Jayavel was the son of a farmer in the town of Nellore in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Due to drought conditions, his family had to abandon farming in Nellore and had moved to the city of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu in search of a livelihood. They took to begging on the streets to survive as they did not have enough money to find themselves a home and jobs!
“We used to sleep on the pavement. If it would rain, we would try to find a shelter in any nearby shop until the cops came and chased us out of there,” Jayavel told.
After his father’s death, Jayavel’s mother took to drinking. All of her hard-earned money which she had earned by doing coolie job was used to buy and drink cheap liquor. Just when all hope seemed lost, Jayavel met Mrs. Uma Muthuraman. Mrs Uma found Jayavel among the other street dwellers in an area in Chennai. She runs a trust called NGO, Suyam Charitable Trust with which she raises funds to educate the under privileged children. She and her husband made a movie on them by the name ‘Pavement Flower’, which was an instant hit in the theatres and helped them make a lot of money to fund Jayavel’s education. Jayavel has now become the talk of the town among the street dwellers of Chennai. He has got a chance to study advanced automobile engineering at Cambridge University.He has also been offered a seat at Glyndwr University in Wales to study ‘Performance Car Enhancement Technology Engineering’. For Jayavel, higher education is just a stepping stone to help accomplish his larger dreams. After finishing his studies, Jayavel plans to help in running the NGO and make a difference in the lives of many more street children in the years to come.
However, shockingly, Jayavel and his street community did not endorse Mrs. Uma and her husband at first. They had even tried to hurt them as they had thought that the couple was a fraud because they had so many people approaching them and under the pretext of helping, they would only loot the government’s funds. However, since the couple’s desire to help them was genuine, their attitude towards them soon softened and Mrs. Uma and her husband not only became a beloved member of their community but also helped transform the life of a street dweller called Jayavel who in turn will transform the lives of many other street dwellers. This act is a classic example of how a little kindness goes a long way and will enrich the lives of Mrs. Uma and her husband materially, spiritually and popularity wise. Read Startup Stories.