Opinion

Journey of this beggar from Chennai streets to Cambridge is truly inspiring!

The quote “stars can’t shine without darkness” comes across as a plain and blunt statement for most of us. Of course, it’s casual to dismiss something that shares a remote connection with our emotions and being. However, not for Jayavel who has beaten all odds to become an inspiration for us.

 How many of us can imagine that a street dweller can live a life beyond the mundane, leave alone going abroad for higher education? While the answer is an unsaid truth, 22-year old Jayavel has become a celebrity for the masses. The story of this Chennai street dweller seems to have captured everyone’s attention. As amazing as it sounds, this ordinary boy is now a student of automobile engineering at none other than one of the world’s most prestigious universities, the Cambridge University in the UK.

 His journey from the streets of Chennai to the classrooms of Cambridge has struck a chord with the masses. He has become an eternal hope for other street dwellers who now look up to him as a role model and one who never gave up despite the odds. He is the mascot of change who managed to successfully transition from the darkness of Chennai streets to the light of  Cambridge.

 Jayavel has battled his share of struggle. After crop failure in 1980s his family was forced to move from Nellore to Chennai, in hope of finding new means for survival. However, they were plunged into the darkness of begging to make ends meet. He slept on the pavements with his family and supported them to make a living. After his father’s death, his mother took to alcohol and most of his earnings was spent on buying her alcohol.

 His destiny took a turn for good when he met Uma Muthuraman. Uma and her husband Muthuraman decided to help Jayavel. This benevolent couple even tried to document their story in the form of a short film titled Pavement Flower.

 Uma and Muthuraman were treated with callousness initially as Jayavel and his people found it hard to trust their intentions. Bitter experiences of the past in the guise of help had forced them to doubt the couple. Uma and her husband genuinely wanted to help Jayavel and it is this legitimate desire, which landed Jayavel an opportunity that only a chosen few get! Finally, in the year 1999 Jayavel was taken into the fold under their NGO named Suyam Charitable Trust. Thus, curating a successful path and the beginning of Jayavel’s marvelous journey to Cambridge.

After excelling in his twelfth grade, Jayavel successfully cleared the entrance exams conducted by Cambridge University. He was then offered a seat at Glendwr University in Wales. He is now pursuing Performance Car Enhancement Technology Engineering.

 Jayavel dreams big and believes in himself. Higher education is the next step to strive big and accomplish his dreams. He wants to come back to India after completing his education to help the NGO, which scripted a new history in his life. Helping other street children transform their lives is perhaps his way of saying Thank You!

 We wish Jayavel all the success in his future endeavors. He truly inspires many.


Sakshi Mattoo

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