For 26-year-old Sreedhanya Suresh, the road to cracking the civil service exams wasn't easy. Her parents were daily wage workers and their only source of household income was the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme. But despite all odds, Sreedhanya became the first person from the indigenous tribes of Wayanad to clear the prestigious exams. She is among the 29 people from Kerala who have cleared the exam.
"My biggest challenge was financial constraints. Several individual government schemes have played a crucial role in helping me in my journey till here," she said. Sreedhanya, who belongs to the Kurichiya tribe of Wayanad, was ranked 410 in the All India civil services exams.
"I wanted to join the services after I met the previous sub collector of Wayanad Samba Siva Rao. I was working on a project under him. There are other IAS who helped me in my journey with funding me, helping me in interviews and preparations," she told NDTV, sharing the story of her inspiration.
Sreedhanya spent most of her time preparing for the exams in Thiruvananthapuram. Her parents, Suresh and Kamala as well as her two siblings are looking forward to be with her in Wayanad tomorrow, the first time since the news broke.
However, she isn't entirely satisfied with her performance. "I am excited, but a bit disappointed. I expected to do even better. I am a self-motivated person," she said.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among the first politicians to congratulate Sreedhanya.
"Sreedhanya fought the social backwardness and passed the civil services exam with flying colours. Her achievement will inspire other students in the future," he wrote in his Facebook post.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Wayanad, tweeted: "Sreedhanya's hard work & dedication have helped make her dream come true. I congratulate Sreedhanya and her family and wish her great success in her chosen career."