able to study. I wouldn’t be this David today. I would be a completely different person. The quality of education I received – the support and encouragement I had from my mentors, teachers, sponsors – it completely opened my eyes. I can never thank my sponsors enough for that.

Would you like to sponsor a pupil yourself one day?

Definitely. If I get a good job in the future, I’d like to sponsor a child. I want to continue the legacy – to pass on the gratitude I feel to someone else, so they can grab this opportunity and use it to make the best of their life. I’m so thankful to the Homes for their endless support; for never losing hope in me. Whatever I am today is because of Dr Graham’s Homes by the Grace of God.