V Mahalakshmi, the school topper, as well as the top scorer with 473 marks among the four corporation high school students in Trichy corporation, was once subjected to work as a child labourer. However, her passion to succeed in education catapulted her to a new height. But her poverty still prevents her from pursuing higher studies.

She is the second child of Venkatapathy - Kalaivani couple of Sempattu in Trichy. Mahalakshmi had discontinued her elementary studies in class 5 after her father died. Her mother, a construction worker, forced Mahalakshmi to work as a maid for their survival while the elder son Sathiskumar also started working in an automobile workshop after completing class 10."After my father passed away, my dream was shattered due to poverty. Though I worked as a maid, my thoughts were revolving around education. At that time, the staff in Child Labour Effective Elimination and Rehabilitation Society (CHEERS) counselled me and my mother to send me to school. As my mother was convinced, I got a new lease of life to enlighten myself," Mahalakshmi told TOI. Later, she was admitted to the Corporation high school in Sempattu.

However, the girl, who aims to become a software engineer still struggles to pursue further studies. "I want to join plus one in a good school to improve myself. But my mother is unable to afford to pay the fees. Hence, I would be grateful throughout my life if anyone helps me to get a better education," she says.

Similarly, another student, P Philomina who scored 452 marks also faces financial crisis to continue her studies. Her school teacher Vijayarani said, "She earned Rs 2,000 by going for work in the summer holidays to pay for school fees because of poverty in her family." She also said that if anyone is ready to willing to donate for her studies, they can contact this number: 9443504716.\\]