An articulate young man, 21 year old Kannan s/o Rajamohan wants to “do an InfoComm-related course in the Polytechnic” after serving his National Service. Filled with youthful hopes and dreams, he is raring to ‘conquer the world’.
But when he was younger, Kannan’s family struggled to make ends meet and putting food on the table was their key concern rather than him making it through the education system, let alone excelling.
Kannan’s family often moved from place to place and he hardly attended school. But he and his brother Sathish experienced a turning point which changed their lives when their mother enrolled them for a tuition programme at St Joseph’s Church at Bukit Timah in 2012.
Enoch Yang and his wife Agnes Tan, both Vincentians, started the SSVP tuition programme at St Joseph’s Church 12 years ago when they saw the need for such a programme to support the children of the Friends in Need they served.
In the beginning the boys did not take positively to the programme. Kannan who was often playful and inattentive said : “Who would want to go for tuition on a weekend?” But the tutors and mentors soon won the boys over. They felt welcomed and Kannan felt that, “Uncle Enoch connected with me”.
Under the wings of dedicated tutors and mentors, their grades soon improved significantly, “beyond expectations”, as Kannan admitted. Today, Sathish is at the Institute of Technical Education, taking an Engineering course.
Planting seeds of hope
Although he started off unmotivated, Kannan now looks back on his years in the programme with gratitude.
“Small, little chats” with Uncle Enoch were like seeds planted in his young mind. Gradually, he realised that he could overcome his challenges to pursue his dreams and do well in life, as long as he was willing to work hard. His Mathematics tutors Paul Lau and Paul Wan as well as English tutor John Leon Tan all gave him hope which motivated and inspired him.
When Kannan shared that his ambition was to be a pilot, John bought him a book about flying as well as self-help books which he still reads today and shares with Sathish. These acts of kindness have inspired Kannan to pay it forward one day, and when he has the means he intends to donate books and stationery to needy children. The bonds with his tutors and mentors and the breakthroughs they inspired him to make in his life touched him and changed his life. Kannan still keeps in touch with Uncle Enoch for an occasional chat.
“I am grateful to all the tutors who have taught and journeyed with me to make me who I am today”, said Kannan.
Kannan dreams of paying it forward