Positive Chronicles - Azhagi : Hope shining through
by Varun Rangarajan
With a father who had given into the evils of the bottle and a mother who sold idlis to support the entire family, she was in danger of being relegated to the outer bounds of society, of going through the mundane cycle of poverty – dropping out of school – early marriage – heaps of kids – inevitable misery! But she was not without anything.
She had the ability to work hard and ignore the fact that she was poor. She was always willing to give her best shot and this saw her get through an engineering college in Tamil Nadu. Her parents' happiness knew no bounds when they heard about this result. But just as soon as the smiles on their faces relaxed, reality hit hard. College education would mean tens of thousands of rupees in expenditure and not many, if any at all, would be willing to lend money to an idli seller's daughter.
But word soon got around and thanks to the reach of the media, the story was soon in a local newspaper. We jumped onto it. Our only concerns were that the parents might not be willing to educate the girl much or that they might get her married off soon after she finished her education. We saw a bright future in the girl, she was smart and was very hardworking. So we decided to sponsor the girl's education, after having a chat with her parents.
We kept ourselves updated on the girl's progress in college. We provided her with assistance from time to time by way of materials like a scientific calculator, books etc. We were determined to make this little sister of ours pull through college and make her family proud of her.
Azhagi remained honest to all and did not belie our faith in her. She won the first prize in a Tamil group discussion and stood fourth in a debate all in the first year. Needless to say, she treasures the books and the certificates she won – the first of many to come in college - that day. She had one weakness though. Having studied all her life in a remote village and in a Tamil medium school, she was not comfortable with English at all and was finding it very tough to cope in college. She took our advise and regularly read English newspapers and magazines and spoke to people in English as much as possible. Slowly she lost the fear of the language and became better. Our frequent calls made her comfortable talking to us openly of her problems in college. We even opened a bank account for her so that right from an early age she would know how to manage her finances well.
She had three arrears in her first year exams and scored an average 63%. Though that caused her head to droop, constant support from people around her made her dig in. Not only did she clear all the arrears the next semester, she turned things around scoring a stunning 73% of marks.
She has another two years left in college and the path will not be all rosy for Azhagi. There will always be ups and downs in this girl's life. Having suffered the privations of being born in a poor rural family, she was looking for a turnaround in her life, and her own determination and courage to not think about what she was missing and to make do with what was at hand instead, is seeing her achieve new heights in life. Her parents have high hopes on her. They dream of the day when she secures a job and they could rest their tired bodies. That day is not far away in her life.
The author is a co-founder of Dream India an orgranization whose aim is the betterment of life of the underprivileged.
DreamIndia [External Link]
Subject: Keep it up - 14 July 2009
keep up the good work ranga bashyam
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