When he was young, auto driver Raja Sethi Murali’s parents could not afford to educate him . His father was an alcoholic, which left his mother with the sole responsibility of taking care of them. She did that by working as a daily wage labourer. The days she didn’t make any money, they slept hungry, the 45-year-old told The News Minute.
Not being able to go to school impacted Raja’s life so much that he vowed not to let this happen to other children. For about 10 years now, he uses the little income he makes to help academically sound government school children .
When the school year ends, he visits several such schools in Coimbatore to talk to the teachers.
“They help me identify the bright students who are from poor families. I buy them school bags, books and lunchboxes,” Raja told TNM. He spends about ₹1,700 on each of them. All his savings are spent on this, and as for him, he only has a mother to support, which he manages to do with the rent he gets from a property in Kuniamuthur.
“I started with just three children and today I am able to help about 150 students yearly from 32 government schools. If the students are able to score well in class 10, they will be able to do well in their future,” he adds. In 11 years, Raja has helped close to 1,300 students.
People who hear about what he does often extend support. Raja never thinks about saving for himself, for the sole reason that he doesn’t want well-deserving kids to lose out on studies because of poverty. “They have so much potential. They should have what I never did – education, food and a good future,” he said.