Published: 24th June 2020
This ninth grader from Madurai spent Rs 5 lakh saved for college studies on helping the poor affected by the lockdown
Nethra M, who has been named the UNADAP's Goodwill Ambassador for the Poor, donated `5 lakh of her college fund to feed the poor in Madurai
It is in times of crisis that the best of humanity comes forth, or so I'd like to believe. While the world is still messed up, we've still heard of and even seen several individuals, groups and organisations go out of their way to help those in need. Then there are those who are working tirelessly on the frontlines, risking their lives to ensure the well-being of the people. Such stories are inspiring and highlight the best of humanity, a feature that needs to be highlighted from time to time. Among them, is a 13-year-old girl and her father from Madurai. Nethra M and C Mohan have come forward to help the poor in these tough times. What started as an initiative to help the needy in and around their area has now escalated to Nethra and her father deciding to tap into her higher education fund and spend Rs 5 lakh for those in need.
Nethra, who is a ninth grader, says, "The first person who tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu resided in our area, Anna Nagar in Madurai. Then, more and more people started testing positive, the lockdown was put into effect and we could see how much the underprivileged were suffering due to this. Their source of income was lost." Not one to stand idly by and watch people struggle, Mohan, who owns a salon in Madurai, decided to do whatever he could to help the poor in his area. "We started donating rice, fruits and other groceries to those in need," informs Nethra.
It was only later, when they started running out of supplies, that the family decided to tap into their savings. "I convinced my father to use the money he had saved up for my higher education. We decided that we would figure out later how to replenish the fund. We did not want to stop helping the needy because we were aware of their suffering. We wanted to do what we could to help them," says Nethra, who aspires to become an IAS officer when she grows up.
Nethra and her family's initiative has received accolades from far and wide, the greatest one being her being named the Goodwill Ambassador for the Poor by the United Nations Association for Development And Peace (UNADAP). She has also received the Dixon Scholarship, awarded by Spiritual Philosopher Dr Dominic F Dixon, worth Rs 1 lakh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated her in his weekly 'Mann Ki Baat' address, while the CM of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that the cost of her higher education will be borne by the State Government. "I have received a letter from the Governor congratulating me and my father on our initiative. We don't want anyone who comes to our doorstep, seeking help, to return empty-handed. We will continue to feed these families until the situation improves and their livelihoods are restored," adds Nethra.