Published: 16th May 2018
TN boy's mother has been missing for 4 years but that didn't stop him from cracking his Plus Two boards
Sharath has not heard from his mother in five years, he has no idea whether she is even alive. Nevertheless, he's doing his best to make her proud.
Sharath Kumar was only nine when he was welcomed by Andrew Paul into the Home of Hope, a shelter home for boys. Paul had received a call about a child in need in Mamallapuram and he immediately made arrangements for the boy's rescue. When he met Sharath, he came to know that the boy had lost his father many years ago and lived with his mother.
Forced into poverty, Sharath's mother had been sitting outside a temple and begging for alms. "We got a call from the childline helpline about the child. The mother was glad that her son was finding a place to get an education and shelter and sent him with us," Andrew said. Today, almost nine years later, Sharath Kumar has successfully completed his Plus Two exams but unfortunately, his mother is not there to see it.
"When Sharath came to live with us, his mother would come to the home to see him. She came once every year, spent some time with him and then left. She visited annually for the first four-five years and then she abruptly stopped coming," Andrew said. After she failed to turn up for the next couple of years, Andrew's team set out to search for her last year, "We went back to the temple but they told us that she had passed away and that the government had conducted the burial. But we have no evidence of the same, so we are not completely sure if she passed away or is just missing. We have looked into Sharath's file but we have no contacts of any other family member," he said.
So far the last Sharath hasn't seen his mother and hasn't the slightest clue about whether she is even alive. However, despite these problems, Sharath has managed to score 725 marks in his exam after pursuing accounts stream in his plus two. He says he expected much more and had performed much better in his tenth board exams, "It was difficult because our teachers would be frequently shifted and we didn't have many teachers to teach us."
Sharath plans to pursue a management programme or hotel management for his degree, something he was advised to do by Andrew, "He's great at cooking, so I thought hotel management would be a real option for him. It's an industry that is always growing and there are a lot of opportunities to go abroad as well," he added.
The Home takes in orphans and children with only one parent. After their school education, the children are sent back to their families and the ones that don't have families continue to stay in the care of the Home, "We collect funds for their degree education and help them settle in their lives," Andrew said. "I want to pursue hotel management because I'm hoping that I will be able to get a job fast and then settle down in my life," Sharath said.
Seventeen-year-old Ezhilarasan M is from the same home and also managed to complete his Plus Two this year with a mark of 909 on 1200. He has been in the home since he was in Class six, "Initially I did not want to come but then my mother told me it would be better for me if I studied while I lived in a hostel. I wasn't too happy at first but now I am," he said with a smile.
Ezhilarasan lost his father too at a very young age, he, his mother and his two siblings have had it hard ever since. "The mother has very poor health and has tried to commit suicide twice because she has been unable to take care of her children. But Ezhilarasan is a very intelligent boy and has always worked hard despite his problems," Andrew said.
But with his performance, Ezhilarasan says his mother is thrilled. He now hopes to pursue a B.Com degree and is hoping to do Chartered Accountancy eventually.