CHENNAI: SHE was once a child labourer, who took a job for `20 at a prawns godown at Kasimedu due to family compulsions, but on Tuesday P Priyanka passed with flying colours in the class XII exams figuring in the top five best performers in her school scoring 789 marks.
“I never imagined that I would complete my school studies and go to college, its just like a dream come true,” Priyanka, a student of Theresa Girls Higher Secondary School, told Express with a great sense of satisfaction.
Priyanka had to discontinue her studies when she was studying in the 6th standard. She was forced to take a job as a daily wager as her father fell sick and could not earn enough for even one meal a day. Her kin was earning a meagre income selling fish at Kasimedu, which was not enough to maintain the family.
“If I peel one basket of prawns they would pay me `20. If I work from 10 am to 6 pm, I would manage to finish six baskets that will fetch me `120 per day. I would give the money to my mother. My hands used to turn red and burn like anything. The thorns prick and my skin would peel off. Every day, I used to come home and cry in pain. But poverty at home, made me tough and bear all the agony,” recollects Priyanka.
Priyanka did not realise what she was missing until Karunalaya, a centre for catering to the needs of street and working children stepped in and counselled her and her parents on the importance of education.
"I want to study law and become a good lawyer. This is my only dream,” she said.