The 31st anniversary function of the Sivakumar Educational Trust was held today at the Film Chamber office in Anna Salai in Chennai. The trust that was started 30 years ago by the veteran actor with a very small capital has now grown into a big organization supporting numerous students from various sections of the society in their education. The trust is now jointly run by Sivakumar and sons Surya and Karthi.
Today’s function was held in order to distribute financial aid to 55 students drawn from different parts of the state. They consisted of students from remote areas who were unable to continue their education for lack of funds, differently-abled students, Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and top rankers who required financial aid for further studies.
Speaking at the function, Sivakumar recalled his childhood struggles. He said that his sister had to drop out of primary school because of hardships in the family. He too would have struggled to go to college had his uncle not provided timely assistance.
Surya said that this function was not organized for the sake of publicity. Many people give up their struggle for education without being aware of the many avenues of help that were available. This function was organized only to let more and more people know about such an opportunity so that they could avail it. He also said that there were many others in society who were doing great services. There needs to be more awareness about such services so that no needy person is left empty handed.
The most touching part of the function was when some students came forward to speak about their lives. The words of some of the refugee students touched everyone’s hearts. A student said that he did not even know whether his father was still alive and that he had no place else to go or no one to approach; this aid is nothing less than a boon to him. Another student said that even in spite of scoring very high marks, those from refugee camps were being turned down by colleges for unknown reasons. But, this financial assistance may help them overcome that.
Another beneficiary of the trust said that she was inspired by this assistance and wanted to make it big in life so that she can provide similar help to those who are struggling for a good education.
Equally inspiring was the story of one of the state’s top rankers from the refugee camp at Otthankottai in Dharmapuri district. This student was unable to secure admission in spite of his marks due to extreme financial crisis and refugee status. After applying through the Agaram foundation run by Surya he is now an MBBS student in SRM Medical College. Four other students with high marks were given admission to the SRM Engineering College. All their educational expenses will be borne by the institution itself.
The function also saw the launch of the English version of Sivakumar’s book ‘Idhu Rajapattai Alla’. The book has been translated into English by popular journalist Malathy Rangarajan who was also present at the function. Speaking about the book, Suriya said that it reflected all the struggles that his father had faced in life.
Everyone present was left emotional and inspired at the end of the function. It was a day when the plight of many deserving students was brought to light, but it was also evident that all that is required is a helping hand, not too much, for them to rise above circumstances and achieve great things. The helping hand could come from anywhere; today it was the Sivakumar Educational Trust that lent it to 55 students. We wish the bearers of the trust the very best and pray that their endeavors and services reach out to even more people in the future.