A former Govt teacher in Erode grabs a Special place in our HeartsJun 04, 2019
A good teacher is like a candle that consumes itself to give light for others. Ponmani Devi, an 80-year-old retired government school teacher from Erode, Tamil Nadu has set a benchmark for magnanimity for her contribution towards educating the less privileged female students. She has donated a huge fortune to Chithode government girls high school and the fortune could have been a duck laying golden eggs to her relatives.
Ponmani Devi has recently contributed about an acre of land, holding a market value of Rs 4 crore to refurbish the government school buildings in Erode district, Tamil Nadu. An event was held to honour her service to government schools during which she handed over the relevant documents to the Minister for School Education, Mr K.A. Sengottaiyan.
The moment was graced by many other political figures including the MLAs K.S. Thennarasu and K.V. Ramalingam.
The facilities available in Chithode government high school were limited and could facilitate classes only up to tenth grade. This was a problem for female candidates who wished to pursue their schooling further. Many, not being able to travel to schools far away, discontinued their studies. The land, donated by Ponmani Devi would be used to construct 11th and 12th-grade classrooms to favour the less-fortunate to study further.
The current headmistress of the Chithode government girls high school, Mrs Parameshwari expressed that the inclusion of new classrooms and laboratories to the school would help the daughters of labourers and very poor people to complete their 12th grade.
It is not the first time
Apart from donating a huge part of her wealth, there are several instances when Ponmani Devi extended her helping arms. He gave away 25 cents of land to the education department when they wanted to construct separate hostels for boys and girls. In 2015, she contributed about 2 lakh rupees to equip ladies hostel with better infrastructure. Once again, there was a dearth of space to construct the building. She once again gave up a portion of her land.
When asked about her generosity, the strong-willed octogenarian stated thus:
"I want to help the less fortunate, especially female students. They already face so many difficulties in their attempts to study… travel shouldn’t be one of them,”.
Her journey as a teacher
Teaching has been regarded as one of the noblest professions. Teacher Ponmani has devoted nearly 32 years of her life in educating and mentoring thousands of students. Starting her journey as a government school teacher in Erode district in 1964, she served as a teacher for many years in the district. She took over the position of the headmistress in a government high school in Modachur in Gobichettipalayam taluk.
Today, after 22 years of being a headmistress and despite being struck with vocal problems and unsteady legs, she continues to enlighten the lives of many students.
Fate has not been that kind to the queen of generosity and service. She lost her husband when she was in her twenties. She continued to struggle as a single parent to see her only son graduate as a medical professional. But misfortune never comes singly. Mayura Karthikeyan, her son got electrocuted in 2001 while constructing her house. Her sister Marathal and her sons take care of her till today.
People keep asking about her acts of charity for the public good and the way it is possible for her to overcome the hardest difficulties. Ponmani maintains her tranquillity and quoted, "I want to do good as long as I live."
For such people, hardships and misfortunes are too small to deter their spirits of positivity and giving.