Padala Surya Prasad
The founder of PCT, Padala Surya Prasad, hails from a lower middle-class family in rural India. His father was a small-time tailor and mother used to run a small grocery shop. He considers himself as a product of the scholarship programme he received from BREAD Society – North South Foundation, India.
Despite securing top ranks in 10th class, Intermediate and Engineering Entrance Examination (EAMCET) it was not feasible for him to get into an Engineering College due to lack of finance. His villagers did some fundraising through a benefit show to help him financially. But this was not sufficient to get into an Engineering College.
At this critical juncture of his life, the scholarship he received from NSF propelled him to complete his B.Tech. These encounters of humanity and generosity that came by in his life, touched and changed him to his core.
He went on to complete M.Tech in IIT, Kharagpur and worked for 16 years in USA as a software consultant. In 2002, he established Padala Charitable Trust. After a decade of running activities from abroad, he quit his job and moved back to India in 2012 to dedicate his full time to PCT.
His strong belief in “Pay It Forward” has been the driving force that made him return to India. He is instrumental in the design and implementation of several projects to help students mainly in the areas of career guidance, life skills, communication skills, social responsibility and personal hygiene in young women.
Surya Prasad Padala’s journey from being a Local tailor family to an NRI Family to an NGO Family
My state ranks, certificates and medals did not make any sense to anyone except to NSF. I can still recall the day in 1990 when my father said “Forget about your state ranks and your dream of engineering graduation. We just can’t afford those expensive careers, You may sit with me and I promise I will make you a better tailor than me in this village.”
I was helpless and waiting for a miracle to happen to help me continue my graduation. My engineering tuition fee (Rs. 10,000 /$250 per year) for next four years was way expensive for my family. My passion was to continue my higher education and make a difference to my family and to the society.
Earlier my school teachers helped me to study at AP Residential School, Bhupathipalem where I passed out my 10th standard with state 2nd rank (1988), then moved to APRJC Nagarjuna Sagar for my two-year free intermediate course where I got state rank again. My EAMCET rank was 483 and that’s where I was stuck.
Our village elders tried to help me with college fees by a fundraising event but that did not meet all my tuition cost. It was a mere coincidence when I found out about NSF scholarship programme. The miracle in my life was NSF’s scholarship for all 4 years of my graduation (1990-1994). With that life changing event, I successfully completed my graduation in 1994, my masters from IIT Kharagpur in 1996 and then worked for 16 yrs as a software consultant in United States. My story is a classical example of how NSF transformed a local tailor family to an NRI family.
More than the monetary support what I received from NSF was the spirit of giving, helping someone in need whom you never knew before. The very thought inspired me to pay forward which I’ve been trying to do for the last 17 years in my district in India through Padala Charitable Trust (PCT). The best part that I am amazed at and feel so good is seeing most of our scholars becoming catalysts for the society by paying forward
in their own way. Many of our scholars who were settled in various jobs keep sending their checks every year asking me to use that amount to other needy waiting in the line.
I hope this amazing cycle of Pay Forward continues forever to make wonders.
After spending 16 years in USA working as a software consultant, I quit my job and returned to India in Dec 2012. Since then I have been exploring various opportunities in education sector and trying my best to make a positive difference in the society.
It feels great when the younger generation connects with me so well when I share my life journey. I only tell them how I reached from one end to the other and I challenge them to do the same. Each time I interact with a group young or old, I am told that my story inspires them. What a life journey it has been so far? I am truly blessed. Thanks to NSF for playing a key role in my life!
Over the next few years I am planning to work on various initiatives to make a difference in school education.
You can read further here: https://www.hatkestory.com/surya-prasad-pct/