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Agra Mother Offered to Sell Kidney for Kids' Education, Kerala Students Step in

Students from as many as 150 schools in Kerala have come forward to help three daughters and a son of an Agra family acquire education.

P Sajith | News18

Updated:June 16, 2017, 8:27 PM IST

Kannur: Students from as many as 150 schools in Kerala have come forward to help three daughters and a son of an Agra family acquire education.

The students came to the help of Aarti Sharma's family after News18 Kerala reported on her recent Facebook video, in which she appealed to people to help her children.

She put up the appeal on social media because her husband's business had taken a hit following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation drive. As debts piled high, Aarti could not pay the school fees of her three daughters and a son who were studying in a CBSE school.

The school administration refused to cooperate with the family. Aarti's repeated appeals got a limited response from the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh. When Aarti sought help, she says, she was belittled by the local authorities, asking her to educate her kids "according to her status".

"They are bright students, my kids. They wanted to study. I didn't have money. I don't have any property which I could have sold to support my kids' education," Aarti told ETV, adding that a lot of people have come forward and assured of helping my kids get the education.

Her meeting with the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath bore no fruit, despite CM's assurance of help.

In a desperate move, Aarti offered to sell her kidneys, a decision perhaps compelled by the growing debt, coupled with Aarti's urge to help her kids attend school.

Aarti’s appeal, uploaded on Facebook with the help of a social organisation, went viral.

It was CPM MLA James Mathew from Kannur's Thaliparamba district who first took notice of Aarti's appeal and espoused her cause.

Mathew was instrumental in initiating a fund collection drive in the northern district of Kerala. Part of the drive included screening News18 Kerala’s report on Aarti and her family in several schools in the district. Fund collection boxes were set up, and students in several government schools in Kannur pitched in to help.

"Two teachers will travel to UP to hand over the money to the parents. Yes, we could have deposited the money in their account. But then, we thought it's not just about the money, it's also also about love," he said.

"We decided to help the family of Aarti after we heard her story. We kept a charity box in our school, and we will send all the collected money to Aarti," a student said.

The drive lasted a fortnight and the most touching moment came when a TV child artist, Niranjana, took off her gold earrings at a public function and donated it to help the Agra family.

Nidhi, one of the three daughters, hasn't been to her school for the last three months. However, this drive has instilled confidence in her. "I am hopeful that I will be able to continue my studies now. I want to be a doctor and help the poor," she says.

Aarti was grateful to the students of Kerala for their help and was also bitterly critical of her own state government, saying, those who preach slogans like 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' should practice it in real life too. She said she will move to Kerala if the UP government remains apathetic to her family's situation.

Mathew told News18 Kerala that he also offered to arrange for Aarti’s children’s education at a boarding school, if they are willing to relocate to the state. Aarti hopes that one day her daughters will become civil servants and help the downtrodden.

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| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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