I would like to narrate the story of Jayalakshmi akka who is my real-life Inspiration in this short article.
All kids have dreams in their life and not many take the steps to work toward making it a reality. Jayalakshmi akka a 12th std student is an exception about whom I am planning to write this article to showcase her achievements.
Jayalakshmi akka is a self-motivated student who hails from a small village in Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu. She lives with her brother and her mother who suffers from mental illness in a small worn-out house. Her father had separated from her mother when she was young, and this forced Jayalakshmi akka to be the sole breadwinner of her family. She works as a part-time employee in a nearby farm and as a tutor for younger kids in the village. The money she earns from this hardly meets the expenses to feed her family.
Jayalakshmi akka always dreamt of going to NASA to pursue her higher studies. However, she did not get an opportunity until she met with an extraordinary event in her life.
One day while she was returning from school it was raining heavily, she barely noticed a piece of newspaper floating in the puddle. The newspaper had an image of a girl in the foreground with a rocket in the background. Jayalakshmi akka being a space enthusiast was curious to read the news written in the newspaper. She took the damp newspaper to home, dried it and read the news article. She found that a girl in India has won a trip to NASA after winning a contest organized by Go4Guru. She was awestruck and jubilant to prepare for the contest and win the contest so that her dream can come true. She broke this happy news to her friends and family who were demotivating her by saying that the test is hard to crack for someone who comes from a Tamil medium school. Jayalakshmi akka being a go-getter was not prepared to give it up and spoke about this opportunity with her schoolteacher who encouraged her to take the exam. She devoted most of her time preparing for the exam.
The efforts she put into preparing for the contest did not go in vain and she cracked the online exam with 2nd rank which confirmed her selection for the NASA educational tour during May 2020. The trip did cost her a whopping sum of 1.5 lacs INR for the flight tickets to make it all the way to NASA. She got help and support from her friends, social workers, teachers, villagers who contributed towards the fund for the trip to NASA. However, the sum of money collected was nowhere close to 1.5 lacs INR. By this time, she was getting popular across the country as the news that she has cleared a national level contest broke as headlines in all the leading Newspapers, Magazines, Televisions and social media. This caught the attention of well-wishers and good-hearted Samaritans who offered money to support Jayalakshmi akka’s trip to NASA. Jayalakshmi akka got the funds she needed to travel. She was very grateful for the villagers and friends who came forward to help her.
After a couple of days, Gramalaya, an NGO also reached out to Jayalakshmi akka offering help to pay the expenses for the trip. Jayalakshmi akka was happy and truthful to say that she has got the fund she needed for the NASA trip. However, the Gamaleya team looking at her present living conditions offered 25 lacs INR to build a new house for her so that she, her brother and her mother can live happily. With a happy smile on face, she denied the offer politely by saying that we are happy in this house. She requested if the sum of 25 lacs can be spent for the villagers who offered their hard earned money for her NASA trip. The Gramalaya team asked Jayalakshmi akka how they could help the villagers for which Jayalakshmi akka requested the Gramalaya team to build toilets for 126 households in the village. The Gramalaya team happily accepted the request and built the toilets for the villagers.
In one of the recent interviews Jayalakshmi akka said that she has not visited NASA yet as the whole world was badly affected by Pandemic since 2020, and she is not sad that she could not make it. She is happy for the villagers who got toilets in their homes.
I wish that days are not too far for the pandemic to end and Jayalakshmi akka will soon fly to the USA and visit NASA to complete her educational tour. Wishing you the best for your future akka.
Sometimes life will have small events like this that will drive you to big achievements. Dream big and take efforts to make it a reality and wait for your turning point in life for your dreams to come true.
Written by : By Aryan A, Class 7, Amethyst International School, Chennai
Interviewed by : Hasini Lakshminarayanan