“Hardships, poverty, and want are the best incentives, and the best foundation, for the success of man” – Bradford Merrill.
Perhaps, this quote finds it’s suitable example in Jayavel, the 22-year-old from Chennai who made it to Cambridge. All of us have gone through some sort of hardships. However, the worst kind of hardship is the lack of food. When hunger is an enemy, everything else is oblivion. The sense of wrong and right, moral, ethical values, changes to insignificant matters. In spite of all these, a hero is the one who holds up the sense of education, justice and brings into light the power of learning. Jayavel from Chennai is one in a million, who completely brings out such an example.
When a boy from Chennai makes it to Cambridge University, it is not a great deal. However, when the same person makes it to Cambridge University, after begging on the streets- in his prime. Such an example is this boy named Jayavel.
Jayavel’s family originally belonged to Nellore. During a failed crop season in the 1980s, they had to come to Chennai to earn a livelihood. Eventually, they had to start begging on the streets of the city.
As Jayavel narrates his childhood he says “We used to sleep on the pavement. If it would rain, we would try to find another shelter in any nearby shop until the cops came and chased us out of there.” As a matter of fact, his mother had become an alcoholic after his father’s death.
Most of his income would be spent in providing a fuel to her addiction. Even though many organizations tried to help the poor boy, he was hostile to them because previously many organizations used their name to receive funds for own benefits.
“There is nothing you can’t-do. Sometimes you just need a little help”
Very true indeed. All that Jayavel needed was a little help, a true helper. Fortunately, the savior was Uma Muthuraman and her husband. They tried to make a video story named “Pavement Flower”. In spite of the effort, the family was hostile towards them. The reason was stated by Jayavel clearly, as he went on to say “My people actually didn’t like them. We even tried to hurt them as we had so many people approaching us under the pretext of helping. But they only used our name to get government funds.”
However, their attitude softened over time as they realized that the help was genuine. In 1999, Jayavel was offered a proper education through their NGO, Suyam Charitable Trust.
The Final Light:
So many times we tend to see children begging on the streets and say “why don’t they work and earn?”. We have degraded to such a level that we don’t even think for a split second why the children should be enforced into labour? This is the age to learn, develop and shape one’s self. Jayavel stands as a representative of those worn out souls with no food, clothes, shelter who are waiting for the light of education to dawn upon them. The light would inspire them, bring them hope and we will have more Jayavel in the country. Jayavel stands as an inspiration for everyone from the poor to the rich as an epitome of the strength of education, knowledge, and demonstration of “where there is a will, there is a way.”
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