Two phone calls in a span of few hours this morning set me thinking for while but reassured that we are on the right path Got a call this morning and the caller on the other side spoke with a very soft feeble voice ” Sir are you Sujith sir from Maatram Foundation”. I said “Yes, but how did you get my personal number” and the girl in desperation said “Sorry sir, one Anna from our village works in your company. He gave me this number asking me to speak to you. I need some urgent help”.
Normally around this time of the year, our helpline number will be busy with our admission process and could gather that this request could be in similar lines. The girl continued to speak “Sir, I have finished 12th standard this year and have taken science group. I study very well but situation is turning upside down in my house. My father who had told me that he will send me to college has suddenly changed his mind. We are from a poor family and both my parents work as coolies and they have been jobless for the last few months. Four of my classmates have already been married off in my village in the last 2 months of which 2 of them are my relatives. Some of my relatives are now forcing my father to get me married off and he has kind of agreed and convincing me to get married. I can understand his pain of managing my expenses but I want to study further sir. Can you please help me sir. Can you speak to my father and if I can be part of your foundation, he might agree. Please sir”. I listened to her with complete attention and can understand the struggle this young girl was going through. I assured her that she can be part of our foundation and also told her that I will speak to her father. The voice on the other side changed completely and could sense hope.
In less than an hour, my wife handed over her phone and said “Someone special wants to speak to you and convey some news”. I said Hello and the enthusiastic voice on the other side said “Sir, this is Sandhya, wanted to share some good news sir. I got a call from the HR dept just now and they confirmed that I have been selected. They have asked me to join immediately after my exam gets over. Iam so happy sir”. Well this girl’s story was no different 3 years back. Her father believing an astrologer never used to treat this girl well, she was considered as the bad luck to the family and had no plans to continue her higher studies. Relatives had approached her parents to get her married off but she just clinged on to her education as her only hope. Her mother works as a domestic help and her only aim was to help her mother lead a respectable life. Not only she studied hard, she went on to win the Best Outgoing Student Award from Maatram Foundation and a pillar of support to our foundation. When we are speaking of job cuts, this rock star has bagged a job only because of her fighting spirit. I asked her “What did your father say about your job offer” and she said “He looked at me with a lot of pride in his eyes and wished me well and I will never forget that moment sir “.
The second call kind of reassured what I need to do in the first case….like in many other cases in the past.. just going negotiate for 4 years with the parents by which time, these girls will be ready to conquer the world and they will be on their own with an ability to take an informed decision. Not sure how many of you saw the news on the increased number of marriages under the age of 18 in TN. Education is the only way to attack this problem #PowerofEducation #MaatramFoundation

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