Faces in the Crowd – Amazing Gracie

Posted on March 16, 2017 under Faces in the Crowd with one comment

Grace and poise

 

“ My dream is to be able to support my niece and nephew so that they can get a good education.”

Meet Gracie Akrose.

The eldest of five children, Gracie was born in Vallavallai, Tamil Nadu, India in 1977. Her father was a fisherman and her mother sold fish at the local market.

At the age of one, Gracie was dealt a blow as she contracted polio. Polio or poliomyelitis is a disease caused by poliovirus. It can cause lifelong paralysis and can be deadly. By the time she was five and with more children in her home, her parents were no longer able to cope and sent her to live at Mercy Home, run by an order of Roman Catholic Sisters. Initially, this was a very traumatic experience for Gracie but eventually she settled in and spent the next ten years with the Sisters.

She began school and by all accounts was a very good student. Upon completion of her 10th standard ( grade 10 ), she returned home. She was sad to leave the convent as she had been very well treated. Over the next two years she studied tailoring at a convent run by the Sisters of Bethany. She learned quickly and discovered a new talent which was both satisfying and practical. She began doing sewing jobs at home with a machine provided by the Sisters.

Over time her new found abilities became crucial to the survival of the family as a string of misfortunes made her the sole income earner. Along with her parents, she was also supporting a sister, a niece and a nephew who were all living under the same roof. Gradually it became very difficult to run her small business with all of the other distractions at home.

In January of 2017, the Sisters at Sanditham Bethania School offered her a teaching position and also provided her with food and accommodation at the adjacent convent. In addition to a modest monthy income from teaching, she is also able to earn additional money by doing private work for people in the community. She loves living at the convent where she finds peace by attending mass.

As hard as Gracie works, she still finds it very difficult to pay the mounting medical bills, food and repairs at the family home.

Gracie’s future is uncertain as there are no guarantees that she can keep her position at the school and the convent. She worries about her family, especially her niece and nephew. She knows that their best chance to succeed in life is to get a good education but after the 10th. standard, government funding for education ceases. In order to continue their education, these children must pay and there is simply no money for this.Gracie is hoping that with a newer model sewing machine, she can increase her output.

Gracie has no bitter feelings or regrets about the cards she’s been dealt. “ I accepted my physical limitations a long time ago.” Polio has slowed her down but it has not dampened her indomitable spirit. She hasn’t ruled out marriage although she figures that her age and physical challenges present obstacles.

But nothing would surprise anyone who meets this wonderful woman with the perpetual smile and positive outlook on life.

 

 She lives life with dignity and grace.

 

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If you would like to make a contribution towards a new sewing machine for Gracie ( $500 ) please go to my fundraising page at http://www.week45.com/supporting-the-daughters-of-mary-in-india/

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Comments

One Response to Faces in the Crowd – Amazing Gracie

  1. Noreen Casey says:

    Good morning Len ,the next time I go to antigonish I am going to go to the Bergengren and donate to Gracie’s sewing machine

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