Dattatray's Story: Shifting Gears

Twenty-two-year-old Dattatray Genbhau Pawar comes from a small village just outside of Pune. A once promising student, Dattatray was forced to drop out of school in the ninth grade to help support his family. For three years, he worked as an informal worker at a local garage, applying his drive and intelligence to cars rather than books.

As his experience and understanding of automobiles grew, so did his ambition. Dattatray wanted formal employment that would allow him to better support his family. He even dreamed of one day opening his own garage. But without a high school diploma, what kind of job could he hope to get? His prospects limited, Dattatray was stuck.

Then, one day, a friend told him about Pratham’s vocational program in Panvel, three hours away. Not only would its automobile course allow Dattatray to polish his skills, but he would graduate with a certificate that would open up a new world of job opportunities. And Pratham’s “learn now, pay later” option made all of this affordable. Dattatray had found a way out of his situation. Dattatray excelled in Pratham’s vocational program, gradually playing a lead role in practical demonstrations.

What’s more, at the end of the course, he was one of the handful of students selected to receive seed money to start their own businesses. And it wasn’t only his instructors who were impressed—Dattatray was offered a position at the prestigious Tata Motors in Pune. Wherever his choices would take him, he was no longer stuck.

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