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Meet Jayavel, a beggar who grab a seat at Cambridge University

Chennai: From begging on the streets of Chennai to study at Cambridge University, 22-year-old Jayavel is an inspiration for all.

Back in the 1980s, after a failed crop season, Jayavel’s family was forced to moved to Chennai from Nellore.

With no source for earning a livelihood, the family had to be dependent on the kindness of the strangers on the streets.

Jayavel too was forced into begging by his parents to fetch food and money for his family.

Jayavel was very young when he lost his father.  His earning goes into his mother’s addiction, a drunkard.

In an interview with India Today, Jayavel described his conditions of living on the road;

“We used to sleep on one such pavement. If it would rain, we would try to find other shelter in any nearby shop until the cops came and chased us out of there.”


Then one day, entered Uma Muthuraman and her husband as ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ and changed his life forever.

The couple runs an NGO, Suyam Charitable Trust wanted to make a documentary on Chennai’s street kids named “Pavement Flower.”

They spotted Jayavel and in the year 1999, Uma succeeded in taking him under her wings and offered Jayavel a proper education.

“Everyone in the school knew about me and my family. As we used to live right on the corner of the school on the pavement but that didn’t make any difference to me. Though I hated to study in the beginning and only wished to play, my attitude changed as I began to see the difference in life of other people and mine and how Uma and Muthuraman were struggling to educate me,” explained Jayavel.


Life had taken a turn and he made the best use of the opportunity and started working hard. As a result, he scored well in his 12th.

Later, cleared Cambridge University’s entrance as well and got himself a seat in Glyndwr University in Wales, to study ‘Performance Car Enhancement Technology Engineering’, a course that deals with enhancing performance of race cars.

Now Jayavel is on his way to University of Turin, Italy for further studies.

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