Her voice was innocence personified and anyone speaking to her will get the feeling that you are talking to a small kid. In every single sentence she will utter the word “Anna or Akka” at least 5 to 6 times and interviewing her for our Maatram admission was blissful – she was so full of love and affection. Geetha is from a small village near Tiruchengode and was abandoned by her father who married another lady for the second time and left this girl and her mother to fend for themselves. He worked as a lorry driver and would earn around 30,000 to 40,000 rupees per month but not a single penny would be spent for this girl or her mother. Instead when he needs money for alcohol he would beat them up and take whatever little money they had. This girl had a pretty disturbed childhood and grew up in her grandma’s place with very little support. She used to study under street lights late in the evening and on one such fateful day, she touched the Iron pole by mistake and had a major electric shock. This small girl was thrown several meters away and sustained serious injuries. With great difficulty she was saved and with her passion to study , she faced all ordeal for the next 4 years to finish her 12th std. The effect of this accident is still there in this girl and she apparently falls sick very often.
During the interview, I asked one of my standard question to her “Which course would you want and where do you want to study” and Geetha responded “Anna, I am willing to pursue any course, I just need to study and I am willing to go anywhere in the country. Please help with an admission and that’s all I need. I am not particular about any course etc Anna”. I could understand the desperation and luckily for us, we had one of our partner college of repute just 5 kms from her residence and with a lot of hope, I asked her “Are you ok if I can get you an admission in KSR Arts & Science College. Its very close by and you can be with your mother and also take care of your health instead of staying in the hostel elsewhere in a different city”. What she said next kind of shook me – She said “Anna…if possible, please put me in a hostel. Its been a while since I saw my mother having 3 meals a day. If I am with her, she will keep spending whatever little money she has for my needs and we don’t have anyone else to support. The last 6 months has been very tough for her. I will take care of my health but I am very worried about my mother. Please don’t tell her that I asked for hostel in a different city” We would have heard of parents sacrificing their personal needs and here it was a different story altogether. Something told me that this girl has to be with her mother and we assured her that our foundation will support her and family with a monthly sustenance till such time she finishes her studies. We had asked her to rent a house on her own and move with her mother to this new place and apparently this does not cost much in the place where she lives. For us at Maatram, it’s not just her studies but this kid has no pleasant memories in her last 19 years and at least from now on…she can gather some good memories. KSR management took some great care by admitting her in their college and cant thank them enough. For the last few days, she would call me every evening with some update or the other.
Last evening she called me and said “Anna…Thank you Anna….my life would have ruined if not for the help etc and she went on and on”. I thought it was yet another emotional kid who was thanking and was trying to say its fine and tried diverting the topic. That’s when she said “Anna….I didn’t tell you something during the interview. My marriage was almost fixed with another Anna (She calls her prospective groom as Anna) and all my relatives convinced my mother and she had also accepted. One of my uncle was a bit supportive that I should study but he was unable to help me financially and hence all options were closed. As a last resort, I was given time till September end to get admission and that’s when one of my school teacher referred my name to Maatram Foundation. If I was not shortlisted for this admission, I would have been forced to get married and I couldn’t imagine life after that”. I stood in silence for some time not knowing what to say and ended the call asking her to focus on her studies and not to give in to any external pressure. Last night in my prayers…I just remembered this girl and the unknown teacher who referred her to Maatram Foundation. A single act from this teacher had saved this girl and her future. Sometimes helping someone in need doesn’t take much time…a simple guidance can change the course of their lives and their future. If you are a student who is reading this post…remember not everyone goes to college for a degree or a job…there are hundreds of Geetha’s who go to college to escape marriage and create a future for themselves where they can be on their own and I have seen many such living examples in our foundation. #MaatramFoundation #PowerofEducation #GirlchildEducation
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