Social worker in Chennai receives Achiever’s award


Jothi Selvakumar who is in charge of the Karunai Illam Home for the destitute psychiatric patients of Udavum Karangal received the Working Women Achiever’s Award – 2019 from Ooruni Foundation on this week.

What makes her achievements significant is that Jothi herself is an orphan who grew under the patronising care of Udavum Karangal.

This week News Today brings you the story of Jothi. At age four, Jothi was left to the mercy of gods and fate by her parents who abandoned her. The good people at Udavum Karangal, the popular orphanage in the neighbourhood took her in. Here, under the guidance of the organisation’s founder Pappa Vidyakar who Jothi reveres as her godfather, she studied, graduated, worked and learned, to become the head of the very home that raised her.

Talking about her award Jothi says, “I am proud that I have become something from nothing. I feel empowered today, when I stand before this society, which once rejected me, as an enlightened student to my guru and godfather Pappa Vidyaakar, as a good housewife to my husband, as a mother to my own child, as a nurse to those in need of care and concern, and as a professional social worker (MSW) to the society by taking care of the mentally sick women who deserve to be rehabilitated and put back to their family.”

Pappa Vidyaakar says that Jothi is now the cynosure of the organisation. He wishes all children under the care of Udavum Karangal to imbibe her qualities and stand before this society as an achiever.

“Ever since I rescued Jothi in 1984, as a four-year-old kid, I have seen her as a person with good leadership qualities and eager to meet challenges. It would be best suited if I say she has repaid to the organisation whatever she acquired from it,” he says proudly.

Jothi Selvakumar, in turn, thanks Vidyakar not only for the award but also for making her who she is today. She says, “As I am a person who wishes always to meet challenges, Pappa allotted me this particular facility where every minute one should be alert and act appropriately. I’m grateful to Pappa for taking me into his fold to assist him in this noble cause. And I am always ready to meet any challenges that come in my way.”