With no assistance from the government to continue his social work, Jayakrishnan works as a scrap collector
For a 27-year-old Jayakrishnan, his dreams seemed to have come true when he visited Rajasthan in 2010 to receive his national youth award from Vice President Hamid Ansari at the National Youth Festival.
All the work he had done for his village by educating the people on the health issues and on environment preservation had finally paid off and he was rewarded. Jayakrishnan had studied in the Government ITI in Mettupalayam and he tried to find a job based on his qualifications. Without any assistance from the Government to find a job, he failed. He then approached the Government again for some help with a loan to set up a business and continue his public service, but this time there were no promises made.
Left with no other choice, he started working as a scrap collector in a small shop in his local village Pangur. When the work became scarce in the area, he started to look for work in town, he explains.
That was when he met Mariappan, who offered him a job as a scrap collector.
"Even though I know he is overqualified for the job, he said he could not find any other work so I employed him," Mariappan, the owner of the shop said.
Till date, Jayakrishnan continues to work in the waste paper mart, collecting, weighing and sorting waste paper and plastic for a living.
"On average, I make around Rs.100 day, and now I have a family to support. with a small son. When I won the national award, I never thought my life would end up this way. I thought my social service would be enough to be able to find a job. Now that I work six, sometimes seven days a week, I can no longer work with the youth in my village. With no means to run my family and no support from outside," he said.
Until recently, the shop owner did not realise that Jayakrishnan had been awarded a prestigious award from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
“If I had realised he had so many awards I would not have employed him but he said he has no other option,” he said. Until Jayakrishnan finds some other option, he will be forced to continue this line of work.