WFY Today

Jyothi Reddy: See A Daily-Waiting Labourer in India Is Now a Self-made Millionaire in the USA

Anila Jyothi Reddy is the CEO of Key Software Solutions, Inc., a billion-dollar IT company based in Phoenix, Arizona. Her story of survival and success is more moving than that of those pursuing American dreams, and it is no less inspiring than that of the richest Indian American billionaire. “No compromise, no condition is permanent, and nothing is impossible” are the guiding principles in her life as a self-made millionaire entrepreneur.

She was one of five children born to a daily-wage farmer who struggled to provide for his family in the village of Warangal, Telangana. The family’s daily struggles forced her father to send Jyothi and her younger sibling to an orphanage, where they would be fed twice a day. Her sister, on the other hand, was sent home because she frequently became ill as a result of homesickness. Jyothi remained there as a forced orphan, completing her studies through grade 10.

Her life at the orphanage was, as one might expect, difficult. There were no water taps in the bathrooms. She would stand in line for hours to get just one bucket of water from a nearby well. Even the food served to her and the other residents of the orphanage was improperly cooked, unsanitary, and of low quality. Her daily barefoot commute to and from school covered a total distance of 5 kilometres. Despite her hardships, she maintained a never-say-die attitude. Instead, she learned to be self-sufficient with her needs.

Fate had more trials and tribulations in store for Jyothi Reddy. She wanted to continue her education after Class 10, but her family married her off to a poor farmer when she was only 16. She began working as a daily-wage farm labourer for Rs 5 per day to help her husband make ends meet. By the age of 18, she had given birth to two daughters. While raising children and dealing with domestic violence, she felt compelled to seek a decent job.

When she joined a local government school as a National Service Volunteer in 1988, she received a monthly stipend of Rs 190. After a brief stint there, she was offered a job as a librarian at Jana Shiksha Nilayam in Warangal. As a single parent with two daughters, she supplemented her income by sewing clothing at night. She continued her studies and received a BA degree from BR Ambedkar Open University in 1994.

In 1997, Jyothi earned a postgraduate degree from Kakatiya University and began working as a government school teacher. Her life was square, with her working long hours, raising children, and saving for their future, until a surprise visit from her cousin in the United States proved to be a blessing in disguise. It planted seeds of the ‘American Dream’ in her mind. Jyothi Reddy studied computer applications at a postgraduate level under her supervision.

In May 2000, when the dot-com boom was at its peak, she flew to the United States with a job offer from a cousin’s friend in California, leaving her daughters in a Telugu hostel. While working in America, she came up with the idea of starting a consulting business. After spending 18 months in the United States, she returned home to see her children. During her trip to India, she met a priest who predicted that she would become her own boss because she was born to be an entrepreneur. It served as a catalyst for her American dream.

After returning to the United States, Jyothi Reddy founded her first company, Key Software Solutions Inc., in Phoenix in October 2001 to assist others with visa documentation. She enlisted her cousin as a business partner and gradually expanded the company’s offerings, including talent recruitment and software development. Her American company has more than 100 employees.

CEO Jyothi Reddy is also a philanthropist who works to improve the lives of orphans and eligible brides from underprivileged families. She pays for the weddings of special-needs girls from low-income families. Both of her daughters have married and settled in the United States. They also work as software professionals.

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