Meet

Our Alumni

On employment, youth supported by Sunbird become members of the alumni network and are encouraged to become community leaders and facilitators. They are encouraged to engage with the mission of Sunbird by contributing financially and in-kind. They serve as mentors and role models for sponsored children.

Dr Ben Khiangte

Medical Specialist

Born in an underprivileged agricultural family from Mizoram, Benjamine Khiangte sought the help of the Sunbird team in 2004 to complete his MBBS. With an interest free loan though the “Loan Scholarship Scheme” (then being run under the aegis of the Maria Seva Sangha), he graduated from Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha.

In 2009, Ben secured admission into the prestigious and competitive Post Graduate (MD, Internal Medicine) course at his old college. During this time, the Sunbird team continued to support him. Completing his post-graduation in 2012, Ben practiced as a consultant Physician, Geriatrician and Diabetologist at Nazareth Hospital, Shillong. Married to Hmai (an Audiologist) and with a young son Nathan, he is now pursuing his super specialty (DNB in Gastroenterology) at Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Thiruvananthapuram. Today, Ben not only supports other needy students from his village but also sponsors two other children in the Sunbird Sponsor a Child scheme.

Dr Ben Khiangte, a distinguished alumnus, is on the Advisory Board of Sunbird Trust.

“I thank the Sunbird team for coming to my rescue at a critical time in my career. Their timely and sustained assistance helped me transcend my financial difficulties and complete my studies. Inspired by this initiative, I will remain an active and lifelong contributor in this noble endeavour.”

Dilip Chakma

Legal Professional

Coming from the remote and underdeveloped region of Western Mizoram, Dilip is a member of the predominantly Buddhist Chakma tribe. His community faces overt ethnocide in Bangladesh and covert suppression in India’s northeast. In 2007, Dilip was granted a loan by Team Sunbird to finance his LLB at the prestigious National Law School University of India (NLSUI) at Bangalore.

In Feb 2010, Dilip was invited to intern with an international human rights organization ‘Geneva for Human Rights’ in Switzerland. During this internship, he worked on various thematic and country specific issues of human rights. He attended the Universal Periodic Review Working Group at the UN and also participated in the Human Rights Council Sessions in 2010 and 2011.

He is also a former trainee of Geneva for Human Rights – Global Training. He has been active in the field of human rights advancing rights through advocacy and Public Interest Litigations. He is committed and determined to work for the upliftment of marginalized and minority groups.

He is a qualified lawyer registered with the Bar Council of New Delhi, and presently works with Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) as a human rights advocate. Keen to join the Administrative services, Dilip also prepares for the Civil Services Examination.

One of Sunbird Trust’s distinguished alumni, Dilip along with another alumnus, Dr Ben Khiangte is a member of Sunbird’s Advisory Committee.

“I am deeply indebted to Sunbird Trust for their support when I needed it most. The financial assistance allowed me to concentrate on my professional studies when help from elsewhere was not forthcoming. I am honoured to be on the Advisory Council of Sunbird Trust and pledge my services to this endeavour that is making a meaningful difference to so many marginalized youngsters in my part of the country.”

Kresitha Momin

Music Professional

Belonging to the Garo tribe of Meghalaya and hailing from an underprivileged family from a remote part of the state, Kresitha Momin decided to take up teaching music as a career. In 2012, she sought the Sunbird Team’s help for a scholarship to pursue her BA (Music) from St Anthony’s College Shillong and was granted a free loan scholarship. To support herself, she worked as a nanny to children of a family while attending college. Often walking miles to college to save money, she excelled and graduated in 2015 with the Gold Medal in the course.

As most institutions required a post graduate degree for teachers, Kresitha chose to pursue her MA (Music). With few options in India for a PG degree in Music Education, she again approached Sunbird for a loan to pursue the degree from Santa Isabel Conservatory of Music, Manila, one of the best institutions of its kind in Asia. Given her outstanding performance in the BA Course, Sunbird Team members rose to the occasion and not only advanced a loan to Kresitha but also underwrote her travelling expenses to the Philippines. Rewarding the faith reposed in her, Kresitha secured over 90% in her first term exam and is excelling in the course. She is confident of getting a suitable placement at any prestigious institution on her graduation and is determined to provide for her family.

“I can scarcely believe that total strangers could be so supportive and help my dreams come true. I am making my future livelihood almost entirely due to the kind assistance provided to me by Sunbird”.

A. Laishangbam

Chef

In 2007, a retired Insurance agent, Shri L Bishanbor, a Meitei from Imphal, approached Sunbird for a loan for his son Andyson to pursue a three year course in International Hospitality Management from ITM IHM, Bangalore. He said that he had brought his son to the city to give him a better chance in life, given the complete lack of opportunities in his home state, Manipur. Though the amount requested was very large, the loan was raised through Sunbird team members. Andyson topped his batch in the first year and secured a prestigious internship with the Oberoi hotel. However, in the meanwhile, his father suddenly of a heart attack leaving his wife and four children without any financial support whatsoever.

Unable to pay his hostel and other expenditure, Andyson left his course and returned home to Imphal. Thanks to pledges of support from Sunbird team members, he was able to rejoin and complete the course. He then secured a job with a Bangalore resort where he has worked since 2009 and is now in the process of getting employment at a hotel in Australia. An expert in baking, he can seamlessly work across cuisines and is a valued member of the team at the resort.