23-year-old Marthal is currently an accountant at a BPO in Chennai. Her small stature and pleasant smile hide 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 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 were sure that she was going to change the way people looked at Vyasarpadi.
Marthal would not have reached this milestone, had she not been reenrolled in school by CRY project SCSTEDS when she dropped out in the 8th grade. The SCSTEDS method of intervention involves ensuring children stay in school and away from child labor and child marriage through soccer. And boy, did soccer work for Marthal! It helped her stay in school and seeing her potential, CRY pushed her to appear for the civil service examinations.
Unfortunately, while Marthal was preparing for the next round of exams, her father fell ill and she had to pause her dreams to ensure that her family had a steady source of income. While her work allows 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 can do well. Civil Services will be my way to prove this to the world!”
Here’s wishing Marthal all the very best
You can give more children like Marthal the chance at a brighter future. Donate to CRY by clicking here.
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India has an estimated 46 million children between 6 and 18 years of age who are not in school (source: RGI Census Population Projection 2016 and....