Vijayalakshmi Devarajan knows how difficult it is for a woman to be a single parent because she herself took up the challenge 20 years ago when it was not common for women to undertake the responsibility of being single mothers. Having gone through it, she wanted to equip other women to be better at single parenthood. After two decades of helping underprivileged women, she became one of the eight women from Tamil Nadu to have lunch with the president for her contribution to the society.
Vijayalakshmi was 19 years old when she lost her mother, who was her pillar of strength. She then had to give up her dream of becoming an IAS officer and start working. Yet, she grew up wanting to help people in whatever way she could. Even when she just earned enough to make ends meet, she ensured that she bought food for at least five people every day, and this is something she follows even today.
Married at the age of 28, Vijayalakshmi had to leave her husband right after her kid was born. While bringing up her child as a single mother, she met women like her who weren't as strong, who felt dejected and had nothing to hold on to. At such times, Vijayalakshmi gave them courage and motivation just by talking to them. When she realised the healing power of words, she took up counselling.
What started as an initiative to help women from low-income groups has now expanded to thousands of people from all walks of life. She gives motivational speeches to everyone, from college students to corporate professionals.
Apart from that, she never says no to anyone who approaches her for any kind of help — be it finding a blood donor to paying an underprivileged kid’s college fee. She is looking forward to the day when every village will at least have one functional counselling hub.
For her contribution to the society, Vijayalakshmi was selected as one among the 100 women achievers awarded by the Women and Child Development Ministry. She also had lunch with the president as part of the team of eight women from Tamil Nadu for being a woman achiever.
Read this in Tamil.