Harekala Hajabba, an orange seller from Mangaluru in Karnataka, received the Padma Shri Award from President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday at the Padma Award ceremony held in Delhi. The 66-year-old received India’s second highest civilian honor for his efforts in educating the children of his village.
Hajabba, originally from a village of Newpadapu near Mangalore, has no formal education but has managed to set up a school for children in his village.
President Kovind introduces Padma Shri to Shri Harekala Hajabba for social work. Orange seller in Mangalore, Karnataka, he saved money from his sales business to build a school in his village. pic.twitter.com/fPrmq0VMQv– President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) November 8, 2021
Hajabba said it was a meeting with two foreign tourists that initially led him to take the initiative to open a new school. Speaking to ANI, he said: âSince I could not communicate with the foreigner, I felt bad and decided to build a school in the village. I only know Kannada, not English or Hindi. So I was depressed because I couldn’t help the stranger. I wondered about building a school in my village. “
According to the BBC, the village of Hajabba did not have a school until 2000, when he had saved enough money from his meager income to start one on his own. As the number of students grew, he even took out loans and used his savings to buy land for the school.
With an income of just Rs 150 per day, Hajabba received very little support from locals and authorities, but his determination led him to open a primary school with 28 students in a madrassa – a generally connected Muslim educational institution. to a mosque.
As the number of students grew over the years, Hajaba had to apply for loans, clean the school premises and boil water for the children and undertake various other activities himself.