SECOND-GRADE DROPOUT – TOPPED KERALA LITERACY PROGRAM AT THE AGE OF 108
Age is just a number if your desire is strong enough. True and this is proved by this 108-year-old Tamil Nadu native woman.
Kamalakanni is a 108-year-old woman from Tamil Nadu; was born in 1915 in a poverty-stricken family in Cumbum, Theni district. When she was in the second grade, Kamalakanni realized that she has to join her family in earning in order to earn some bread for them to feed on.
So, after her second class, Kamalakanni dropped out of school and made her journey to Kerala. She had to work in Kerala’s cardamom farms in Vandanmedu. Due to the family’s poor financial status, she had to continue working there for the following 80 years.
80 years of dreadful work in the fields; when all she can think about is studying, her family’s financial crisis chained her to the fields. Despite years passing by after her dropout, her desire to study never died.
Having seen hardships for 80 years, one day she finally asked her family members to get her enrolled in the Kerala state ‘Sampoornam Shastra’ program. This program by the Kerala government educates the senior citizens of the state.
In Sampoornam Shastra, they are taught to write their name and also to sign, this is one of Kerala’s innovative schemes to educate people. Kerala saw a great increase in the state’s literacy rate; in a recent survey by the National Statistical Office (NSO), it was revealed that Kerala state stands top among all the states with a literacy rate of 96.2 percent.
So, under the Sampoorna Shastra, Kamalakanni was educated and given access to schooling. Bringing back the curious student in her, she put effort into learning. Kamalakanni’s interest took her forward in this journey, but her hands from where the pen was taken away 80 years ago, did not support her.
Kamalakanni faced a little difficulty in holding the pen to paper, but nothing let her down. She worked her fingers to the bone to improve her writing in Malayalam and Tamil. Poverty and age were never her weakness, she turned them all into a stronger desire, and her hard work paid off when the results of the literacy program’s exams were released.
Kamalakanni scored 97 out of 100 in Kerala’s Literacy program, and guess what! Our 108-year-old aspirant topped the exam. Kudos to Kamalakanni for never giving up on her dream and congratulations on her victory.
Kamalakanni’s family expressed that they are very happy with her achievement and her grandson stated that Kamalakanni’s birthday which is in the coming month will be a grand celebration of her victory.
This story of hers will inspire many others to come forward and study, who could complete their schooling due to poverty. Share your thoughts on this and give your best regards to our 108-year-old champ.