Message from the president, Benjamin Paul Kaila, USA (on Aug 25, 2012)
Respected chief guest, guests of honor, Ambedkar Scholars, parents, associates, and the audience,
I am pleased to send this brief message on this august occasion of 9th anniversary of FFEI or Friends for Education International. For want of time, I try to be as brief as possible.
The inspiration behind FFEI is Babasaheb Dr Bheemrao Ramji Ambedkar. FFEI started in 2003 with 2 scholarships with a budget of Rs.15,000. Every year, FFEI has been disbursing several lakh rupees worth of scholarships and financial aid to hundreds of students and organizations in AP, UP, Tamilnadu, Orassa, and Karnataka. Maharashtra has been added to this list this year. This work is possible only because of our generous and committed donors from all walks of life, from all castes, from all races, and from all corners of the world. I salute every one of them for their generosity and commitment towards FFEI and the work it has been doing.
This day, we gathered here to honor a few students who excelled in tenth grade despite all odds and to render a small help to our associates who are serving the needy students (mostly from scavenging communities) through their committed work in various states of India.
I congratulate you on getting this one time scholarship. This may not satisfy all your needs. But, it is a token of our appreciation for your hard work and perseverance. I hope you continue to excel in both education and life to become an asset to your parents, family, community, and to the country. Please use this money wisely only for education, nothing else.
One of the keys to successful life is hard work. Just remember Dr Ambedkar. Though born in a poor Dalit family, he never gave up despite his humiliations, poverty, and tragedies. His life was more difficult in those days than what we have today. Still, with hard work and determination, he rose to the highest pedestal in life. There may be another Ambedkar among you, who knows? But, you canít be one just by dreaming, but only by working hard. So, work hard.
Another key for a successful life in this technologically advanced world is English. It is the language of the world. So, strive to improve your English. Listen to English radio, watch English movies, read English books and magazines, and converse in English with your friends. Equipping with good English is a passport for many good jobs in India or abroad. So, start your English improvement with the books we are presenting today.
In addition, have a self-pride, self-respect, dignity, and competitive spirit. Remember that we are no way inferior to anyone. Self-pity, inferiority complex, laziness etc are the recipes for self-destruction and defeat. So, be proud of yourself and your background. Never ashamed of it, but bring glory to it with your work and deeds.
And lastly, please read Dr Ambedkar. We are all admirer of him. Why? Due to his work not only for the weak and the meek, but the whole of India. Read him, understand him, emulate him and the success will be yours, I bet. To be frank, I was an ignorant brat before I read him.
To the associates:
Please use the money wisely and for the maximum benefit of the students under your care. Our donors trust us and give generously. Let us not let them down in any way. Please inform us regularly how your students are performing to encourage us to do more. I thank you for your dedication and commitment and wish you and the students all the best.
To the audience:
Sirs and madams! Please remember that we are leading disgnified lives partly due to the sacrifices of people like Dr Ambedkar. Let us not show our loyalty to him with just to lip service. Let us share our wealth with the unfortunate among us. We need money and we need your help. Please help us help our people in need. We survived for 9 years just with a handful of committed donors. That is not the way. We need thousands and thousands of donors, whatever may be the amount. Our overhead expenses are approximately 2% all these years. Study and judge our work before donate. Please visit www.friendsforeducation.org for more details.
I once again thank our donors, chief guest, guests of honor, associates, organizers, officersí forum, and the audience. I canít name everybody due to time limit and excuse me for it.
With warm regards
Benjamin Paul Kaila, President, FFEI-USA