Laxmidevi – 41st Batch – GuestCare (GCH)
‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt.
Laxmidevi hails from the Anantapur district in AP. I have spoken to quite a few successful Unnati students from that district, but Laxmidevi came across as someone very unique. To start with, she said her mother tongue was Lambadi. She was comfortable talking in telugu, and was scared of her English, so we decided to switch to hindi if either of us had a difficulty during the conversation. But there was no requirement for that as Laxmidevi was very clear in her communication and there was a sense of genuineness in everything she said.
Laxmidevi’s parents are daily wage farmers. She is one among six daughters born to her parents. Laxmidevi’s father passed away when she had just completed her sixth standard. By then, two of her eldest sisters had been married off. Her mother was the sole bread winner of the family, and imaginably, with a lot of struggle, got her other 2 daughters married off. Laxmidevi had decided to help her mom as her mother had no way of funding her education. So while her mother toiled at the farm, Laxmidevi worked in what she calls a “big house” in her village. This she did for 12 years, and was paid around Rs. 3000 a month when she last worked there.
Laxmidevi and her mother decided that at least one of the sisters must be given good education (they could afford only one person’s studies). So the youngest sister in the family resumed school, and is now pursuing her degree.
Sometime in late 2013, Laxmidevi got to know of Unnati through two different people in her village. One of them was a family friend and the other a student at Unnati.
Laxmidevi joined the 41st batch at Unnati, and says there has been no looking back ever since. She joined the guest care vocation, and hails the staff at Unnati and the course itself for her transformation. She says she had no specific likes (of subjects, best things learnt etc) and in general she enjoyed every moment spent at Unnati. She says every single moment was a learning experience at Unnati.
Out of the 5 students who joined from her village, she mentioned that 4 of them quit the course for various reasons. Laxmidevi was confused whether to pursue or not but stuck on and is thankful today to the staff at Unnati who urged her to stay on and witness the transformation herself.
Laxmidevi was selected by Manipal Hospital (Main) in Bangalore to do her course practicals. From the feedback given by the Manipal staff to her trainers at Unnati, she knew that she had done a good job at the practical sessions.
Since they were extremely satisfied with Laxmidevi’s performance, Manipal Hospitals selected Laxmidevi for their in-patient-food-service department, even without a formal interview. She meets numerous patients everyday and deals with their mood swings and attitudes , with care and compassion.
She started working in March, and in a period of 6 months, has already received two ‘excellent’ feedback notes and two service excellence awards in Manipal. These awards have also translated into monetary benefits, and Laxmidevi now earns Rs. 7500 a month. She says the experience and exposure is worth thousands more!
On a concluding note Laxmidevi said that Unnati has changed her life. In her own words, “If Laxmidevi, a sixth standard dropout from a village in Anantapur can achieve so much in life because of Unnati’s course and guidance, how much can more educated youngsters benefit!!”
Roosewelt’s quote would be apt here “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” We wish Laxmidevi the very best in her career, and hope she inspires many more youth who will benefit immensely from the Unnati Program.
Contribution by Sukanya Kuppuswamy ( volunteer )