In India: The Chance of a Lifetime for $1 a Day

Publication Date: 
July 30, 2012

Nearly 2,500 of the poorest students in South India are pursuing what was once unthinkable – a college education! Don Bosco College in Dharmapuri is providing that opportunity by offering an affordable tuition of just $1 a day. It’s a small investment that’s paying off in a big way.

Since opening its doors four years ago, this Salesian college has proven to be a godsend for a region plagued by some of the worst human conditions on earth. More than half of the population is illiterate, drugs and crime are rampant, and many children have been abandoned by their parents and are now alone fending for themselves.

In its first year, Don Bosco College consisted of 250 students and 10 staff members. Since that time, it has grown ten-fold and today boasts a student body of 2,460 and a staff of 110.

The impact of Don Bosco College has been enormous, as measured by the personal stories of the impressive young people who are benefiting from this life-changing experience.

Click here to read real stories from people $1 a day has helped.

While progress has been significant, the young college is still in need of funding for its continued growth and ability to serve more impoverished young people. Your gifts to Salesian Missions enable us to support valuable programs like Don Bosco College and other vital services that benefit the poor and needy around the world. Thanks for whatever you can give today.

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I am Kavitha, 17 years old. My father and mother work for a meager wage of Rs 110 ($2) a day. When I was 14, my father was implicated in a murder and is in jail for life. My mother made many sacrifices to support me for my school education. She planned to send me for some manual work and then get me married. But I cried and cried, begging her to send me for studies. One day I met a nun who took me to Don Bosco College. I was promised a scholarship to pursue my studies. My sponsor is a past pupil of another Don Bosco institution. Now I am able to study well without the worry of looking for money. When I am employed I am going to help a student to study in Don Bosco College.


I am Saravanan, 18 years old. One day the physical education director from Don Bosco College came to our school. He saw me play volleyball and invited me to join the college after finishing high school. I told him I had no money to pay the tuition fees and that my parents wanted me to work to support my 3 brothers and 2 sisters. But the physical education director convinced me to visit the college. The principal promised to give me admission and he would find a sponsor to pay my fees. I attended the college and was captain of the volleyball team and we won many tournaments. In the final year of my studies, I attended a selection camp for the police department and I was overjoyed when hired. Today I am a graduate and earn Rs 15,000 ($300) a month. Don Bosco has shown me the way to a secure life.”


I am Viji. My mother died when I was just 9 years old. My father is a truck driver but he has no permanent work. He was planning to get me married as soon as I completed my school. I met a lady whose son was a student of Don Bosco. Knowing my family background, she asked her son who works in a pharmaceutical company to support my education. I am at present studying Mathematics for my graduation. I am at the top of my class. I hope to do my post graduate studies with the help of a generous benefactor and work as a college lecturer to help poor students have a good education. The valuable education classes in the college have given me much enthusiasm to support the poor in society.