A Birmingham solicitor who spent part of an eight-month trip to India working with under-privileged children has returned to the real estate division of DLA Piper.
Twenty-nine-year-old Raj Hothi, from Leamington, has returned at the same time as DLA Piper in Birmingham has recruited for the firm’s corporate, real estate and insurance divisions.
Raj did voluntary work for the Vidya education and development charity in Gurgaon, a suburban area of Delhi where extreme poverty lives cheek by jowl with 21st century development.
She said: “You find modern skyscrapers among the edge of shanty towns. Thousands of impoverished families have no basic amenities like water, electricity, sanitation and basic healthcare that we would take for granted.
“I was asked by Vidya to teach in an English-medium school it had set up for children aged eight to 16.
“All of the students came from shanty towns and were given food, clothing and school equipment because their parents could not provide that.
“Unlike older members of their family they could speak English well and understood that our language is the key to further education. English is the language of business in India.
“I concentrated on nine to eleven-year-olds teaching them English, geography, history, maths and science.”
The Indian school system requires its pupils to pass an examination at the end of each academic year before they can to continue to the next grade.
The highlight of Raj’s voluntary work came when she decided to launch an eight-week summer school in June for 20 pupils who had failed to pass the examination.
They were faced with having to go back a year or give up education altogether. I hired a classroom and later used my own private quarters to teach these children,” she said.
“Many had been unable to spend sufficient time studying because of the economic deprivation in which they found themselves at home – particularly the girls who are faced with a heavy load of domestic work.
“Despite this they were all motivated, wanted to learn and were extremely grateful to me for taking extra time to help them.
Her efforts were rewarded when all 20 of the youngsters passed a subsequent examination enabling them to move on to the next grade in their education.
She added: “This experience has changed my life. I am now going to start fund-raising to do all I can to make life better for these youngsters.
“We take so much for granted and many of us in western society have become too materialistic.
“Having witnessed extreme poverty I know I must do everything I can to try to make a difference.”
Raj is a former pupil of North Leamington School. She studied law at University of Liverpool and took her LPC at Nottingham Law School.
She will work in the DLA Piper real estate team in Birmingham headed by partner Martin Hallam.