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From poverty to pump attendant to UG graduate - Dinesh Gansham shares his bumpy journey to success


25-year-old Ghame Gansham, better known as Dinesh.

Tennis Legend Arthur Ashe is quoted as saying “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome. Not everyone can be Number 1.” This is precisely what 25-year-old Ghame Gansham, better known as Dinesh, has been doing.


Dinesh, who hails from Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (ECD), was a boy with a very humble origin story. Because of these humble roots, he was forced to endure many struggles.


Looking back at his formative years, Dinesh recounted that he would “skip” school many days to play cricket, swim in the nearby trench, or even pick fruits in the community’s backdam.


Dinesh and his friends posing for a picture after completing CSEC.

In 2008, he sat the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) and was awarded a spot at the Bygeval Secondary School. He recalled being the “happiest child” since he could have walked to and from school since it was not far from his home.


This was short-lived as he was laughed at and was even bullied by his peers because of how he “looked or behaved,” Gansham reminisced.


“Many days, I went to school without a lunch or money to spend. At lunchtime, I would go on the field and spend time there until lunchtime passed. I would return after lunch like I had the best lunch ever, but only I knew how hungry I used to be. But that never stopped me. I continued to push forward, hoping to meet the end one day,” he recalled.


The 25-year-old added that he had to join his father on the farm many days to have “pocket money” and pay for his lessons. He also worked with vendors at the Mahaica for $500 every Saturday.


In 2013, Dinesh passed seven subjects in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination despite wanting to write nine subjects. He was the fourth best graduating student.


After completing his secondary education, the 25-year-old wanted to become computer literate because this is a requirement for most jobs.


He then negotiated with his father to pay half of the tuition, and he would cover the other half along with transportation and any additional costs incurred. His father agreed, and he began his studies at Global Technology Inc.


During his last week at Global Technology, he applied at a popular hardware store in Georgetown and was informed that he would be called within a week or two.


PUMP ATTENDANT

The following day, he went to Rubis Gas Station, located at Mahaica, ECD, to purchase gasoline for his father and was offered a job by the Head of the company.


A picture of Dinesh as a Pump Attendant at the Rubis Gas Station.

“I told her, yes, but I have to think about it because I always wanted an office job or to become an Accountant,” Dinesh stated while highlighting that he did not receive the blessings of his parents to accept the offer.


“I thought for a few minutes that if I take this job, it’s closer to my home, I done don't have to pay transportation fees, I can go home for lunch and be able to save more money to be used in the future to achieve my goals.”


On September 9, 2013, Dinesh was ready to take up the mantle as a Pump Attendant. Although his focus was only to make money and save it, he was greeted by people calling him a “dunce” and even “laughing” at him.

“Many times, I faced insult from customers that only a dunce would do a job like this. Those remarks made me cry many times, but I never gave up because I knew the reason why I took up that job.”


He continued, “I was even disgraced of myself whenever my former classmates would pass and see me. I would hide behind the kerosene pump just for them not to see me.”


Luckily, after several weeks on the job, he became comfortable and continued working there for almost a year.


TEACHING

In September of 2014, an ambitious Dinesh was called by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), having applied there. He accepted the offer, and by September 4, 2014, Gansham was a Temporary Qualified Teacher.


As he began his journey in the teaching fraternity, he realised his love for the profession and children.


“I wanted to help the many underprivileged or children facing poverty attain a sound primary education. I set out to do that because I'm a testimony of being underprivileged and facing the blunts of poverty.”


“Also, I wanted to be an encouragement and motivation to many children who are school dropouts because of various reasons. I witnessed the implications of this on a child's life because I have siblings who had to drop out of school due to financial constraints and other family issues.”


In 2015, he applied to the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) as he believed that to better help his children and their various learning needs, he had to be qualified.


By September of that same year, he became an In-Service Trainee Teacher reading for his Associate Degree in Education. And according to the young educator, he never knew working and studying “could have been so hard to cope with.”


“The struggle began when I had to pay a double transportation fee to and from work and college. My salary at that time was a meagre $53,000. Many days we would stay hungry just to save that money to pay to print assignments, buy stationeries for college and work, and transportation purposes.”


He recalled reaching home around 10:00pm and would be up until 1:00am to complete assignments and lesson plans.


A picture of Dinesh on his graduation day at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE).

“This hardship prolonged for two years until I was able to complete college. I didn’t regret any of the hardships I faced because, in the end, I was a proud graduating student of cohort 2015-2017 with credit.”


With a thirst for personal development, Sir Dinesh, in 2019, applied at the University of Guyana, where he read for a Bachelor’s Degree in Education-Primary.


Sadly in May of 2019, Dinesh’s home life took a tragic turn following the death of his grandmother, compounded by family issues and the onset of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).


“I was also always dealing with family issues such as my parents’ addiction to alcohol. These issues affected me mentally, and somehow, I fell short and didn’t give my best to my studies.”

He then challenged himself to do better in the academic year 2020-2021 and did just that. For that academic year, he attained Ten A’s and One B and graduated with a 3.6 GPA, copping a Distinction.



He attributed this success to the All-mighty, his parents and siblings, teachers, lecturers, friends, and former colleagues.


“But at the same time, I played a huge role in my achievements. I never gave up! I kept pushing and working hard to be successful.”


The 25-year-old recently resigned from teaching to read for his Master’s Degree in the United States of America. He noted that it was a difficult decision but he is grateful for all the struggles he endured as they moulded him into the person he is today.


His advice to anyone who is reading his story is simple. He said: “Never give up on yourself. You can achieve great things if you have determination and perseverance. Set your goals, and you’re already halfway through. You just have to work hard and achieve whatever your heart desires.”


He continued, “Nothing is impossible. Also, do not make your situation, family, or environment define who you are. You have the power and the will to make the change and become somebody for yourself. Make yourself so proud that you will be an inspiration and motivation to the many underprivileged children in tomorrow's future.”


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