My name is Shubham Chauhan. I live in Rishikesh with my family. I have two sisters and one brother. I am the youngest. My father was a farmer and his income was seasonal. Once we became old enough to go to school, my family moved from Pauki Devi village, which is 50 km away from Rishikesh. Later on, my father became a caretaker of Jal Nigam store. He does not earn enough money to support our expenses, so he opened a small stall on the street and my mother helps him in her free time.
When I was 12 years old, my father had to borrow money from our relatives and co-workers in order to pay for the dowry to my sister’s future husband. At that time, our condition became worse. I remember as a child trying to help my family to the best of my abilities. I used to carry heavy bags filled with clothes on my shoulder and sell them in the street. I sold clothes during the heavy monsoon rain, even at night, hoping to earn a little money and give it to my father.
My mother started working in an incense factory. I could not bear to see my devoted mother come home with blisters and bleeding on her fingertips from rolling incense with her hands, but I was a little boy and could not do anything about it other than go to school and give my best. It was then that I decided to study hotel management, so that I could buy a house for my mother and never let her work in a factory ever again.
In 2006, I was studying in a Government School where I didn’t get a good education. But then, I was accepted to the Mother Miracle School with my older sister. I studied English, yoga, computers, art, karate, and sports. At that time, I lived in a small room with six people and it was quite noisy and hard for me to study.
In 2008, I shared my dream with Shahla Ma’am that I wanted to be a hotel manager and to own hotels. Shahla Ma’am told me to keep my dream because it would one day come true. She also told me that I had to study hard. Then she found a sponsor for me named Russell Rolf from the United States, and he’s been sponsoring my education for the past eight years. I am very thankful to him. He came to visit me twice in India!
That same year, Shahla Ma’am allowed me to stay in the Mother Miracle School along with 11 other boys. She provided me with a blanket, pillow, mattress, a classroom with a light and fan to sleep at night, and three meals a day so I could concentrate on my studies.
I was very happy to pass 10th grade with good grades, and then I passed 12th grade in 2014 with first division. At that time my family was desperate and in a very bad financial situation, so my father and mother suggested that I work at the tea stalls. My dream shattered in front of my eyes until Shahla Ma’am came as a rescuer and convinced my parents to allow me to go to university and study hotel management so I can pursue my dream. She took full responsibility of my education expenses. I had tears in my eyes when my father agreed and my mother hugged Shahla Ma’am for her big support.
I promised Shalha Ma’am that I would study very hard and prove myself, and that one day I will open the best hotel in India. So Shahla Ma’am reached out to Russell Rolf and asked him to pay for my expenses at the Kukreja University, which is 53km away from my home.
I could not bear to see my devoted mother come home with blisters and bleeding on her fingertips from rolling incense with her hands, but I was a little boy and could not do anything about it other than go to school and give my best. It was then that I decided to study hotel management.
I was so happy and excited to be admitted to one of the best hotel management colleges in our state. Besides hotel management, we also learn cooking and baking. I have four years to complete my course. I live in a dormitory and being away from home is very difficult because I am attached to my mother. I miss my parents and my mother’s home cooked food a lot, but I also remember that I have to study hard to fulfill my dream.
Sometimes when I look back, I think about where I would be if I did not meet Shahla Ma’am — I would be going to a Hindi Government School, not speaking a word of English and after graduating 12th grade, I would be working in my father’s tea stall with a lost dream.
My life is totally changed after coming to Mother Miracle School. I have been in Mother Miracle School the past 10 years and I am a proud member of the Mother Miracle Family. When I come back to visit my family, I still go to Mother Miracle School and help Ma’am with chores and all school matters. Many nights I slept on my old mattress with the boys, talking and laughing until the morning, remembering our childhood stories. I have two families, one who gave me birth and the other who helped me pursue my goal. I want to help both of them!
Shubham (age 6) when he first came to Mother Miracle School.
Shubham (13) being lifted by his sponsor, Russell Rolfe, who came to India to visit him.
Shubham (age 18) attending Kukreja University for Hotel Management.