Saswat Singhdeo

Koraput: At the age of 17, she is the sole bread earner and caretaker of a family of five - not by choice but due to harsh circumstances. After losing her father in a road mishap five years back, Laxmi Nayak, a resident of Khudiguda village in Koraput district is the last ray of hope for her three younger siblings and their grandfather Sahida Nayak.

Despite hardship, Laxmi, who works as a labourer, is trying her best to ensure a better life for her siblings.

“After father’s death, I am looking after my three siblings. I am not able to go to school due to financial constraints. But I am working as a labourer so that they can get education and lead a good life,” said Laxmi.

Adding to the family’s woes, Laxmi’s mother allegedly abandoned the kids following her husband’s death and settled with another man.

Even Sahida’s old-age pension of Rs 500 and provision of 10 kg rice per month is not enough to make the ends meet.

“I am not fit enough to go to work and completely dependent on my granddaughter. The assistance that I am getting from the government is of little help,” said Sahida.

Even though Laxmi’s neighbours extend help on a few occasions, the family still struggles to get basic government facilities. However, after repeated requests, local administration has assured to take adequate steps so that Laxmi and her family members can be rehabilitated.

“I will forward the matter to the BDO. We will try to rehabilitate the kids if they are willing to stay in hostel. As far as house is concerned, their name must be on the beneficiary list so they will get it eventually,” said Jeypore sub-collector, Lokanath Dalabehera.