Defying All Odds: An Engineer Who Worked As A Labourer To Pay Fees

At just 22 years of age, Loji Behera’s maturity is beyond her years. She has defied all odds to earn herself an engineering degree and make her parents proud. In January this year, Loji was spotted by a few people while she was working as a labourer at a construction site under the Government’s MGNREGA scheme in her village in Pipili block of Puri district.

Turned out, Loji had pursued a diploma in civil engineering in a private institute in Khurda and though she completed her course, she was unable to get her certificate as her hostel fees were not fully paid. She had completed her degree in the 2016-2019 session which was fully funded by the government. The hostel fees, however, which costs Rs 44,000 remained unpaid, as her family could only pay Rs 20,000.

The college authorities would refuse to hand her the certificate whenever she would approach them. Loji’s father Loknath also approached the local legislator for the release of the certificate, but to no avail. Eventually, she decided to work and pay the remaining amount to the authorities.

“I took up a job as a labourer to pay the remaining amount. So, what if I am an engineer? No work is big or small,” she had said. “My father is the sole earning member in my family. Even if my work can help my family financially, I would be happy.”

Her determination has caught the attention of many and as the news spread, the college authorities came in-person to handover the certificate to Loji.

Now, with a certificate in hand, Loji’s efforts have also earned her praises from many. Officials in the district administration have promised her a job and a few groups and individuals have offered her financial assistance.

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