GEM FROM LABOURER TO SOFTWARE ENGINEER
Chantamma worked as a labourer till the age of nine. Today, at the age of eighteen, she is doing Engineering in the prestigious Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Nuzivid, and Andhra Pradesh. On asking how she achieved this feat, she only blushes! “It.s all due to Don Bosco Navajeevan, Vijayawada and Fr. Thomas Koshy” She was born in a small village of Chigudipadu in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. Her father Kantha Rao and mother Lakshmi Kandamma were both agricultural labourers. They belonged to the Madiga community (traditionally engaged in shoe making). Chantamma was the youngest of the three daughters of her parents. They lived in a small house allotted to them by the government under the housing scheme. They had no land of their own. Since her father often suffered from ulcers and her mother got frequent attacks of migraine headache, they could not go for work regularly.
As a result, Chantamma had no time to go to school. During the anti-child labour campaign in 2002 at Chigudipadu Village, She came in contact with Ms. Syamala, a social worker and ex-staff of Navajeevan. Ms. Syamala convinced her parents to educate the girl at Chiguru, Navajeevan. At Navajeevan, Chantamma was admitted to the residential Bridge Course for girl children called Sethu. She had to begin with the alphabets. Navajeevan kept providing all the necessary support towards her education. She was a very quick learner and a rank holder every year. Finally, in 2011, in Class X, she gave a stunning performance, scoring 547 marks out of 600. On the basis of Government Scheme for meritorious rural students of SSC, she grabbed the opportunity to make her entry into prestigious Indian Institute of Information Technology, Nuzvid, Krishna District, on scholarship.