Three years after S. Anitha of Kuzhumur in Ariyalur district ended her life, unable to get a MBBS seat through the National Eligibility- cum-Entrance Test (NEET), the dream of another girl hailing from the village of studying medicine has become a reality.
Daughter of daily wage earners Shankar and Dhanalakshmi, S. Soundarya will fly to the Philippines to pursue medical education, free of cost, at the Davao Medical Education School Foundation, thanks to a private sponsor. Besides the expenditure for her education, her boarding, food and transport expenses during the period of her study will be sponsored by Transworld Educare Private Limited.
Soundarya’s ambition to become a doctor came to be known to Anitha’s brother S.A Manirathnam, who is running a charitable trust in memory of his sister at the village. “The medical institute’s office at Mahabalipuram near Chennai, which wanted to help a poor girl pursue medicine in memory of Anitha, got in touch with me. That was when I told them about Soundarya’s ambition and her poor economic background,” said Mr. Manirathnam, managing trustee of Dr. Anitha Memorial Charitable Trust.
A representative from the institute in Chennai came to Kuzhumur a few days ago and interacted with Mr. Manirathnam and Ms. Soundarya to ascertain the girl’s wish.
Ms. Soundarya, who had completed Plus Two in a higher secondary school at Kuzhumur with 410 out of 600 marks, said she was sceptical about her chance of studying medicine owing to her economic background and she might be at a disadvantage because of the NEET. Soundarya’s family runs on the wages earned by her parents and her elder brother, who works in Chennai as a labourer after completing Plus Two. Her elder sister is pursuing electrical and electronics engineering at a private college near Tiruchi.
“I had almost decided to take up law or some other degree course when this opportunity came knocking at my door,” she said, thanking Mr. Manirathnam for the help and motivation. “I see an Anitha in Soundarya and want her dream of becoming a doctor is realised,” Mr. Manirathnam said.
A ‘Free Education Certificate’ from David K Pillai, founder and CEO, Transworld Educare Private Limited, was handed over to Ms. Soundarya a few days ago. Mr. Manirathnam said the trust that he runs has been extending financial support to a girl student from Jayamkondam in Ariyalur district, who is studying medicine, and to a few others.