Hemalatha is a 7th grader who especially loves walking to school every day in the morning. She comes from a family of 7 people, three of which are her siblings. Her father being an alcoholic spends every dime he earns on his drinking. Her maternal grandparents live under the same roof. Her mother, the only other earning member of the family struggles to get food for the large family.
Hemalatha was born with disability. Her right leg is partially bent compared to the left, and thus, hinders while she walks. Hemalatha, being the eldest child, was the first to go to school. She says she has been harassed all through her school years right from kindergarten until she started 6th grade. The 6th grade was when she joined HoPE Learning Centre and this was when she learnt to accept herself as she is. All these years of being teased and abused she thought that being how she was is wrong and that is why she had no friends and was a subject of laughter. She never realised what others did was wrong and she never stood up to them, and no one stood up for her either.
After joining HoPE Learning Centre, where she was gladly accepted and treated like how every other human should be treated, Hemalatha was overwhelmed by the love and care showed to her. She says that every night she cried to her mother for being born that way. Even when her mother assured her that she was perfect, she never accepted her state. Finding friends who helped her rather than teasing her was a very big step for Hemalatha and she had trust issues at the beginning.
Gradually, as a year passed by, she learnt loving herself and now she is perfectly fine. She says she is very thankful to her friends and the teachers at the HoPE Learning Centre for helping her. Her mother is very proud of how far Hemalatha has come in the past year. Hemalatha helps everyone in her village and works the normal way like everyone does. She never accepts help unless it is really needed. She now works along with her mother in the neighbourhood houses by doing household chores in the weekends. Even though her family struggles every day, she says she is very happy and that she is eternally grateful to Tripura Foundation for helping change her mind and love herself despite the hate she received all those years.
Now every morning she walks a long way to school side by side with her friends who laugh and run along with her treating her the way she deserves to be.