Panthers of ISKL #104 – Mark-Oliver Jopp – The Caring Fundraiser

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“This project is more than a charitable endeavor.  It is a personal initiative to raise funds and support an individual through #ISKLcares”.

Mark-Oliver Jopp (‘22) focuses his CAS Project on reaching out to support Suresh, a driver who worked for his family from 2016-2019 during their time in India. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Suresh lost his job and his earnings. He was suffering financially in trying to support his disabled wife and three children when Mark-Oliver decided to build awareness and raise money for him.

Here is Mark-Oliver’s story.


 

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I was born to a German father and Hungarian mother in Stuttgart, Germany before moving to Berlin when I was four years old.  Here we lived in a quiet neighborhood where I have memories of playing soccer and meeting with my friend to swim in the local lake.  At the age of 11, my father was relocated in his job role and we moved to Pune in India.  It was a huge change of environment for us all but we had a great experience.  We moved to Malaysia in 2019, where I started ISKL in Grade 10.

You named this project ‘Tunes Against Covid.’ Tell us a little bit of the background behind how you know Suresh.

Suresh worked for my family as a driver for three years (2016-2019) whilst we were living in Pune, India. His wife stays home due to a disability and looks after their three children with their priority being for the children to go to school to gain an education.

As neither of my parents were allowed to drive in India, we spent many hours in the car with Suresh, hearing about his life and family.  It was important for us all to stay in touch after we moved to Malaysia.

Tell us more about Suresh and his family

Suresh Khirte was born in Pune, India on 17 September 1984 to a low-income family. His father was a farmer and his mother remained home to manage the house and their children.  When Suresh finished his mandatory education at high school level, he started working with his father.  Once he earned enough money to afford his driver’s license, he became a tourist driver in Pune.  This experience led him to move on and work for Mercedes Benz India, driving local expats.  This is how we met Suresh.

What is a memory you have together with Suresh?

One of my fondest memories is with Suresh and my Grandpa, who was visiting India from Hungary.  It was a wish of my grandfather to drive a tuk-tuk, the 3-wheeler cheap taxis that are commonplace throughout India.  Suresh arranged this for him and then followed behind to ensure we were safe.  Everyone had such a great time.

Suresh and his family

How did you build awareness and raise funds for this CAS project?

My project has evolved since I decided to focus on helping Suresh and his family. The biggest milestone was raising money through a fundraiser on the senior deck in April 2022.

What are your plans after you graduate from ISKL?

I am hoping to attend IE University in Spain to study International Relations for four years.  At the present moment, I am undecided whether I embark upon a career in politics or business after my Bachelors Degree.  I believe that with maturity and more experience from University, my future career will become more clear.  My aim is to be financially stable and to be the best version of myself in a stable job and marriage.

What are your hobbies and interests?

My most long standing hobby is golf which I started playing when I was 10 years old.  I also enjoy tennis and playing the piano, which I began learning in Germany, improving during our time in India and Malaysia.

Who and what inspires/influences you?

My parents are both a huge inspiration and influence on my life.  My mom works under her own rules for her independent company, whilst my dad works for a large firm.  I have been able to gain insights into both working worlds which has helped support my path on what to study at university.

What is your most memorable moment at ISKL?

The best experience and memory I have at ISKL is my trip to Vietnam for GAP 2019 in Grade 10.  I was able to bond with my classmates whilst helping to change the life of an older couple.  With our help they now have a proper kitchen, bedroom, and a much more comfortable home.

Tell us what ‘know yourself, care for all and create a better world’ means to you?

It is very important to get to know yourself, and I believe that diversity is the best exposure one can have in order to do this.  You are forced into new situations and scenarios that encourage you to consider life.  Through these experiences, it is easier to care for all and make a better world, especially for those that have more resources in order to help those with less.  


 

Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here. To find out more inspiring stories of our community, read about The Golfing Champion or the Jogger with A Cause!