CHENNAI: Born into a poor family, where two square meals were a luxury, Selvam’s task was cut out for him: either earn or learn. He chose the latter. He was a rag-picker, before being rescued from the streets.
He had got so out of sync with the books that he had to undergo academic training for three whole years before he could even be admitted to mainstream, at the Government Boys’ Higher Secondary School in Perundurai. “Selvam persuaded over a dozen child labourers in his locality to join the [National Child Labour Project] centre,” said his proud teacher, K Kalaivani. The boy passed the examinations with 319 marks. Similarly, children rescued from child labour put up a good show this year. A total of three girls who were rescued and given the gift of education were all successful.