CHENNAI: Standing on what she calls her ‘home’ (a footpath on Wall Tax Road), Sangeetha now dreams of moving into a rented house. She firmly believes that her 70.2 per cent in class X State Boards, which includes a 96 in science, will take her to new heights and help her family in some way.
Sangeetha is not quite the run-of-the-mill 15-year-old. She studies under streetlights after returning from school — the Chennai High School at Elephant Gate. She loves to watch her favourite player Messi score a goal, and even teaches football to neighbourhood boys on Sundays. “We are scared to play football with her, she is that good,” the boys say with a laugh. Her mom and sister take pride in her achievement. The family of five has only one regular earning member, Sangeetha’s 20-year-old sister. “When my husband left us, we were forced to pull her out of school in Class 8 and she started going to work in a garment company. We hope we won’t have to do the same for Sangeetha,” says Selvi, her mother. The family subsists on `200 a day that the elder daughter earns, supplemented by an unsteady income of another son. Like Sangeetha, the younger son too goes to school.
Tuition classes conducted by the NGO Karunalaya have helped them improve, apart from introducing them to the world of football. “I want to become an IAS officer,” says Sangeetha.