Boy’s Love of Singing Takes Flight to the Big Lights

As told to Deborah M., Content and Communications Specialist, India   |  Photos courtesy of Regional Office staff and Hope Center staff

A OneChild graduate in India realizes his dream of appearing on a reality television show and hopes he will inspire other children in India to nurture their talents and achieve their goals.

Ajith as a child, and in the photo above as an adult with kids at a Hope Center.

My name is Ajith, and I’d like to tell you how my love for music and the support I have received from my Hope Center have shaped my life.

My first encounter with music was in kindergarten, when I heard nursery rhymes. Soon, I was introduced to action songs during summer camps.

I was fascinated that I could have so much fun singing and dancing.

When I was 6, another new world was opened to me. Swarnam Malli, a kitchen staff at a local Hope Center, told my grandmother about the sponsorship program for kids in poverty.

My parents are day laborers, so life was a daily struggle for us.

It was only because Swarnam Malli had a concern for me that I was able to enroll in the program.

I remember my first day at the Hope Center. I received a warm welcome from my Child Champions.

I had so many new friends to play with, study together, and share meals with. Over the years, our friendships grew, and we would share our food, sometimes, even eating from the same plate.

Learn, Love, Live

The love I received from my Child Champions at the Hope Center had a positive effect on me, and as I grew older as I found myself naturally helping others in need, showing love and respect to everyone.

Ajith drives his auto-rickshaw.

In India we have 122 major languages and over 1,500 other languages.

When I turned 15, I was drawn to folk songs, and I especially enjoyed singing in Malayalam and Hindi, though my native language is Tamil, spoken mainly in the South where I live.

My Child Champions not only taught me how to sing but encouraged me to nurture my love for singing.

They constantly motivated me to perform during festivals and any special events at the Hope Center.

I gained the confidence to sing in front of an audience and received numerous certificates for participation in community festivals like Onam, the annual harvest festival in the southern state of Kerala.

Ajith browses through his childhood photos.

Although I completed the sponsorship program in 2020, I never stopped pursuing my passion for singing.

Meanwhile, I had to help support my family, and I started driving an auto-rickshaw, a small, three-wheeled motorized transport.

I give senior citizens free rides in my auto-rickshaw when they go for medical appointments, and whenever possible, I distribute food to people in need.

Dreams Turn to a Reality Show

My dream has always been to perform for a larger audience, and when I was 21 that dream became a reality.

I auditioned for an entertainment show on a popular television channel aired in Kerala. The auditions were held in November of 2021.

To get selected, participants first have to make the judges laugh before they can perform their other talents.

I was a bit nervous wondering if I could say something funny to make the judges smile, if not laugh.

I pretended to be a waiter and asked them what they would like to be served. Then I followed with a comedic debate over whether the 10-egg omelet would be cooked on stone or a cast iron pan, and the judges settled for dosas (a local savory pancake) and double-poached egg, sunny-side up.

At first, one judge chuckled, then another laughed.

Ajith watches a recording of his singing performance on his cellphone.

And then, the moment arrived when one of the judges said, “You are selected!” and asked me, “Can you sing for us?”

I sang a song about my auto-rickshaw:

I rode an auto-rickshaw when I was nothing.

Now I am driving it…

I was so happy that I made it through the auditions, and I could sing in front of millions of viewers. Of the 30 contestants, I’m so blessed to be among those who got selected to perform.

If it weren’t for the encouragement and motivation from my Child Champions, I wouldn’t have got the inspiration and confidence.

I want to tell the children at the Hope Center, “Always utilize the opportunities God has given you. Identify your talents and nurture them. Do your best and God will do the rest.”

Help OneChild go further into the hard places, open more Hope Centers in impoverished communities, and do whatever it takes to reach more kids. Give to the OneChild Partners Fund today!


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