East Ham parents remortgage house to pay for daughter’s pilot training course

Ayswariya Balachandran, 17, will train to become a pilot after her parents remortgaged their house t

Ayswariya Balachandran, 17, will train to become a pilot after her parents remortgaged their house to pay for her course. Picture: Tom Barnes - Credit: Tom Barnes

How far would you go to try and make your child’s dream come true?

For one East Ham couple, it's remortgaging their house to pay the £89,000 fees for their daughter to train at a top airline academy.

Ayswariya Balachandran, 17, has secured a place on the Airline Transport Pilots Licence course after passing a rigorous selection test earlier this month.

And after getting turned down for a loan to pay for the 18 month course, Ayswariya's parents - bus driver Biju and supermarket duty manager Rejitha - decided to pay for it themselves.

Biju, 50, said: "You love your children and when they have their heart set on something you will do absolutely anything in your power to help them make their dreams come true.

"Yes, I may have to wait a bit longer to retire. Yes, I will now work more hours each week. Yes we may not be as comfortable as we hoped in old age. But all these things count for nothing if your children are not happy."

Ayswariya, who is currently studying at Newham Collegiate, said: "Words cannot express the gratitude I have for my mum and dad. They have worked very, very hard all their lives to buy a home and raise a family.

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"Now they are giving up that security just so that I can fulfil my dreams. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have parents who would make that sacrifice for me. It's very humbling."

Explaining her passion for planes, she added: "Something happened to me the first time I stepped on to a plane. I was very young, maybe five, and we were going to India to see family.

"It looked like a huge bird and then when we went up into the sky it was such a wow feeling. I knew from that minute what I wanted to do."

Ayswariya plans to finish her A-levels in maths and the sciences before taking up her place on the course, which will see her get a minimum of 240 hours flying time. She is guaranteed a job with an airline when she graduates.

"Most of the people at the selection day were in their mid-20s and older," she said.

"You can't actually take the course until you are 18. I was told it was pretty likely that I am one of the youngest ever to be selected."