Our first student is Amirtha Selvam
Amirtha comes from Karaiyur village and his father is a fisherman with no education. Amirtha is studying for a BSc in Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology at the St Joseph Autonomous College in Trichy.
Here's how he describes his opportunity.
"Greetings to all my beloved benefactors. I am on semester holidays for two weeks. I am with my family now. I haven’t seen any of you. I have no clue what you imagine of me. To make clear my position I would like to tell about my family and me. My father is a fisherman and my mother is a housewife. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. They both are at school. I did my schooling from class I to XII at St.Joseph’s higher secondary school in Rameswaram.
I had to under go tuff times during my school life. My dad was ill quite often years ago and he couldn’t go fishing regularly. As a result we were living in a poverty stricken condition for very many years. I did not even have enough money to buy school stationeries and note books. To manage the situation I started working in a tailoring unit after school. The pay I got wasn’t enough for the work I did. But I was in desperate need for the payment I was offered at that time. I bought the stationeries and managed my school expenses with my earning without disturbing my struggling parents. Since pay for mending the fishing net fetched decent income I learnt that and earned more than what I personally needed. So the excess amount went to help my family.
Bad luck came our way, the house we were staying in was completely burned to ashes in a major fire accident occurred on 8th October 2003. Having lost all our belongings we struggled to get to the normal life. It is then I completed class XII at St.Joseph’s higher secondary school. I thought my life’s ambitions were burned along with the fire accident. I did not realize it was going be a new beginning. It is at that time you came to help my family through SRUWRA. My brother, sister and I were provided with all the needed study materials to continue the schooling. I approached SRUWRA for guidance to further my studies. They couldn’t give me any immediate solution. They did not promise me anything. I was invited to work for PULSE in the free time. I took part in all the works of SRUWRA for a year. Interestingly I worked in the building site of SRUWRA office. I remember the English student Tom Nicholas too working in the building site along with me.
I didn’t realize that I was undergoing character test to become a worthy beneficiary of Pappa Fund through SRUWRA. I happened to meet Mr.John Lane in February, 2005. He wished me all the best for my future. It was shocking to learn about the ill-health of Mr.John Lane adding to that the news of his death just after a month I had seen him.
All that is happening in my life now is like a dream. I had not even dreamt of having a place in the college where I am in and the degree course I am doing. In no way I could have got this chance to get into this college. My family’s financial position would not have allowed me. I had no idea how to get to the college since I had not gone out of the island much. I did not even know much of the places in Rameswaram island until I started working for SRUWRA. I was a bit nervous to go to a big city and to meet new and modern guys in the college. Every thing looked new and big the streets, buses, trains, crowd, shopping malls, the life style and every thing except my own self. If not for SRUWRA’s reference letter I would not have even allowed to get a seat in the college and in the hostel. As I said before everything was like a dream happening for which I took no risk. One of the other things that confused me was the medium of language (English) in the class room. I thought I was going to get no where. I was raising lot of questions in me whether I was going to get through or not. Six months have passed; every thing is becoming easier and normal. I am getting timely advice and reminders from SRUWRA to do well in my college life.
At this juncture, remembering the great soul of Mr John Lane I also would like to thank every one of you who have taken effort to put me in the college. I realize that I am the first candidate benefiting from “John Lane’s scholarship programme”. I will do all my best to set an example for the rest of the beneficiaries of this project in the years to come. I wish you all an advance Happy Christmas and New Year on behalf of my family.
Yours with gratitude Heart"