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How A Boarding School Is Helping The Poorest Students In Rural Uttar Pradesh Fulfil An Ambitious Dream

Vaishali Dhariwal grew up in one of the poorest homes in rural Uttar Pradesh, and could have, like other young girls in her village, been married off by now. Instead, the 18-year-old started her undergraduate education this fall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "I'm really excited," the Moradabad-raised teenager told HuffPost India. "This is going to be a really amazing experience." She is expected to major in political science and economics, and her education and living expenses will be borne by the Shiv Nadar Foundation as well as the university. When Dhariwal, in 2009, joined the then newly-opened boarding school VidyaGyan run by the Shiv Nadar Foundation, little did she know how dramatically it would change her life. At the time, Dhariwal was among 200 students who were identified from underprivileged families in rural UP by the Foundation at the time to study there. The school, now in its seventh year of existence, provides free education to students, while the Foundation pays for all their living expenses, books, uniforms, medical insurance and other essentials.

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