Written by Kelley Keehn
Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Ramya, her shortened name, means beautiful, but her life started out as anything but. Ramyapradha Soundararajan's father grew up poor in India until he went back to school to become a lawyer later in life. This exciting milestone meant that she and her family were catapulted into a new life of wealth and opportunity.
How Ramya's Life Changed Completely
Then it all came crashing down. When she was 10 years old, Ramya's father suddenly fell gravely ill with bone cancer.
"With no public health care system and no cure, our family's money couldn't buy his life. My mom had to deplete every penny in savings she had to care for our father. With no life insurance, once our father passed away, our family life took a dramatic turn for the worse," she said.
Bold, determined, and tenacious, Ramya fuelled her sorrow and despair into a laser sharp focus on what she could control - her studies. "I poured my heart and soul into my schoolwork," she said.
Placing an Importance on Education
Her mom scraped every dollar they had to put Ramya into private school growing up. "The pressure was enormous! There were times my brother, mom and myself were struggling to make ends meet while paying for my schooling. I had to make every moment count and not waste their sacrifice for me."
When Ramya entered university, the financial challenge was again a massive hurtle to overcome. "There weren't any student loans for me in India," she said.
To enter in the field of cancer research (which she desired as an homage to her father) was out of reach, so she entered engineering instead. "It was super competitive and expensive. I had to take on part-time jobs coding, but it was worth it."
She even supported her brother's schooling so he could get his law degree.
Ramya also had an adventurous side, and wanted to travel. "I needed to get outside of the bubble that was my world and see what was possible for me."
It eventually led her to a new home.
A New Life in Canada
When Ramya married her husband in Canada, she moved to start her new life in her new country.
"He supports me 100 per cent and encouraged me to get my master's degree even with the demands of our two-year-old child at the time," she said.
It was a huge struggle managing her work, completing her MBA and being there for her daughter. Ramya confides that she takes pride in knowing what she's accomplished against all odds.
Today, Ramya has a successful position for an insurance company as a software development manager.
Lessons as a Mom
Ramya's advice for her now eight-year-old daughter?
"Pour yourself into your education. Dream bold and big," she said.
And what is her daughter's audacious desire for her own future? To grow up to be an astronaut.