...It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of one of our best students. Kishan Kumar was a delightful, diligent, and bright young boy. At only five years old, he wasn't given many opportunities to succeed in life. I did not give him one either. Kishan was a strong contender for a seat in the Carmel Convent School. He even made my final round of selections. However, I left him behind in the slum this year because he was the youngest boy on my final list and I thought that I would have more time to acquire resources for him. As it turns out, I didn't have much time at all.
Kishan was healthy and happy the entire time that I knew him. I was unaware that Kishan was sick until I received the call from Mithlesh early this morning informing me that Kishan had "expired." Over recent days, Kishan had developed a severe case of pneumonia. Last night, he was finally taken to B.K. Hospital, the main government hospital in Faridabad where I volunteered for a month. Unable to properly care for him, the B.K. Hospital transferred him to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, nearly an hour-long ambulance ride away. After arriving at AIIMS, Kishan was pronounced dead only four hours later.
Ankit (left), whom we selected for the Carmel Convent School and is generously sponsored by Bert Graham, was one of Kishan's best friends. Ankit and the entire slum are grieving his loss today.
We live in a society where education is taken for granted and where great healthcare is not just available but expected. Education can help improve our lives, but it could have saved Kishan's. His parents cannot read or write. They aren't even educated enough to know that they should have taken Kishan to the hospital sooner, let alone to one that could give him adequate care.
It is difficult for us to comprehend in this materialistic and luxurious bubble we live in that parents wouldn't take their dying son to a hospital until the last minute, but they simply do not know any better. Even if they had the desire to learn what to do, these people could not read a book or operate a computer even if they had access to such items. They do not lack intelligence, they just lack knowledge and opportunity.
Kishan is survived by his parents, two brothers, and a community of hundreds of children who still might get a second chance. With less money than you can earn in a day, you can give an endearing child a second chance that he or she would otherwise never receive.
You can ignore these children just like the society around them. They will never know. But you can also take a stand and revolutionize their lives and the lives of their parents, siblings, future children, and entire lineage thereafter. For the price of an iPod or fancy pair of shoes, you might even save their lives. Donations made through Tuesday, May 15 will be accepted in memory of Kishan.
Once again, Kishan has taught me more about life than any other 5-year-old I know. I wonder where he would have gone and where he could have gone with our support. We will never know. I will always remember him and hope that you will too. Kishan, your family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers. Rest in peace.