Ponmanidevi, a native of Erode started working as a tamil teacher in 1964. She was married to a fellow tamil teacher, Varadhappan, and the couple had a kid. Unfortunately, both her husband and her child passed away in a span of few years and she was heartbroken.
Looking for purpose in life, Ponmanidevi started helping students in any way she can. The only objective was to ensure that no obstacle came in the way of learning. The now 80-year-old has spent most of her savings and properties in her quest to achieve this mission.
Ponmanidevi taught tamil in a government school for three decades before retiring as a headmistress in 1990s. Talking about the unexpected deaths of her family members, she said,
Both and my husband and I have always been passionate about tamil. My husband was also working as a tamil teacher. And after my husband and son died, I felt heartbroken. I started looking for answers in spirituality.
Over a period of time, she realised that the only meaningful way to spend her life savings was by helping children get education. So Ponmanidevi started helping by either donating money or giving away her property for the cause she believed in.
In 2005, she gave away 25,000 sq ft land for building of a hostel in Chithode for children from underprivileged community. And a few years later she donated Rs 2 lakh for upgrading a school in her native, Erode.
Recently, when she heard about the same school needing land to build classrooms so that they could accommodate more children, she offered to help without much hesitation. She gave away one acre of land to the school and the land is estimated to be about Rs 4 crore. Talking about her mission in an interview with YourStory, she said,
I am not worried about the worth of the land or the amount of money I could earn from it. The reason I am giving away my land is to make sure that each and every child gets a fair chance at education, which the children rightfully deserve. And as long as I am alive, I want to be helpful to people.
The new building to be constructed in the Chithode school is going to be named after her son - Mayura Karthikeyan and she was honoured for her contribution by Tamil Nadu's Education Minister K. A. Sengottaiyan.
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