As many of you know, I spend a lot of time in India, and sponsor some children there.

One of the children I’ve got to know on my visits to Rishikesh is Uday. He grew up in the mountains of Mussoorie in northern India, living in a tiny concrete room with barely any light. His father worked hard to support his family – by carrying stones or people on his back for a living. When he was quite young, Uday’s family sent him to an NGO hostel in Rishikesh where he could get food, education and medical care – it was here that I met him.

You might think that Uday’s existence is a rather bleak and miserable one – but he is always happy and smiling. I have never known him to be miserable or self-pitying. He is very intelligent and works very hard, both at his studies and his chores. He helps his friends and never complains.

Ever since I first met him, Uday has dreamed of becoming a commercial pilot. Many people have told him that pilot training is too expensive, and he should perhaps set his sights a little lower – but he will not be dissuaded. Uday still dreams of one day becoming a pilot.

I think we can all learn a lot from Uday. He has never once sat and felt sorry for himself, despite his humble life. He doesn’t complain; he doesn’t moan or gripe. He is seventeen now; he has only a couple of years left of school, after which time he will probably go to work in the fields or carrying stones like his father. Unless, of course, he can somehow get the training to obtain his dream: becoming a commercial pilot.

That is where you come in. I am writing this post because I want to ask you to please help us raise enough money to help Uday fulfil his dream. We have set up a crowdfunding page and we’re hoping that if everyone gives a little money, just what they can afford, he will get his dream.

Imagine a life where your future was likely to be carrying stones or weeding fields for a few rupees to just keep your family’s heads above water. Many of us dream of becoming rich and famous; there are entire TV shows dedicated to plucking people from obscurity and turning them into celebrities. Uday doesn’t dream of this; he dreams of getting the training to have a job he will enjoy, where he can earn his own money and live a more comfortable life than the one currently mapped out for him.

This project is so worthwhile, and it means so much to me. It’s the sort of thing that will genuinely change someone’s life – and someone who really deserves it. This young man is sure to go on to change many other lives himself.

We in the West have so much: telephones, iPhones, iPads, laptops. We think nothing of going for nights out, weekends away, buying the latest shoes or a new outfit. Many of us wouldn’t bat an eyelid at spending £50 on an evening out, £10 on a drink and a snack at a coffee shop with a friend… Imagine what the cost of these things could mean to Uday. If we all gave up our fancy morning coffees for a week, and donated that money to Uday’s fund, I’m sure we could boost his fund a lot! I know it’s easy to look at all of the misery and destruction in the world and think we can’t possibly make a difference – but with this, with one small donation, you can be instrumental in changing one boy’s life.

Uday’s page is here: Please consider donating whatever you can afford to help Uday on his way, and let your heart sing!