It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that Rising Star Outreach announces the passing of a beloved student, daughter, sister, and friend, Varalakshmi V.

Varalakshmi passed away Friday, May 20th due to a drowning accident in the Ponneri Leprosy Colony.  She and her brothers were bathing and playing in the river located behind the colony when she was swept away by unusually strong water currents due to heavy rains. Varalakshmi was preparing to return to Peery Matriculation School at the beginning of June, where she would have started sixth standard.

Varalakshmi and her little brother Veera came to our school in June 2012, where she immediately made an impact on all who met her.  She was a fierce protector of Veera, possessed just the right amount of mischievousness, had an infectious laugh, beautiful smile, and warm sparkling eyes. Varalakshmi worked extremely hard in school. She had a love for education and was able to progress quickly despite the demanding curriculum. Numerous volunteers have tender memories of spending time with Varalakshmi and Veera during playtime, tutoring Varalakshmi during the education rotation, and walking her back to the hostel when she finished her extra studying at night school – she loved getting to hold the flashlight. Her faithful sponsors are sure to cherish the letters and school work she has sent to them and we thank them for their years of love and support.

Varalakshmi has two younger brothers that will be returning to school in June. Veera (8 yrs) will be entering 4th standard and Vignesh (5 yrs)will be one of our new kindergartners. This will be a difficult time for these brothers, her devoted father, grandfather, and the Ponneri Leprosy Colony family. The children attending our school, the housemothers, teachers, and staff who have grown to love and depend on Varalakshmi, will also miss her terribly. Please remember them in your thoughts and prayers in the coming months. Culturally appropriate grief counseling will be available to all Peery Matriculation School students when they return to campus in a few weeks. If you sponsor one or more of our beautiful students, please consider reaching out to them. The support of your relationship with your sponsored child is so important at this time.

Click on the link above or email “” to write digitally to your sponsored child
Rising Star has been in constant contact with Varalakshmi’s family and has ensured all funeral expenses are taken care of. If you are interested in showing additional support, you may consider donating to the college scholarship fund or sponsoring a child. Supporting either of these causes will help provide another child with the opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty by receiving either basic or higher education.
Learn more about Sponsoring one of Varalakshmi’s classmates

Donate and learn more about the College Scholarship Fund
Dr. Susan, Managing Director of Rising Star Outreach of India, said it best when expressing that, “She was a very sweet and kind child and we are certain that she will be seen in the blessed kingdom in the arms of her Creator and Lord soon.”  
Varalakshmi, you are loved and will be greatly missed. The Rising Star Outreach Family will forever be changed by your absence.
Becky Douglas

Below is a picture memorial to Varalakshmi. If you would like to share anymore pictures with us, please email them to rmoon@risingstaroutreach,org

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