Twenty-six-year-old Ramesh Bellid’s transformation from a cattle grazer to a computer professional has to be seen to be believed.
“Until September 2007, my world was limited to my village, family, and more importantly cattle. The transformation happened the day I boarded a train to Bengaluru to learn under the NGO Head Held High,” says Mr. Bellid, a Dalit from Kolligudda in Deodurga taluk.
Hailing from a poor family, Mr. Bellid never attended school. “My elder brother, Basavalingappa, was sent to school while the rest of us worked in the fields. I was given the responsibility of grazing the cattle belonging to a landlord who used to pay me Rs. 4,000 annually,” he recollects. “I always wanted to go to school. I used to carry charcoal pieces to draw and write on the rocks.” Samuha, an NGO in Raichur, gave wings to Mr. Bellid’s dream to learn and recommended his case to the Bengaluru-based Head Held High, which provides basic education to illiterate children belonging to the oppressed sections of society.
“I am inspired by software professionals Rajesh Bhat, Sunil Savara and Madan Padaki, who quit their jobs to help illiterate people in remote villages. They worked hard for six months to make me what I am today,” he says. After undergoing basic training in computer and English, Mr. Bellid worked in a BPO associated with Head Held High in Bengaluru for two years. He was entrusted with the responsibility of training other batches of youths from villages across the country. With first-hand job experience, Mr. Bellid could have joined a software firm but he chose to return to his village and work for the empowerment of illiterate youth.
Having been appointed the ambassador of Head Held High, Mr. Bellid is currently working with Samuha to take up various activities in Raichur and Koppal districts.