Nagaveni

 2016

I'm the third of five sisters born to a family of weavers. My parents didn’t make a lot of money and whatever little they generated would go into our livelihood and my father’s alcohol addiction. My mother was mentally challenged, often forgetting to even feed us. That, and my father’s absence, meant that we were on our own. My two older sisters were soon married off and I worked as a maid when I was only 10 years old but we were quickly spotted by some men in our village and put into Aarti Home.

I had a great interest in learning. I began with only learning material skills like tailoring and working at the beauty parlor to help build my skill set, but as I saw the younger children learning, my interest increased. I started to borrow textbooks from the younger children and read after I was done with my work. I learnt to take notes for myself and after a while I was very determined that I was going to be fully educated.

With a lot of encouragement from Sandhyamma and the teachers, I passed my tenth grade with flying colors. Not having expected that, it motivated me even more. I finished my high school with a distinction certificate and decided to apply to college too.

I’m now the Project Officer for the Mana Bidda Project (aimed at the betterment of girls’ lives and the social abolishment of female foeticide and infanticide) and I can proudly say that I got myself here. I hope to continue my work as a social volunteer and help more families.