- 25 January, 2019
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23 year old Marthal is currently an accountant at a BPO in Chennai. Her small stature and pleasant smile hides a lot of what she has had to go through. While for many in her community of Vyasarpadi, the job of an accountant might be coveted, Marthal has bigger dreams.
The slums of Vyasarpadi have been infamous for crime and its decrepit status. For the longest time, children were an extension of the working class and girls who hit adolescence were bound to get married in order to “protect” them. In a community that still struggles with these issues and is at the brink of change, Marthal was a ray of hope.
Having passed the UPSC prelims, she, and the rest of her community was sure that she was going to change the way people looked at Vyasarpadi. Marthal, who dropped out of school in 8th grade was re-enrolled thanks to the interventions of Vyasarpadi Children’s Empowerment Project (VCEP); a grassroots NGO supported by CRY.
VCEP’s method of intervention involves ensuring children stay in school and away from child labour and child marriage through soccer. And boy did soccer work for Marthal! It helped her stay in school; VCEP was able to see her potential and push her to appear for the civil service examinations.
Unfortunately, while Marthal was preparing for the next round, her father who was the sole breadwinner of her family fell ill and Marthal had to place a pause on her dreams to ensure that her family has a steady source of income.
While her work allows for her to play only during the weekends, Marthal ensures that she doesn’t miss out on it since football helps her feel rejuvenated.
Currently her priority is her family and being there for them but she is sure that her dream of being a civil servant is only on hold for now. She’s going to make her dreams come true and change the image of Vyasarpadi. “While we have a notorious image across the city, we know that we care for the world. We can do well. Civil service is my tool to let the world know about this.”
Here’s wishing Marthal all the very best!