Once a Rising Star, always a Rising Star!

My name is Sonia! 

I was born in an isolated leprosy colony called Bharatpuram, located near a leprosy hospital in the outskirts of Chengalpattu district of Indian southern state Tamilnadu. People affected [by leprosy] face discrimination, self-stigma, segregation and isolation. My parents are one among them who were segregated and after treatment settled in the leprosy colony. We, the people living in leprosy colonies, have our own world! Limited social interaction, fear of being notified or addressed as the resident of leprosy colony and left with no or limited opportunities in life.

As a child, I was unaware of the difficulties of my parents raising me and my three brothers with all odds in life. It is really painful to [remember] and compare my life today with the struggling days of my parents. They were hopeless, dependent on alms and hardly aware [of] possibilities.  

It was a bright and shiny day when my parents got to know about Rising Star Outreach. That was a day full of hope, prosperity and since then, I am “A Rising Star”.

….I was admitted to such a world class facility which is something my parents could have never dreamt of. Please allow me to admit that when I first visited the campus with my parents, it was beyond my imagination – huge campus, unmatchable facilities, enormous scope for the activities…. I [felt] really fortunate :)

It was challenging to be away from the family, adjusting in a new environment, maintaining decorum and discipline including understanding and studying in English. As time passed, it all became so simple: love, care….and consistent support.

….I always wanted to heal pain and serve the people, so [I] pursued Nursing and completed [my degree] in 2019. I am very happy in my life and grateful to Rising Star Outreach and my amazing sponsors because of whom, [my dream] comes true. Today, I am an educated, qualified and professionally trained Staff Nurse at the G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital at Coimbatore-Tamilnadu. I am engaged in combating Covid-19 crisis as a caregiver health worker. I pray to God to help, give strength and energy to serve my country and humanity in such a difficult time of pandemic. 

Please allow me to conclude and express my sincere gratitude towards everyone especially my parents, Rising Star family, sponsor[s] and friends for building me as a Rising Star!

Thanks for your time, love and affection.

Sincerely, Sonia


*photos courtesy of Sonia

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