Jayavel – The Journey From Begging on Chennai Streets to Studying at Cambridge

“The purpose of Education is to turn mirrors into windows”—says an online quote. Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow— Said, Anthony J. D’Angelo

So, whether it is online era or hardbound books era, the importance of education is indisputable.  Importance of right kind of Education is invaluable and remains invaluable throughout the life history of mankind. Parents often give their best to find right kind of school and education for their wards. But what if you have parents who beg on streets and are addicts of alcohol; can such children get the education and upbringing that is flourishing? Definitely, it is next to impossible proposition. Meet Jayavel, a youth who migrated along with his family from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai the capital of Tamil Nadu for livelihood and relied on begging alms in the city streets. Fortunately, he got mentors in the form of a couple Muthramans who met this boy and seeing a twinkle in his eyes admitted him to school funding his requirements and has today cracked prestigious Cambridge University entrance exams and is pursuing Higher education in Engineering at Italy.

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Childhood Trauma

Jayavel family is from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. His family couldn’t sustain severe drought as a result of which their crops failed and migrated to Chennai for livelihood. In Chennai, they were left with no option but to beg on the streets. He had lost his father at a very early age and had to support his mother and sisters. Unfortunately, his mother became an alcohol addict and resources gathered by alms could only suffice her drinking needs. Jayavel recalls his early days in Chennai where they used to sleep on footpaths and the rainy days used to be more traumatic as they had to look out for shelter in front of shops and had to flee away when police arrived at the site.

 Introduction to Muthraman Couple

While Jayavel was somehow managing life taking alms from public accompanied by a group of beggars Mrs. Uma Muthuraman and her husband Mr. Muthuraman met this team of street boys with the intention of making a project called ‘Payment Flower’. Their idea was to depict the life of such street-dwelling children to the society. Initially, Jayavel and his team members were adamant to obey that they even went to the extent of hurting them physically. But the couple had the abundant patience to pacify these children and finally won their confidence.

Jayavel particularly grabbed the attention of Muthuramans they convinced him and admitted him to a neighborhood school. They funded his schooling through Suyam Charitable Trust an NGO in the year 1999. Jayavel frankly admits that initially, he felt it was a torture to attend school moreover all his classmates knew that he belonged to begging community which was an embarrassment factor. Most of the time was spent playing rather than studying. But the dedication of Uma and Muthuraman transformed this boy to take up studies seriously.

Transformation from a street freak to a studious guy

Jayavel excelled in his studies and scored good marks in 12th standard. This prompted many social activists to provide interest-free loans for his higher education. He studied well to clear Cambridge University entrance examination and obtained a seat in Glyndwr University, Wales in the United Kingdom. He got admitted to a course on ‘Performance Car Enhancement Technology Engineering.’ The course provides training on how to enhance the performance of race cars. On completion of this course, he is pursuing further studies at University of Turin, Italy.

Behind the scene efforts of Suyam Trust

In total Suyam Trust has borrowed 25 Lakh rupees for Jayavel’s studies in London and Italy. Both the Muthuramans express their anguish about Govt. officials who show apathy towards such a noble cause. At the same time, they appreciate the help extended by few of the good-hearted officials in this mission. But they feel it is insufficient. Jayavel is just the role model for thousands of such beggars who are getting transformed by the efforts of this couple. They have helped hundreds of begging families by providing loans to buy autorickshaw.  Many small kids make a living by selling toys in the traffic signals instead of begging. Much more have got inspired by Jayavel and joined aviation; some are pursuing engineering; some are in nursing, and one guy has left to the Philippines to do aircraft maintenance course. The trust has succeeded in rehabilitating 95% of beggars they have come across. Muthraman couple is also happy that Jayavel has become the source of inspiration for many such children who have gained hopes in future and thriving hard to reach fulfill their dreams.

Jayavel has shared with media that his priority is to complete his studies abroad return back home and be part of Suyam NGO run by Muthuramans and pay back his debt to such noble people. He frankly admits that he is reluctant to meet his mother who is unwilling to give up alcohol addiction. Even when he visits her whenever he is in India, he hopes that he can take care of his sisters once he completes his course.

Abdul Kalam Fan Club is proud of Jayavel whose life journey depicts the importance of education to all the children of this modern era irrespective of the social circumstances in which they are brought up. Hope you will share this story with more peers and spread the message of positivity.

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