Maruthavalli’s father passed away when the flu hit her family’s village. Her mother, grieving for her late husband, abandoned her elder girl child and took off with her younger son.
Maruthavalli was barely 8 years old when she was left behind. A villager found Maruthavalli alone in the house, crying in the corner, two days after her mother left. He immediately contacted her family and an uncle of Maruthavalli took her home. She was barely conscious from all the crying, fear and lack of food.
Maruthavalli is now 12 years old and still lives with her uncle. He decided it was best she grow up in a place away from all the memories of her father and mother. For the first 4 months after her father’s death she acted as if all was well, but then she started withdrawing from her family. She started having nightmares and would wake up screaming in the middle of the night. Her uncle was worried about both her mental and physical health as she started growing thinner with each passing month.
One of Tripura Foundation’s HoPE Learning Center teachers met Maruthavalli and offered her help to study. Maruthavalli started at our HoPE Learning Center in Madurai about a year ago. At first, she was always on her own, doing her own homework, withdrawn into herself. She rarely showed any kind of emotion.
Other children at the Center approached Maruthavalli, made friends with her, and she gradually started interacting. Her uncle was brimming with happiness the very first day Maruthavalli came home smiling from the Center. He immediately approached the teachers and the children and thanked them for helping his niece.
To this day, even though Maruthavalli has an amazing academic performance and is happy and content with her life, she still aches for her mother. She still goes back to her old self anytime someone brings up her mother – she resorts to sitting in a corner until she calms down herself enough to allow outside help. Both the teachers and her friends are helping her understand her life now and keep her happy. Even though there is still a long way for her to fully come to terms with her life, Maruthavalli has decided she wants to help other children who have suffered like her. She says she would like to earn enough money to help others.
She also says that she is very thankful for the teachers who found her and her friends who make her happy. She says she is ever grateful to the sponsors of Tripura Foundation for the HoPE Learning Center she attends, as well as the evening snacks, which have helped her gain a healthy weight. She feels that the HoPE Learning Center is one place where she feels like home.