Karnataka lad’s selfless act wins many a Kerala heart

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Kozhikode-based charitable trust to sponsor and build house for Raichur floods hero Venkatesh

The visuals may have looked right out of a movie: a young boy wading through the water and showing the way for an ambulance to drive over a submerged bridge.

The boy, Venkatesh from the Karnataka village of Hirerayakumpi, became a hero of last month’s floods in Raichur district. The brave act of the 12-year-old helped show the way for the ambulance carrying six children and the body of a woman. He had risked his own life, ignoring words of caution from his friends.

Venkatesh may not have imagined that his act would be recognised in the neighbouring State of Kerala and that a group of people would build him a house and sponsor his entire education. The Kozhikode-based Helping Hand Charitable Trust will honour him at a function here on Sunday.

Extraordinary story

“We were moved by his extraordinary story and felt that his courageous act needed to be rewarded,” says Rasheed Thottathil, a founding member of Helping Hand. “We got in touch with him through our friends in Bengaluru. We found that he was living in underprivileged conditions and was in need of a proper house.”

So the members of the trust decided to build one for him. “We will also be sponsoring his entire education,” says Rasheed. “He can study as long as he wants to.”

He feels Venkatesh deserved to be acknowledged in Kerala as well. “That is why we felt he should be felicitated publicly,” he says. “We will conduct it at Care Home, which we have built to provide free shelter to poor patients undergoing treatment at the nearby Government Medical College Hospital. Helping Hand is also involved in several other charitable acts, especially in the health sector.”

He believes that the honouring of Venkatesh would inspire several others to do such selfless acts in testing times. Battered by devastating floods for two years in a row, Kerala could especially appreciate the significance of such heroic acts.

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