Priyanka’s Story – In her own words

India Direct is supporting Priyanka and her family through the Covid-19 Pandemic. Here is her story, in her own words.

My Name is Priyanka and now I’m 19 years old. I live in a small town in Southern Tamil Nadu. I was born in a small family below extreme poverty line. My mother died after 4 days of my birth and in six months time my father died due to heart attack. I have a sister who was 1 year old when I was born. And as toddlers, we were considered unlucky because our parents died. No one wanted to take care of us. Soon they sent my sister to an orphanage and I was left alone. And when they wanted to send me to an orphanage, one grandmother from my father’s side fought for me and said she will take me into her home. Thus I got a family.

My grandmother, though poor, had a good heart to accept me in her home. Now she is 60 years old and stills works as a coolie [labourer] for 5 days in a month, and earns Rs.120 per day, which is not enough for our 3 meals a day for 4 of us. Hence we starve for many days. When there is no work and income, we borrow money for food, and we have to repay when we get a work. I was malnourished, quiet, withdrawn and depressed. Due to many sufferings in childhood, I became a very reserved person, I had trouble talking or mingling with others.

We lived in a small thatched hut 100 sq ft. It has only one room and we cook outside the hut with sticks and twigs we gather around. In that small thatched hut,  4 of us will sleep and we also keep our belongings in it. We do not have electricity in the hut and the roof is damaged, leaking during rain so we keep small vessels to collect the rain water. We don’t have a door for our hut, we just hang a sari. Sometimes it’s scary, because small insects, snakes etc. can crawl inside and hide in our shelter. It is dangerous.

When we were struggling to live in the middle of merciless poverty, very soon we fell as a prey to debt. Grandmother was not able to provide the basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothes and education. At this situation, when I was 14 years, I joined the children’s home.

My colourful life began here. I was 14 years old when I came to children’s home. I was excited with each and every thing I saw and felt. I was happy to start this new life, in new surrounding with so many new faces. I felt comfortable with peace of mind.

Back in the village, I have felt a social outcast, which hurt me a lot. I have felt loneliness and resentment. But here life was a new beginning. I got good friends, I can trust people. There are good people in my life now. I’m happy. I’m healthy at heart, mind and body. My life changed. I’m now studying  in 3rd year Bachelor of Commerce in Corporate Secretaryship. I’m going to complete my UG this year. I want to get a government job in the banking sector. I want to take care of my Grandmother.

In this pandemic period, I’m staying with grandmother and being helpful to her. My grandmother does not get work now, and our family survives with the rice and provisions we get from our charity. We are very thankful to you all for thinking about us and helping us at this difficult time of our lives.

I take this opportunity, to thank all my sponsors for supporting me. This is my story. I’m happily saying today, there are so many good hearts behind this story, who sponsored to bring good change in my life. And not only me, they are changing the life’s of many little boys and little girls like me.

Thank you all for reading my story and wish me good luck for my future.

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