“I am willing to work as a domestic help or even a cleaner—any job that will provide me with a stable livelihood to look after my family. But because of how I look, no one is willing to hire me,” says KV Preethi.
A native of the Chelakkara town in Kerala’s Thrissur district, Preethi was born with a severe case of Ichthyosis, a rare skin condition that causes dryness and a scaly appearance.
While Preethi has been through multiple treatments for her skin, including both Ayurveda and allopathy, the condition causes her skin to peel bringing with it agonising pain, during the summer.
“My condition is such that I must not be exposed to heat, as that causes my skin to peel, and eyes to water, along with intense body pain. But more than that, it is the mental agony that I’ve endured all my life, which is even more debilitating,” says the 30-year-old to The Better India.
Preethi comes from an extremely impoverished background. Her mother, who used to work as a coolie labourer, was the family’s sole breadwinner.
“Her meagre wages used to run our household as well as fund my treatment. Now she is old and is physically incapable of doing any laborious activity. My brother, who is still studying, had to take up jobs to feed us and also for my treatment. Our situation was deplorable, and I wanted to help out too. That’s why I began to look for jobs,” she says.
Preethi had to drop out of school after Class 10 because of her poor financial background. While she has faced severe ridicule and humiliation while growing up, people in the region have also come forward to help with the cost of her treatment, which is quite expensive.
“The past treatments have brought me a lot of relief. With my educational qualifications, I know that I cannot expect jobs in the formal sector, but thanks to these treatments, I can do simple household or cleaning jobs which require less effort and don’t cause me any pain,” says Preethi.
Recently, her heartbreaking story was covered by local media, which seemed to have brought in some traction.
Also, a social worker named Sushant Nilambur organised a crowdfunding campaign for Preethi’s treatment that managed to raise around Rs 50 lakhs in 10 days.
“I’ve been told that people have made generous contributions to fund for my treatment, which will be resumed soon. I’m really grateful for the compassion that these kind-hearted folks have shown. But still, there has been no call for employment—something that I’m desperately hoping for,” she mentions.
One thing that Preethi has been steadfast about is to withhold information about her family, as she feels that her mother or brother should not face humiliation or become victims of gossip because of her.
Despite having faced severe hardships throughout her life, Preethi comes across as a very humble and soft-spoken person. She and her family deserve better, and we can all come together to help her— by arranging a paying job for her. She has already received sufficient funds for her treatment, job opportunity would bring stability and dignity to her life.
For any job opportunities, you can reach out to Preethi at 9526523172.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)
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