PETALING JAYA - Despite a difficult childhood, M. Givianaa wanted to work hard and be successful in life.
Givianna was sent away to live with her stepmother in India at 13. Now 20, the Malaysian could not pursue her tertiary education despite being a straight A1 student.
She received A1s in all eight subjects in the All India Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, a pre-university level examination last year. Her achievement was recognised by the Kerala state chief minister, who presented a trophy and certificate to her.
A communications coordinator in an NGO, D. Vanaja, who spoke to The Star, said that despite Givianaa being a merit student, the Indian government could not accept her at a public university because she was not an Indian citizen and the Malaysian public universities could not accept her because she did not have local qualifications.
"She is left neither here nor there," Vanaja said.
Givianaa applied to study medicine at private universities, and was offered a place by Manipal University and Kasturba Medical College in India, Monash University Malaysia Campus and Manipal Medical Melaka.
She said the Pathmanabhan Foundation had offered RM120,000 (S$38,870) for her medical studies at the Manipal Medical Melaka, but she could not raise the remaining RM348,500.
"I am a merit student but due to financial circumstances, my education has come to a standstill," said Givianaa, who spoke good English and had a band score of 7.5 for the International English Language Testing Service.
Givianaa, an only child, said her mother
D. Valli Kamala died in September of cancer and her father, a salesman, was staying in a worker's quarters in Singapore and could not afford to support her.
"He has another family in India to care for."
When she was four, her father Muraleetharan Nair took her to Johor to live with him after he and his wife divorced.
She was sent to India at 13 to live with his new wife in Kannur, Kerala.
"Life was difficult in the village and I had to learn and pass Hindi and Malayalam."
However, her love for reading, especially for the writings of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, kept her hoping for the best.
"My dream is to be a doctor and specialise in heart surgery," said Givianaa.
"But I'm happy to consider medical research or other courses related to medicine if my first choice is not possible."