An orange seller from Karnataka’s Mangaluru, who used his savings to build a school in his village, was conferred the ‘Padma Shri’ award on Monday. Identified as Harekala Hajabba, the selfless fruit seller spent all his savings to open a school in his village and has also been contributing to its growth every year.
The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, conferred the award on Hajabba on Monday in the national capital. President Kovind took to his Twitter account on Monday and wrote, “President Kovind presents Padma Shri to Shri Harekala Hajabba for Social Work. An orange vendor in Mangalore, Karnataka, he saved money from his vendor business to build a school in his village. “
Many years ago, when a foreign tourist asked him the price of an orange in English, he did not understand what had been said and felt embarrassed. He had not had the privilege of any kind of formal education. “That day I vowed to make a school,” he said.
Harekala Hajabba’s village Newpadapu did not have a school for many years. All the village children were deprived of their right to education. Then, in 2000, Harekala Hajabba invested all his life savings and started a school on one acre of land.
“Today, the school has 175 students with classes up to the 10th standard,” Harekala Hajabba told ANI news agency.
On January 25, 2020, it was announced that the Padma Shri award will be conferred on Hajabba. The function, however, could not be held at the time due to a surge in COVID-19 cases .