He grew the depth of his efforts towards community building, while people limited him to his height.

Mr. Udaya Kumar’s childhood and his quest for higher education were not easy. Often teased and taunted for his short stature, he found it difficult to step out of his home. But step out, he did. Despite his humble background, he secured his school, college and bachelor’s in arts degree, beating all odds. One can say that it was this trying journey that made 27-year-old Mr. Udaya Kumar take up community service with greater focus and enthusiasm and made him Railway Children India’s (RCI’s) Community Champion.

After graduating, Mr. Udaya Kumar began working with his Parish Priest
Rev. Fr. Albert Felix at St. Xavier’s Church. He began helping the church with its philanthropic activities. With the money he earned, he funded his post-graduation degree and began working for Community Raise.

His drive and passion for serving his community, particularly its children, made him extend his support and efforts to the cause for six years and running. He went on to get a Bachelor of Education degree that helped him learn the crucial skill of speaking and writing fluent English. He looks at this skill as an advantage not only for himself but also for his community.

He currently teaches Tamil in St. Xavier’s Middle School, Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu. When speaking about the motivation behind doing something for the children in his community, Mr. Udaya Kumar says ‘I am the inspiration to myself.’ He says that it took him years to overcome bullying, step out and follow his passion of empowering the children in his community.

Zero illiteracy and a dedicated educational institute for the community’s children are the goals that he envisions to achieve for his community, along with encouraging and motivating children to learn values, recognize their talent and help them participate in extra-curricular activities, which will help them grow.

Our team at RCI visited Xavier colony to conduct its community outreach program, which is when we met Mr. Udaya Kumar. He generously helped our team in community mapping, identifying resources, conducting surveys, networking with school teachers, Parish Priests and other community groups. He also helped in establishing an activity centre, organizing events and sessions for children and adults and raising awareness during the lockdown. Our team could also extend dedicated support to the girls in the community by beginning an Adolescent Girls Club, with the undying support of Mr. Udaya Kumar.

Champions for child protection is a human-interest platform by Railway Children India that identifies local advocates for change, passionate about addressing and acting for the rights of children in their community and tells their inspiring stories.