Nancy Kannampuzha

Last updated: 2011

Nancy Kannampuzha

2011 Beat the Odds Honoree

Described by those who know her as “resilient,” Nancy Kannampuzha has suffered unbelievable betrayal and abandonment; yet, she has emerged as a beacon of light and a champion for countless young people who have been silenced by physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Nancy was born and raised in India by extended family until the age of seven. After that time, she and a brother joined their biological parents in the United States and experienced the shock of entering a new and foreign culture. In America, Nancy was also reunited with her biological parents who, with the exception of occasional visits, were virtual strangers. This reconciliation was not the happy ending that Nancy had hoped for, but the beginning of a home life fraught with instances of domestic violence, physical, emotion, and sexual abuse.

Nancy suffered this abuse in silence and isolation until the age of 14 when her father was arrested for sexual abuse. Not only was Nancy left to deal with the physical and emotional scars of her early childhood, but the rejection of a mother who refused to believe her husband was capable of such atrocities. Soon after, Nancy was removed from her mother’s care, and has spent the remaining years of her childhood in the foster care system. Through all of this, Nancy remains “committed to serving others in the same situation,” and has a great interest in assisting young people whose experiences are compounded by cultural difference. Nancy currently serves as a volunteer for the South Asian Network and works to help others in the South Asian community put an end to abuse and family violence.