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Our annual fundraiser 2018 was directed towards raising funds for construction of a building and educational facilities for our children studying in The Swami Dayananda Rotary Matriculation School in Kadalur, Tamil Nadu.

We bring to you three stories of our children studying in the school, who have seen the worst of times through poverty and hunger and yet have not given up. They are brave hearts who fear not to dream and go-getters in the making. They are in their own missions of fulfilling their village – each one with their unique ambitions. For some it is to build a school or a hospital in Kadalur, a fishermen hamlet washed away due to the tsunami; for a few it is to support their families; a handful want to take up a white collar job and make Kadalur a prominent dot on the map of India.

P. Mukesh: Thirteen year old R. Mukesh studies in class 8 in the and hails from Veerattikuppam village, 55 km from the school. He lives at our Chatralayam within the same complex. Mukesh sees himself as an aeronautical engineer post his education. Mukhesh joined the hostel in 2017. His father is a farmer who had once told him, “I am a farmer and work on the ground, but I want to see you like a ‘gentleman’.” “What is a gentleman,” Mukesh had asked with curiosity. His father had replied, “You will wear a white shirt, black coat and a tie and everyone would respect you. People will stand up when you walk.” This has been lingering in Mukhesh’s mind and he dreams of walking and talking, like a ‘gentleman.’ His mother, a housewife does not know how to read or write but somewhere feels her son would make a mark.

Apart from academics, Mukesh is simultaneously interested in sports. He had won the 2nd position in discuss throw in the interschool competition held in Kadalur last winter.

J. Lokeswaran: The conversation began with J Lokeswaran, a class 8 student of the Swami Dayananda Rotary Matriculation School asking us if we had heard of Palayam village. The 15 year old’s life is limited between his school in Kadalur and home in Palayam, a distance of 187 km and he has never travelled outside this boundary. But he certainly knows that Palayam is still a place which is remote and unspoken. “I want security for myself, my family and my village. There is dearth of money. My mother says that only a government job can give security because even after you retire, one is eligible to avail pension,” says Lokeswaran.

Lokesh loves Maths and Tamil. His father, who is a farmer also dabbles into real estate in the local region that gives the much needed windfall earning. “My father works very hard to get that extra income and therefore we are little better off than many in the village. My friends in the village while away their time but my father has been a testimony of hard work. He is my inspiration,” shares Lokesh.

Lokesh won the 3rd position in the volleyball competition held at the zonal level. He is fast and sometimes furious. Lokesh wants to take up a government job and ‘set things right in his village’.

M. Gokilan: At 16, nothing else matters to Gokilan than sports. He has been living in the AIM for Seva Chatralayam, ?? right from his LKG. He gets up early morning before everyone to work out and run and then joins his other hostel mates for the morning prayers. Be it kabaddi, volleyball or athletics, he has won a lot of competitions since his childhood. Recently, he came 3rd in the zonal volleyball competition held in Kadalur.

Gokilan is a quiet boy. A little hesitant in class but he loves his school because each of them are encouraged to pursue their respective interests. “The physical education teacher gives me more attention in class. He also gives me tips on how to improve my skills.”

“My father is a farmer and I have grown up playing in the mud and basking in the soil. I love the brown colour earth and the summer heat. It makes me strong and fit. When I look at many other boys who are all ambitious, I can feel that my goal is different. I do not want to study maths or science; neither do I want to become a doctor or an engineer. But I want to bring name to my village too. I want to be a good sportsman,” reveals Gokilan.

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