Pointing to an old, damaged wooden cot placed by a window in her unfinished home in Wayanad, Kamalam said, “This is where my daughter would sleep whenever she came home. She has struggled a lot in her life. Now God has given her a big gift.”

Her daughter, Sreedhanya, 26, set a record of sorts on Friday when she became the first Adivasi woman from Kerala to crack the civil service examination. Sreedhanya, who belongs to the Kurichiya community of Pozhuthana village, secured 410th rank in her third attempt.

Sreedhanya lived in her family’s unfinished home for 17 years before moving to Kozhikode to pursue a graduation and post graduation in zoology. The house stands on 60 cents of land given by the Kerala government. But the family is yet to get its title deed. “I could not borrow money from any bank to complete the house,” said her father KK Suresh. “So we were not able to provide even basic amenities for our children. We could not buy even a shelf to…

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