Moving towards a future that didn’t seem possible four years ago
Chandralekha Asapu, a daughter of a handloom weaver and sister of two, received her degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering in 2020 with the help of NSF’s YES Scholarship.

Chandralekha’s success started well before university, as she continuously secured top rank in her class, received national awards honoring her good academic standing and aced most tests she took.

Chandralekha says her inspiration to pursue a more providing future than that of her dad’s, a skilled artisan who has been overpowered by the inevitable modernization of the occupation, came from reading books.

“[Reading] taught me how to leap forward beyond the limitations that any economically-challenged family obviously possesses,” she recalls.

She said Next Step Foundation’s scholarship opened some doors she didn’t think existed and it helped her overcome “huge challenges in life.”

“Through the lens of NSF, I have seen a wider world, which I might not have found through the books I read,” Chandralekha said after graduating JNTU Kakinada.

Two major IT multinational companies, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, were interested in having Chandralekha start her career with them. After having a few years of experience under her belt, Chandralekha hopes to further her education by getting her MBA at a top university in India or abroad.

Here is her story in her own words…

I am Veera Naga Chandralekha Asapu, an engineering graduate from JNTU-K. We are three siblings; I have an elder brother and a younger sister. My native town is Bandarulanka town near Amalapuram of East Godavari district. Our town is well known for skilled weavers and amazing handloom sarees. My father is a highly crafted artisan, who has improvised his inherited skill bestowed upon him through generations. But, with the relentless march of mechanisation, modernisation and sophistication, my father, like his peers, found no hope of relief from the drudgery and he did not want to pass the plight to his next generation. My brother is an engineer and weaving up his future accordingly.

I am a bookworm. Probably the trait of reading books made me perceive beyond what my eyes tell me; taught me how to leap forward beyond the limitations that any economically challenged family obviously possesses. Of course, I don’t brag that I conquered such limitations to achieve pinnacles of success. I am just budding now. I got Pratibha award for securing top rank in 10th class examinations. Adithya Junior College, which is reputed for Intermediate course (10+2) allotted me a free seat. Simultaneously I secured 98.5 per cent in Intermediate and also 2700 rank in EAMCET (an entrance test for Engineering). I joined JNTU, Kakinada, choosing Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) as my discipline.

Graduation in engineering carved out my budding story of success. I owe Next Step Foundation (NSF) a lot not only for providing YES- Young Engineers Scholarship, but also for mending me to overcome huge challenges of life. Through the lens of NSF, I have seen wider world, which I might not find through the books I read. Consequently, my credentials impressed upon a couple of reputed IT companies including TCS and Infosys. I will join the job and I will use the practical exposure a prerequisite to my Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), which I am aiming to study in one of the top institutes in India, or abroad.

“The sides of the mountain sustain life, not the peak. This is where things grow, experience is gained, and technologies are mastered. The importance of the peak lies only in the fact that it defines the sides.” says APJ Abdul Kalam ji in his ‘Wings of Fire’; the quote is my motto.