'Bird's Nest' gives wings to dreams of pavement dwellers

Published: 17th July 2016 04:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2016 04:43 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Watching Vijay playing  an incorruptible lawyer in Thamizhan, Meghavannan L believed that he had found his calling. Years later, with 255 out of 500 in his tenth board exam, his plans have not changed.

Meghavannan was a pavement dweller who was rehabilitated under Equitas Holdings’ ‘Bird’s Nest’ programme and now lived on Wall Tax Road near Chennai Central. His mother, a housekeeper, makes `3,000 a month.

“My father passed away,” he said with a definite shake of his head. Ask him when, and he lifts up his head in thought, counting along his fingers.

birds.jpg“Three years,” he said and burst out laughing at his own forgetfulness. Meghavannan was one of the 12 kids who were formerly pavement-dwellers present at Equitas holdings to collect a cheque for their school fees this year. P N Vasudevan, Managing Director, said, “We have told them that we would take care of the money for their education. They can even come to our offices to study if the situation in their homes is not conducive. They only need to have the will to succeed.”

The beaming mothers who accompanied their wards took an oath to leave no stone unturned to fulfil their children’s dreams. “My husband left the family seven years ago. I’m a flower-seller and I make `200 on a good day. Thanks to people like them, my daughter can become whatever she wants to and that’s all I want,” said Kowsalya, mother of A Bavani, who scored 371.

The Chief Guest, C K Gariyali, IAS Retd, asked Bavani what she wanted to become while she was collecting her cheque. “A nurse,” she replied promptly.

Later, when asked about her unusual ambition, she said, “Actually, I wanted to become a doctor to serve people. But I thought about how my mother would pay the fees so I decided to become a nurse instead.”

On the other hand, Chandru. M, who scored a 332, said he didn’t like to think too much. “I’m going to become a software engineer so I can earn lots of money. That way, my dad would not have to work when he’s old,” he said, playing with the pink-framed sunglasses hanging from his pocket. Chandru’s father was a loader and earned an average of `6,000 every month.

John Alex, Program Director, said that the organization has rehabilitated over 800 families in the pavements of Chennai. The organization lends financial support to these families for the rentals in the first six months, he said.

Equitas Holdings focuses on providing financial services to individuals and micro and small enterprises. It is also among a handful Non-Banking Financial Companies in India operating in the used commercial vehicle finance business.

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