Born in 1944 in Gunnathota Valasa, Andhra Pradesh, Balaram was one of the few lucky people who have got the opportunity to not get an education but also live his dream. The credit goes to his teacher Varahagiri Veni Madhavarao. His teacher was having deep stumps on his legs which even affect his walking but still, he used to travel 4 km to reach Balram’s village and knock on every single door, convincing everybody of the need & importance of education. Singanapalli Balaram is a 75-year old design expert now and has been an inspiring and motivational example to many designers. According to him, no life, nothing, or no person is without a good story. He shared the story of his life which was deeply impacted by his beloved teacher, to whom he owes his life. If his teacher has not told everybody the need of education then he would also have turned out like most youth in his village who are tied to life in the fields and are living their life without education.
Today, Balaram is one of the top designers in the country, a TEDx speaker, an author, and an educationist because his teacher inspired him to push further. Balaram shared that at that time his village did not have a school and the people did not really believe in the need for education. It was then that his teacher came into their lives and gave them the opportunity of getting an education. But, what stands out is the struggle of Madhavrao who with his best intentions push people for education in spite of himself being poor due to leprosy.
Even after getting treatment, the scars of his affliction often drove people away. Many people in the village even considered him untouchable and unfit to provide education because of his stigma. He lives in a princely town of Bobbili, with a family of eight to feed. Despite being educated, he was grappling with poverty. Then he found that Gunnathota Valasa village which was only 4 kilometers away from his home had no school. He got his purpose on life and he appealed to allocate a small piece of land in the village to start a primary school, called Sri Gayathri Aided Elementary School. After getting permission, he began working towards his aim of educating people.
Eventually, he used to push students to go for college and universities for further higher studies. Because of his guidance, S Balaram eventually went to lead the institute as its chairman. Balaram’s teacher had the courage and conviction to stand up for people and holding a beacon of hope for the next generation.
By: Preeti Narula