If you read my recent Forbes story, “I Stole From Warren Buffett and the World is Better Off,” you may have glanced at the photo that ran with the article and wondered who the young man in it was. I felt you should meet him. His name is Sunaram Tudu, and he is one of the kids who’s benefitting from ideas I’ve taken from Warren Buffett and other folks whose notions are well worth copying.
Sunaram was surely among the most brilliant 10th graders in India. And attending the high-quality Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya boarding school in his home area of Odisha – free to the poor students the JNV system seeks to lift up — Sunaram was getting a first-rate education.
But as is often the case with the poorest in India, poverty diverted this promising young man from opportunity. He quit school after 10th grade to work as an unskilled laborer to help his widowed father support Sunaram’s five siblings. The family lives in Keonjhar, one of the most backwater villages in all of India, and his father, Salkhan, working as a landless farmer, was making but 1,000 Rupees a month. That’s a bit more than $20.