Single mother to three daughters, this Irular woman is determined to overcome destiny with education
32-year-old M Krishnaveni restarted schooling with her teen daughter aiming for a govt job and passed Class 10 this year making her kids proud
VILLUPURAM: The rocky village road in Villupuram’s Keezhmalaiyanur reminds M Krishnaveni of her long struggles. The Irular woman has always walked the road for all the 32 years she has been alive, and still, she remains ever so steady on her way.
Being a single mother raising three daughters after her husband abandoned her for ‘birthing another daughter’ wasn’t easy. At the end of a long struggle to get out of a precarious economical position, she picked up a job as a daily wage worker. Krishnaveni decided to overcome her destiny by restarting the very school education she had abandoned at the age of 13, and joined Class 10 at Murungapakkam government higher secondary school in 2022.
“Due to my circumstances, I approached several authorities seeking government employment, but to no avail. It was then that I realised the necessity of passing Class 10 examinations,” she says. A gleeful Krishnaveni says, “My eldest daughter, Kavitha, was studying in the government higher secondary school in Dharapuram. I decided to join her school and complete Class 10. I started attending classes along with my daughter, at home. In the morning, Kavitha goes to school, but work prevents me from attending classes.”
When her daughter came home in the evening, she would sit with her and discuss what was taught in school, especially English and Mathematics. “I will tell her what I studied, and she will tell me what she learnt. That’s how we both studied. When exams were approaching, we prepared together, and both of us managed to pass all of them. I scored 206, and Kavitha scored 296,” the proud mother says.
Their story, however, does not end there. Kavitha is suffering from a rare cardiac ailment that requires periodic medical care. “We are unable to comprehend the disease. We go to the Olakkur government hospital once every 21 days. It’s challenging to manage Kavitha’s treatment and take care of the family,” says Krishnaveni. The mother still sees light at the end of the tunnel. She believes that passing Class 10 will fetch her a dignified government job after which she can treat Kavitha and take care of the rest of her family.
Nearly 16 years ago, Krishnaveni thought her life would be beautiful with her husband, Mohan. “But little did I know how it would all turn out, as my husband wanted a male child but we birthed three daughters. Frustrated over it, he left us and went in search of a different companion, about 10 years ago. From then on, I have been raising my daughters at my mother’s house here.” She had taken up all kinds of daily wage jobs, from cleaning houses to agricultural labour, earning around Rs 100- Rs 150 per day.
“My parents tend to goats and provide the support they can. But still the going remains difficult. The income from daily wage work does not fulfil my family’s needs,” she adds. In her words, “Even if my children study in government schools, buying them notebooks, stationery, uniforms, all of it does turn into a significant expense. Therefore, if I manage to land a government job, it would greatly help in securing the future of my children. We are tribals and it is a known tale of our struggles in accessing education and a dignified life.”
Apart from narrating her personal struggles, she advocates for the rights of her community, the Irulars. “There is a pattern of discontinuation as far as education is concerned in my community. The government providing employment to those who have minimum educational qualifications will not only benefit me, but create an opportunity for so many others from my community and they would look upon education with hope and admiration,” she states firmly.
The eldest daughter Kavitha told TNIE, “My mother’s Class 10 results are a matter of great pride for me. Everyone in our village spoke highly of my mother’s achievement. Taking this into consideration, if the government provides her work, it would greatly help us.”
(Edited by Suriya B)