Tamilarasi, a thoughtful and studious 15-year-old from a small village in Tamil Nadu, South India, is well-equipped for her schooling with a backpack full of supplies.
In Tamilarasi’s village, girls her age are frequently pulled out of school to be married. Her life with her mother and two younger siblings is precarious because her father recently passed away in an accident. As a widow with no inheritance rights, Tamilarasi’s mother may lose their family home when her brother marries.
Tamilarasi worries about where her family will live once her uncle gets married. “Our life has become a question mark now,” she wrote in a thank you letter to the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (HRF), our Mission and Service partner in Chennai. “Questions haunt me and sometimes I’m unable to sleep.” The heartfelt letter was written in English, which she is learning from one of her favourite teachers.
When a representative from HRF visited Tamilarasi’s school, she gave a presentation on children’s rights to the students at a school assembly. Tamilarasi was surprised to receive the backpack as well. “The schoolbag was of good quality and spacious enough to carry all my books and notebooks,” she wrote. “I felt very happy.”
School supplies help to make it possible for youth like Tamilarasi to continue their studies. With support from Gifts with Vision, HRF provided backpacks stocked with school supplies to almost 500 Tamil Nadu children who live in poverty.
Tamilarasi draws strength from focusing on her studies. She is an excellent student and dreams of becoming a doctor, so she commutes a long distance to a better school. “I want to protect children like myself from diseases,” she explained. “I know I can’t afford to while away my time!”