Stories of Bharat - 13 year old daughter of Madurai hair dresser uses 5 lakh rupees saved for higher education and marriage to serve needy during lockdown

    06-Jun-2020
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Nethra's noble gesture was praised by PM Modi in the latest edition of 'Mann ki Baat' on May 31. She has been appointed as UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Poor.
- TS Venkstesan 

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Nethra with the letter from UNADAP appointing her as UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Poor
 
13 year old Nethra convinced her family to use all the money saved for her higher education and marriage to serve the migrants and needy people affected by the lockdown. The young Madurai school girl never knew her decision to serve the needy would earn her fame and a chance to become UN Goodwill Ambassador for the poor.
 
Nethra’s 47 year old father, Mohan, is a hair dresser by profession and a native of Melamadai. He owns a saloon in the temple town of Madurai. Nethra studies in 9th standard at a local school and wants to become an IAS officer. Mohan saves a part of his earnings for daughter’s higher study and marriage. Seven years ago a group of people took away his hard earned money and they were left stranded with no savings, informed Mohan to the media.
 
Undeterred by losing the hard earned money, Mohan worked hard to set apart money for his daughter's education and marriage. After seeing the plight of the migrant labourers and the sufferings of poor during Covid19 lockdown, Nethra convinced her family to give away all the savings to such people. Mohan and his family, who had undergone the bitter experience after losing their entire savings seven years ago, distributed grocery and other essential kits to needy. 
 
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Nethra with her father Mohan and mother
 
“We have spent nearly 5 lakhs, the money we saved for my daughter’s marriage and studies. Initially I gave the kit to only a few. On hearing this, people started knocking at our door seeking help. This made us to spend the entire savings for the needy. I hope with God’s grace, I can earn back through my customers whatever I have spent for the poor. If needed, I will even pledge my wife’s jewels” said Mohan.
 
Mohan’s kind gesture made him popular nationally when Prime Minister Modi praised him and Nethra in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme that was aired on Sunday 31st May. Media thronged Mohan’s house for bites and photo shoot. Many politicians and leaders visited him at his house and lauded his efforts. Ramakrishna Matha at Trichy has come forward with a financial assistance to Nethra to pursue her higher studies.
 
UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Poor
 
Nethra’s joy knew no bounds, when she received an unexpected telephone call from a UN representative. The caller who identified himself as a representative from United Nations Association for Development and Peace (UNADAP), wanted to know whether she would be willing to be their goodwill ambassador for the poor. Though she was unable to believe it for a moment, she accepted the offer. In recognition of her efforts, UNADAP has announced a scholarship of Rs.1 lakh.
 
The United Nations goodwill ambassadors would be given chance to speak at conferences at New York and Geneva, addressing civil society forums and others. They also aid in fund raising and to spread government legislations to the targeted groups.