Akshara Santha Harekala Hajabba
|Known for||Social Service|
|Awards||Padma Shri (2020)|
Padma Shri recipient Harekala Hajabba is an Indian social activist and orange vendor living and working in the city of Mangaluru, Karnataka, India. He saved money from his business to build a school in his village. In 2020, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award, for his initiative and achievement.
Harekala Hajabba was born into a Muslim family of very modest financial means, he dropped out of school at an early age in order to earn money and contribute towards family expenses. 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 he vowed to make a school in his village, which was deprived of school. He kept part of his savings from selling oranges, to start a school in his village, Newpadapu. He was able to start a small school. Today, the school, which has grown with government support and donations from private individuals, is known as Hajabba School. He is affectionately known as 'Akshara Santa' (letter-saint). He is known for the extraordinary contribution he made, despite his own relatively constrained circumstances, to the cause of education in his native village. Hajabba's next dream is to build a Pre-University college in his village.
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