This hapless mother was unable to find food to fill the little stomach of her children. But, the shocking sight of the kids eating dirty mud from the ground to beat hunger pangs, forced her to write to the authorities requesting them to take over the custody of the children.
The pathetic story of Sreedevi, living in a makeshift tent at Uplamoodu bridge, hardly one km away from the Secretariat here, with her six children shook the consciousness of Kerala.
Their plight came to light after the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) took over the custody of four elder siblings-two boys aged seven and five years and two girls, aged four and two.
The mother and two children, aged just months, were later shifted to a state-run shelter home.
Now, promises of help and support are pouring in from various corners to help the poverty-stricken family.
Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K Sreekumar on Tuesday handed over the letter of appointment to the woman offering a job at an office of the corporation.
The civic body would take all steps to ensure that the children were not denied education. A flat will also be provided to her.
Sreekumar had on Monday evening visited their house and assured the mother that a temporary job would be provided to her.
"One of the apartments, which has been constructed for the homeless under the Life Mission, will be given to the family," he told reporters. The family has been living in a makeshift house next to the railway track here.
According to officials, the woman had written a letter to the CWC, saying her husband was an alcoholic and they were not able to feed their kids.
She also said one of them had once eaten mud due to hunger.
After receiving the letter, CWC members visited the makeshift house of the family on Monday and took custody of four of her six children. However, the woman's husband told the media he was not informed that the children would be handed over to the CWC and claimed it was done under the pressure of some of his relatives.
"I am a daily wage labourer. I used to take care of them in every way I could," he said.
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran and Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said the plight of the family was "painful" and "shameful" for the state.
Leader of Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala had also visited the house.
"It's a disgrace to the state that the child had to eat mud due to poverty. The government must take necessary action," he said. Health Minister K K Shailaja told media in Delhi that the state will take care of the education of the children.
"All the four kids will be now under the protection of the government. We will take care of their education and health," she said.