Jayavel : A Journey From Begging At Chennai Streets To Studying At Cambridge

Jayavel’s story is an inspirational one, he has become the talk of the town, Jayavel’s his family begs for a living, but the 22-year-old has got a chance to study advanced automobile engineering at Cambridge University.After crop failure in the 1980s, Jayavel’s farming family shifted from Nellore to Chennai in search of a living. Eventually, the family started begging in the streets of Chennai. “We used to sleep on the pavement. If it would rain, we would try to find other shelter in any nearby shop until the cops came and chased us out of there,” Jayavel told India Today in an interview.After his father’s death, Jayavel’s mother fell subject to alcoholism.

Most of his earnings were spent on alcohol. But all of this changed when he met Uma Muthuraman and her husband, they took Jayavel under their wing, Uma Muthuraman along with her husband Muthuraman were working on a project to depict the lives of children on the streets of Chennai. The couple planned to make a video story on them and named the movie ‘pavement flower’. As a part of their project Uma traveled to Kilpauk water tank area where they met Jayavel. “My people actually didn’t like them. We even tried to hurt them as we had so many people approaching us under the pretext of helping. But they only used our name to get government funds,” recollects Jayavel. These feelings changed as Jayavel’s family understood Uma’s genuine desire to help them.They took Jayavel under their own care in 1999. “Jayavel somehow inspired us.


After seeing him, we believed that we could help bring a change in his life with him.” Uma and Muthuraman through their NGO, Suyam Charitable Trust, helped Jayavel get proper education. Jayavelscored well in his 12th standard which allowed some donors to give interest free loan amount for his higher education. After that he cleared Cambridge University’s entrance examination and got a seat in Glendwr University, Wales, United Kingdom to study ‘Performance Car Enhancement Technology Engineering’, a course that deals with enhancing performance of race cars.Suyam Trust had already borrowed 17 lakh rupees for Jayavel’s studies in London.

And now for his higher studies in Italy would cost another 8 lakh rupees for which Muthuraman and Uma are running around to see that Jayavel’s education doesn’t get interrupted. “We struggle a lot. More than appreciation for our work, we only get harassed by the government. I am sorry to say but we have to admit it. Some honest officers are helping us but it is not sufficient”, shared Muthuraman. But the couple said that they will ensure that Jayavel leaves for Italy to complete his studies at the University of Turin, Italy.Jayavel’s mother still lives in the streets of T.Nagar with a torn mat and bundle of rags which she uses as a head rest. “If he becomes successful, he would definitely take care of his sisters and brothers.

Jayavel story

But I wish he never turns up like me. If I’m alive by the time he settles in his life, I would definitely like to go and stay with him,” smiled Saroja (Jayavel’s mother).Jayavel meets her once in a month as he doesn’t like her drinking habit.After the completion of his studies, Jayavel wants to come back and help Uma and Muthuraman in running the trust and try to pay them back for changing his life.

Read : Prithika Yashini – The First Trans Woman Sub-Inspector Of Tamil Nadu

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