“The day I received an invite to collect the esteemed Dr.Radhakrishnan award from our chief minister, I was taken more by surprise than happiness for it was completely unexpected. Being a principal in a government school, I felt there were a lot more goals to achieve for my students before I could be deemed eligible for such an honour.
I was born and raised in the small town of Pollachi, where life had thrown its fair share of challenges, starting with a partial loss of vision as a toddler. With age, when the going got tough, it was my education and subsequent career as a teacher that in fact, gave me a sense of identity.
So with those dual tools in place, I wanted to return the favour and empower as many kids as I could. And especially after working in various government schools, I was able to witness the clear divide that existed between different institutions, be it in terms of the infrastructure, guidance or even the enrollment levels. Many parents from lower socio-economic backgrounds weren’t ready to send their children to school and it took a lot of persuasion to make them realize the need for their child to receive a formal education
Due to this, I had to make sure that the students under me saw a holistic development that eventually transformed them into self-sustaining individuals. So I started pooling in my own funds to provide quality food, organize for furniture and bring in more resources to make the children like their learning environment. And with time, my efforts did pay off! Admission rates slowly moved from single to triple-digit numbers in my school and I couldn’t be happier.
Even now, during the COVID pandemic, I’ve gathered my savings to buy around 200 kgs of rice and essential ingredients to distribute to our children’s families. What’s the reward for all this you ask? It’s the smile in parents’ faces when they start trusting us, or when I hear news of our students going on to become engineers and collectors. Their victories unlock a sense of achievement in my mind while reassuring that my efforts have indeed been in the right direction, these twenty-five years.”
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