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By his sheer grit and determination, a poor teenage boy from a remote village in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan has won laurels by getting prizes and awards, thanks to his teachers’ guidance and an educational quality support programme honing his skills.High scoresFifteen-year-old Dharma Ram has excelled in both academics and extra-curricular activities, winning prizes in athletics, kabaddi and inter-school arts competitions, in addition to scoring high marks in his science subject. He is at present a student of Class X at the Government Senior Secondary school in Dhandhaniya Bhaila village.Financial hurdlesDharma started his education at the age of six years in his native Jati Bandhu village, when his family was struggling to make ends meet. His father was working at a stone quarry and mother was battling the last stage of cancer.During his early days in school, Dharma’s teachers sensed his thirst for knowledge and encouraged him to polish his talent. The young boy’s confidence and resolution grew with the passage of time. In addition to his keen interest in science, he emerged as an all-rounder student.Dharma lost his mother to cancer and his father quit his daily job at the mines due to failing health, while the family survived on occasional stints at the stone quarries. Despite such tough conditions, Dharma has excelled in academics and won several medals at the State-level science quiz competitions.Science teacher Dharma told The Hindu from Dhandhaniya Bhaila village that he aspires to be a science teacher. He is getting help from the Satya Bharti Quality Support Programme, which covers his school. His family comprising two brothers, a sister and father continues to face financial hurdles.Represents schoolThe young boy has recently won first prize in a State-level science exhibition organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. He was also sent to represent his school at a State-level science quiz competition, where he won the third prize and was encouraged to continue pursuing his aspirations in the field of science.School principal Lalit Kumar said Dharma, consistently a topper in his class, was preparing hard for his examinations due next month.