road to success Siva is a timid school girl, but she is also a talented champion in silambam, a popular martial art in southern India. Siva is also one of the most refreshing personalities you could come across.

When Selvi and Kalimuthu gave birth to little Siva at Sandhapettai in Madurai, the odds were stacked against the girl. She was born into a family living in abject poverty. Her two brothers discontinued their studies at a young age because there was no money. In a family of eight with little resources, life seemed hard for little Siva.

Siva’s parents are uneducated. Her mother is a housewife. Her father works at construction sites, earning around $4 per day. They have two sheep and a cow. They sell the milk.

Siva practices silambam with the utmost care and precision.

Fortunately, Siva was registered in Compassion and now she is in 10th grade in the Diocese of Madurai and Ramnad Girls’ High School. She has begun to set an example for others. She mingles well with the other children. She is responsible in her work and also very obedient.

She is especially known for time management. She completes all work on time. She is very disciplined in all that she does. She always stands first in her class. In fact, she even gets first place in general knowledge.

Siva prays and reads the Bible regularly. She always gets first in the Bible quiz. She participates in youth camps, youth meetings and games. She loves to be a part of all spiritual meetings. She shares about the Lord to her friends. She is a humble girl and loved by all.

Indeed, Siva wears many crowns. And this young girl has yet another talent given by the Almighty.

She is extremely good at silambam. Silambam is stick fighting, a traditional south Indian martial art. This style is supposed to have originated from Kerala, a coastal south Indian state. Natives used bamboo staves to defend themselves against wild animals. The techniques were perfected into the art of silambam.

The stick used in silambam is 1.68 meters long (5.5 feet), and its diameter is between 1.5 and 2 inches. Its weight ranges from 1 to 1.5 pounds. For training and sparring, a rattan staff is used since it is supple and does not break easily. But a hardwood staff can also be used to gain strength. At times, a little blade is added, acting like a short spear, with the same technique.

As a matter of pride for the CSI Christian Mission Child Development Center, Siva mastered this art of silambam at the center. The center coordinator Puspharaj attended a function where he saw children performing silambam. He thought it would be good to introduce this traditional art in the center, and selected the children who were interested.

You can also view this silambam video on YouTube.

“We conducted multiple intelligence tests — visual spatial intelligence, bodily kinesthetic intelligence, etc. Thereby, we found out the specific areas of our children’s interest,” says Pushparaj. “Now, looking at our children, several such clubs have been started all over the state,” he adds.

Siva has many awards.

  • First place in Barathiar Republic Day in Madurai Division in 2009
  • First in the Madurai District Silambam Competition conducted by Silambam Association in 2009
  • Participated in Commonwealth Games rally — Queen Baton’s relay conducted by Sport Development Authority of Tamilnadu in 2010
  • First place in Usilampatti Divisional Silambam meet conducted this year (2010)
  • Stood first in Kadular District Silbam Competition
  • National award in State Silambam Competition 2010

She is always invited to perform at local festivals and holidays. Recently she has been selected to participate in international games, which will be conducted next year in Malaysia.

When asked about her hobbies and dreams, Siva says, “I want to scale greater heights in silambam. I love playing with my friends and watching TV. I go for computer classes, spoken English courses and Bible classes. My dream is to participate in international silambam competition and become a champion.” Siva also aspires to become a software engineer in the future.

Her parents, no wonder, feel proud of their daughter. “My eldest son withdrew from his studies from 5th grade and another son studied only till 10th grade due to lack of proper guidance and financial crisis. But thanks to Compassion, my daughter Siva is studying well.”

“I call my sponsor Mummy. Like a loving mother, she is so concerned of my future.” Yes indeed, Siva feels deeply indebted to her sponsor.

The future burns bright for this humble girl.

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  1. Dec 28, 2010
    at 7:22 am

    It’s great to hear that Siva is going out, using her skills and talents, and has a desire to make the world a better place…and the spread the word of God as she does it. Thanks for sharing this story and keep up the good work, Siva!

  2. brett
    Dec 28, 2010
    at 9:28 am

    Good blog and video. Pretty cool. However, the flaming, flying pentagram surrounding the girls face is certainly…. interesting to say the least. Couldn’t find a better photo?

    • Kim Edge
      Dec 28, 2010
      at 1:40 pm

      Hmm, it has six points so it can’t be a pentagram..maybe a Star of David? :) It does look dangerous to be twirling in bare feet…actually it looks to dangerous to me, period. Eek

  3. Mike Stephens
    Dec 28, 2010
    at 8:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing the video, I was going to comment “Where is the video of it!” But there it is ;)

  4. Carl
    Dec 30, 2010
    at 5:31 am

    He “thought” it would be good. What about praying to discern if it is the will of God? Now there are clubs that may or may not be Christ centered. In fact it sounds more like westernization rather than discipleship. I am not sure if this is a good thing. Sorry. I am not able to see the vid so I might be horribly off base.

    • Beth
      Dec 30, 2010
      at 8:32 am

      @Carl – remember that child development centers are about the whole child. They remain Christ-focused while also being committed to the child’s physical as well as social needs. This is a tradition amongst these people, so I hardly see it as Westernization. Plus, it keeps them physically active, allows them to make friends and interact with their peers and they are also involved in an activity of their own culture/community.

      @Siva, family, and sponsor – I love that Siva calls her sponsor Mummy! What a testimony to the transformation that a sponsor is making and a difference that the child development center has made in her life. Great story!

  5. Jan 2, 2011
    at 12:31 pm

    I think this is very cool. It is great to see talents that the kids have being developed, and knowing that those who run the centers are taking note of abilities that the children have and developing them even if they aren’t strictly job or spiritually oriented. I think that it is important that these children realize that ALL of their talents are God-given, and this is part of it.

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