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Once Struggling For Two Meals A Day, This Farmer’s Son Now Owns A Rs 3,415 Crore Company

Image Credits: Cochin Herald

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“In one hand a slate, in another hand a plate,” recalls Arokiaswamy Velumani, the multi-millionaire entrepreneur, about his childhood. He recalls how his school meals helped him survive. Speaking at a TEDx convention, the 60-year-old founder of Thyrocare reveals with a gleam in his eyes how his prolonged battle with the pangs of poverty moulded his success.

Velumani, who refers to his life story as ‘the luxury of poverty’, continues to motivate hundreds of aspiring youth every day. The son of a poor farmer, who struggled to manage two square meals a day, now heads the world’s largest thyroid testing laboratory with a staggering net worth of Rs 3,300 crore.

Family of 7, Rs 50 per week

In April 1959, the family of a landless farmer in Appanaickenpatti Pudur, an obscure hamlet in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, welcomed their son Arokiaswamy. He was one among the five children in the family. His father’s paltry earnings failed to sustain the large family, so, his mother, a homemaker, had to shoulder a bigger responsibility. She managed to buy two buffaloes and the family survived on 50 rupees a week, earned from selling the milk. The plight prevailed for almost a decade.

Velumani admits that he could only become graduate as his school offered meal once a day. The promise of food drew him to the local village school which lacked a proper curriculum or even a teacher. “They would serve meals only if we show them our slates. That’s how my education started,” he shares.

“They (my parents) never had the luxury of buying me a pair of chappals (sandals) or trousers. I was born at the bottom of the ten slices of the pyramid,” he shared with Quartz India. “But today, I am at the top of the very pyramid,” he adds.

Earning a PhD at Bhaba Atomic Research Centre

Velumani earned a B.Sc graduate degree at 19 and joined Gemini Capsules, a small-scale pharmaceutical firm in Coimbatore. At that time, he had to make do with a meagre salary of Rs 150 per month, which too stopped when the company shut down within three years of his joining. He stayed unemployed for more than three years, struggling with finances once again. Later, he was accepted at the prestigious Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for the position of a lab assistant.

Velumani feels grateful that BARC offered him ample opportunities to pursue further research alongside his job. His diligence and focus soon earned him a Master’s Degree, followed by a PhD in thyroid biochemistry. Interestingly, Velumani admits that his time at BARC helped him learn everything that would ultimately propel him to the position where he presently stands. “In 1982, I did not know where the thyroid gland was. By 1995, I was a PhD in thyroid biochemistry,” he candidly shared with Quartz India.

Quitting a secured job

Meanwhile, Velumani married Sumathi, who was working in State Bank of India at that time. Afterwards, when he had already spent 14 years at BARC, he decided to quit his job, with a grand plan in mind. His wife also left her job, and with an investment of Rs 2 lakh sourced from his provident fund, together they started Thyrocare.

When asked about how he dared to leave a secured government job to venture into a domain unknown to him, Velumani asserts that everyone has to choose between security and prosperity in their job. “A government job provides you security while a private one can lead to prosperity. By branching out on my own, I was assured of secured prosperity,” he shared with Man’s World India.

The prosperity of Thyrocare

Initially, Thyrocare was exclusively focussed on the diagnosis of thyroid-related disorders. Later, as the company proliferated, their domain expanded into detecting other clinical disorders like diabetes, infertility, cardiovascular problems and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The company reached a monumental market worth of Rs 3,415 crore two years ago through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) which oversubscribed 73 times. Thyrocare has over 1,250 centres across the urban landscape of India as well as outlets in Nepal, Bangladesh and the Middle East. The company performs more than 30 million diagnostic tests every year.

In February 2016, Velumani lost his wife and long-time companion Sumathi to pancreatic cancer. He resides at Navi Mumbai with his son Anand and daughter Amruta.

Arokiaswamy Velumani’s story deserves to inspire a million Indians. Efforts For Good will continue to present more such motivational stories from the heroes we have amongst us.

Also Read: With No Money, This 61-Yr-Old Heart Attack Survivor Walked 12,626 Km In India, Sri Lanka & Africa Preaching World Peace

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

Image Credits: Cochin Herald

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns

Supporting Education Of COVID Hit Students

19,200 Raised
Out of 20,00,000

Share

Supporting Acid Attack Survivors During COVID

26,651 Raised
Out of 20,00,000

Share

Providing Clothes To Tribal Children

1,11,860 Raised
Out of 9,00,000

Share

Back To School : Supporting Rural Education

28,631 Raised
Out of 15,00,000

Share

Rahat COVID: Relief Work by Goonj

1,04,887 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

No To Hunger : Free Meals To Underprivileged

5,87,014 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

Provide Ambulance : Help Them Reach Hospital On Time

3,82,370 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

Support Pranitha To Donate Oxygen And Ration Kits

8,35,618 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

Project Annapoorna : Become A Hunger Warrior

7,582 Raised
Out of 1,50,000

Share

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41,094 Raised
Out of 2,50,000

Share

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40,962 Raised
Out of 1,00,000

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25,615 Raised
Out of 5,00,000

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97,02,146 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Campaign Closed
Brought machinery

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,544 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

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Ordered a minivan and sent for modification

Goonj’s focus: 

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“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

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In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
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