Rahul in front of his house before leaving to the office. Pictures: Vera Pelkonen

Rahul Sawnani works and studies hard in the hope of being able to support his family in the future.

University student Rahul Sawnani (23) lives in Jaipur with his parents. His father has been a salesman at an electronic shop for 28 years and his mother is a housewife.

Rahul’s father works seven days, Rahul only six days a week. Every morning he wakes up early, works until 5pm in the office and after that he spends the evening studying at home. In the evenings he has talks with his parents and goes to bed around midnight.

”I prefer studying at home so that I can spend more time with my family”, he says.


Rahul is studying to become a chartered accountant. Simultaneously he is completing a master´s degree in commerce.

In addition, he is the youngest employee at the Bal Rashmi office in Jaipur, in the state of Rajasthan (India). Bal Rashmi Society cooperates with the Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä in empowering village communities in this poor part of India.

At the moment, Rahul and his mother, father and grandmother are all living in a two-room apartment which is located in a middle-class area of Jaipur. Rahul hopes that in one year he will become an accountant and earn a decent salary.

”I want to offer my parents a comfortable life later, and a better house”, Rahul adds.

Rahul has never been outside of India. He would love to travel abroad, but working outside of India does not appeal to him. As his parents’ only son, he wants to take care of his family in the future, even if it entails sacrifices. Already now he has foregoed a well-paid permanent job offer based in South Africa.

”Family is my number one priority. I will go abroad only if I can take my family with me”, Rahul says.

Rahul, mum, dad and grandmother having a breakfast in the living room.

Rahul got the idea to study accountancy from a relative, and he is passionate about his study field. He believes that while earning money is a necessity, it is also important to be satisfied with one’s work.

With a genuine concern he elaborates that people interested in working with human welfare sometimes have to take hard decisions to support their families financially.

Rahul’s decision to work for the NGO Bal Rashmi Society is unusual. Most of his classmates are focused on finding employment at big companies in the private sector.

However, Rahul believes that the skills he learns in the office will be very useful for his future career. If the conditions are acceptable, he could well imagine a career in the third sector.


Rahul has only one day off in the week, and that is Sunday. Then, he plays cricket with his friends. Rahul’s friends are mostly boys, and he claims not to miss the company of girls. Thinking about marriage is not an option for him before his career and life have become more stable.

He is positive about his career prospects, and the love and support he gets from his family makes him confident. ”I am living the dream that I chose for myself.”



  • The state of Rajasthan is located in the northwestern part of India. The population of the state was 68 621 012 inhabitants in the year 2011.
  • The state capital is Jaipur, also well-known as the pink city of India.
  • Rajasthan’s literacy rate has increased a lot in the previous decades, up to 67,06%. in 2011 (in 1991: 38,75%). There are good universities and around 250 colleges located in Rajasthan.
  • World’s 18th largest subtropical desert is located in Rajasthan. Subtropical desert climate has extremely cold winters and hot summers.
    Source: Government of Rajasthan, Official Web Portal