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Meet Harekala Hajabba, From A Fruit Seller To A Hero of Education

A barefooted man dressed in a white shirt and dhoti approached President Ram Nath Kovind to accept the prestigious Padma Shri award. Harekala Hajabba, 68, seems unfazed by the historic moment of his getting the Padma award, which was captured by cameras.

This is the story of Harekala Hajabba, an ordinary fruit seller who built a school in Newpadapu. Harekala Hajabba made a living selling oranges at Mangaluru’s Central Market in the 1990s. He is a winner of the coveted Padma Shri award, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, now in his 60s.

How It Began

Picture: Hindustan Times

His inspiring story began when a foreign tourist asked him how much a kilo of oranges costs in English many years ago, he was embarrassed since he didn’t comprehend what was being said. He had never had the opportunity to receive any type of formal education. He promised himself that day that he would build a school.

Harekala Hajabba’s hamlet Newpadapu, according to a story in The Better India, has been without a school for many years. The right to education was taken away from all of the village youngsters. Then, in 2000, Harekala Hajabba put his entire life savings into establishing a school on a one-acre plot of land.

Picture: The Print

Hajabba originally persuaded neighbours and well-wishers to assist him in establishing the school at a nearby mosque. He would sweep the school grounds, boil water for the students, and make frequent requests for the educational facilities to be formalised with the Zilla Panchayat office in Dakshina Kannada, roughly 25 kilometres from his own village.

Hajabba’s efforts resulted in the establishment of a Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School in Newpadupu village in 2008. He also established an organisation to streamline the school’s funding while ensuring that students and faculty have access to all necessary resources.

Picture: Edexlive

It was then converted into a government school, with the high school section opening in 2007. Classes 1 through 10 are presently taught at the school.

Another unique thing about this school is that the school’s classrooms are named after several high achievers. The astronaut Kalpana Chawla is honoured in the class 9 rooms, while Rani Abbakka is honoured in the class 8 rooms. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan is honoured in the staffroom, whereas Swami Vivekananda is honoured in the office and laboratory.

Padma Awards 2021

Art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medical, literature and education, sports, civil service, and other areas have all received Padma Awards.

Picture: Deccan Chronicle

At the Rashtrapati Bhawan, President Ram Nath Kovind presented Padma Awards. The Padma Awards list for 2021 contains seven Padma Vibhushans, ten Padma Bhushans, and 102 Padma Shri Awards, with 29 women and one transgender person among the recipients.

Despite being born into a poor family and lacking access to education, Hajabba was adamant about providing education to the children in his area. His efforts eventually paid off after decades of hard work.

Sources: The News Minute,India TV,The Sentinel,

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