More than a month back, Sreedevi of Poochukottamparai tribal settlement in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur, boarded the bus sent by Kerala government to attend her Class 10 exams. The only person in her tribal hamlet to attend a boarding school in Kerala’s Chalakudy town, Sreedevi has also become the first student in her hamlet to score 95% in the Class 10 board exams.
As the lockdown was announced in March, Sreedevi, who was studying at a residential school in Chalakudy, had to return to Poochukottampatti of Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tirupur district.
In Poochukottampatti, she faced a range of issues, including lack of electricity and no mobile network coverage, said a report. The lockdown even brought the transportation system to a grinding halt, making her commute to Kerala for writing the exams difficult. That was when the Kerala government came forward and arranged a bus for Sreedevi.
Travelling for more than six hours every day, Sreedevi has now scored A+ grade in the exam. “Three subjects were conducted during the lockdown. I was not aware of the exam schedule but the teachers of the school informed me. Following this, I went and attended the exam,” said Sreedevi, adding “My teachers helped me a lot and that is why I was able to score good marks.”
She loves Science and wants to become a doctor.
On Wednesday, the Tirupur forest department also felicitated Sreedevi.
Speaking to the media, Sreedevi’s father Chellamuthu said, “I had initially enrolled her in a school at Valparai but we didn’t like it due to some issues. However, in Kerala, we realised that people of our community were also studying. So I enrolled her in the residential school, which is over 320 kilometres away from our home.
Sreedevi travelled 320 kilometres to and fro to write her exams, “and I am proud that she scored well,” said Chellamuthu.
He said he could not send ‘his elder daughter to school as the community was not ready to accept it. “I wanted my elder daughter to study too, but since I could not do anything. Now I am trying my best to help my younger daughter complete her education,” added Chellamuthu.