We often come across stories that triumph societal and financial barriers, and restore our faith in strength and willpower. A girl from rural Tamil Nadu — K Jayalakshmi, a class 11 student, just received an invitation from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and we couldn’t be more happy! Jayalakshmi, who solely supports her family’s finance at this age, is all set to visit NASA in May next year. This opportunity came knocking at the door when the student from Puddukkottai won an online competition. The girl studies in Tamil Nadu government school and had taken English coaching classes for a month, which helped her scoring ‘Grade 2’ and came up as best performer, The New Indian Express reported.

“APJ Abdul Kalam is one of my inspirations. As I studied more about space, my interest increased,” Jayalakshmi said.

Jayalakshmi takes care of her family and earns money by teaching tuition and selling cashew. At this early stage, she overtook the responsibilities of her mentally challenged mother and younger brother. While the downside of being able to afford a trip to NASA still worries her, a helping hand from the Collector is expected for her travel expenses.

Key Takeaways:

  • A class 11 student from Tamil Nadu, K Jayalakshmi will be visiting NASA in May next year. She won an online competition, and now the girl who is a Tamil medium student is invited to explore NASA
  • Jayalakshmi took English coaching classes for a month and scored ‘Grade 2. She was the best performer
  • Jayalakshmi is the sole breadwinner of her family. She takes care of her mentally challenged mother and younger brother

READ: Daughter Of Handloom Worker From TN Will Take Centre Stage At FIFA

Women can do anything

The school girl is working as a tutor for Class 8 and 9 students and selling cashews to make ends meet. Jayalakshmi is doing something one seldom finds women not doing.  The competition witnessed several participants and she is one of the few winners and the most hardworking one to win the opportunity to have a full tour of NASA and interact with astronauts. The winners will also be taken to places like Disney World. She studies science at the government high school in Adanakottai. The cashews-selling girl is breaking stereotypes to support her family. “When I was practicing for a carrom match, I saw a newspaper lying beside the board. It had a story about Dhaanya Thasnem, who won a chance to go to NASA last year. I was intrigued and immediately went home and registered for the exam,” she was quoted her as saying.

No matter what life throws at you, bounce back! There will be challenges in every step. Jayalakshmi, too, found it hard initially. But she became good at her job. She has also won numerous scholarships such as the National Means Cum-Merit Scholarship. Currently, she is looking for sponsors who would guide her to the trip to NASA. Travel expenses are likely to be around Rs 1.69 lakh, and Jayalakshmi is convinced that her victory will inspire others from government schools to take part.

Why she took up the job

“My father lives separately and sends money once a while. My teachers and students pitched in to help me get a passport. The passport officers also offered me Rs 500. I have requested the Collector to help me with expenses,” said Jayalakshmi.

Jayalakshmi is the sole breadwinner of her family. She takes care of her mentally challenged mother and younger brother

Talking about her first victory, Jayalakshmi expressed, “I want to make a rocket-like Abdul Kalam. No one from a government school has won this trip. I want to inspire government school students. If I can do it, so can they.”

The beaming principal said, “She is a very talented girl and has been winning several competitions. The sky is the limit for her.”

You go girl! The entire country if rooting for you, Jayalakshmi!

Good luck!

Feature image credit: The New Indian Express

Read More Stories By Ria Das

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