Whatever It Takes

Apr 27, 2016

Claire Rogers

Ganesh struggled to understand his teacher’s explanation. He looked down at his paper, trying to make sense of his homework but grew even more confused. As his academic difficulties continued, 15-year-old Ganesh grew more agitated. His once carefree personality was masked by frustration. Required chores were met with resistance and it seemed even the smallest request from a caregiver could illicit frustration. Barely passing some classes and failing others, despair began to sink in.

All that began to change when Back2Back staff member, Gideon, noticed Ganesh’s struggles and offered to tutor him, along with a few of his peers. To a boy who felt like he was drowning, Gideon’s offer was a lifeline.

Born and raised in Hyderabad, Gideon was familiar with the weak spots of the local school system. He knew teachers often focused solely on rote memorization, sometimes at the expense of ensuring students comprehended the material. Gideon also knew Ganesh would need extensive support to get caught up, but he was ready for the task.

First, Gideon identified Ganesh’s most difficult subjects. Then, he mapped out individualized education plans for Ganesh and his peers. Four times each week, Gideon met with the group, sometimes for hours at a time, studying and reviewing to ensure Ganesh and his peers truly understood the material. The group logged dozens of hours, pouring over textbooks and scrawling detailed notes on lined paper. Each time Ganesh felt overwhelmed, Gideon stopped to remind him that he believed in him and knew he had what it took to succeed.

“We do whatever it takes to help each child succeed,” explained Gideon. “Sometimes that means medical care, other times that means counseling and in Ganesh’s case, it meant tutoring and making sure he knew someone believed in him.”

Meanwhile, caregivers began to notice that Ganesh had become more confident and focused. During free time, he would break away to find a quiet spot to study – determined to pass his classes and continue to the ninth grade.

This month, the children’s school year came to a close. Ganesh was elated when he scanned the comments on his report card. His teacher praised him, noting a marked improvement:

Ganesh now understands the material and is kind, joyful and eager to help.

Ganesh pumped his fist in the air – his hard work had paid off. He had passed every class and would continue to the ninth grade!

In April, Gideon, and the other Back2Back India staff, cheered with pride as Ganesh received his middle school diploma, celebrating the success of a boy who had simply needed to know someone believed in him.

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