11-year-old Andhra boy turns breadwinner as COVID-19 claims mom’s job

Now with no school due to Covid-19, and with little demand for the tiffin his mother cooks to sell, the boy has been going door-to-door selling fruits and vegetables.

Published: 06th September 2020 08:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2020 08:40 AM   |  A+A-

Sudharshan selling vegetables in Anantapur district.

Sudharshan selling vegetables in Anantapur district. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

ANANTAPUR: A gutsy 11-year-old from Gooty in Anantapur district has been selling fruits and vegetables to support his family as his mother was rendered jobless by the coronavirus crisis. Sudharshan has been lending a helping hand to his mother from when he was nine years old, as his father had passed away when he was just 13 months old. Though he went around selling tiffin, he never missed school.

Now with no school due to Covid-19, and with little demand for the tiffin his mother cooks to sell, he has been going door-to-door selling fruits and vegetables. He has been supporting his mother Sujatha financially after noticing how she toils to ensure they get two square meals every day.

Sujatha used to run a tiffin centre from their house and also work as a daily wage labourer to support Sudharshan and his four elder sisters, three of whom are now married. Before going to school, Sudharshan used to go door-to-door from 6 to 9 am to sell his mother’s idlis and dosas, and after school, he would go out to sell vegetables.

I don’t want to skip school: A’pur boy

However, since the lockdown was enforced in March, Sujatha has been struggling to find work and sustain the family. The tiffin centre had to be shut due to the restrictions, and even regular customers showed no interest in buying their food. Around the same time, Sudharshan’s eldest sister lost her husband and returned to her maternal home with her two children.

This caused Sujatha great distress, as not only was her eldest daughter widowed at a young age, but she also had three more mouths to feed.“What option do I have? My son, at this tender age, is supporting the family by selling vegetables. I am sad, but there’s no other way. I just pray that God allows me to educate my child,” she said.

Sudharshan, meanwhile, is courageous and hopeful, as the demand for his fruits and vegetables is growing day by day. He uses his cycle to travel and sell the produce between 6 am and noon. In the evening, he goes out again to sell whatever is left.

“I took it upon myself to support the family as my mother could not continue her work due to the lockdown. I desire to study and play with children of my age, but our family’s condition does not permit it. However, I’m more worried about what would happen when school reopens. I don’t want to skip school,” Sudharshan said.


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