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Regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Heroes, here on Earth

Some of the unforgettable faces and stories from the event...

Jhinuk Mazumdar, Debraj Mitra, Subhajoy Roy And Nadia Imam Calcutta Published 07.09.19, 08:49 PM
Aronyatesh Ganguly receives the award from Ujjwal K Chowdhury, pro vice-chancellor, Adamas University

Aronyatesh Ganguly receives the award from Ujjwal K Chowdhury, pro vice-chancellor, Adamas University Pictures by Gautam Bose and Bishwarup Dutta

Aronyatesh Ganguly, 8, rushed to Howrah station from Nazrul Mancha on Saturday. The pint-sized eight-year-old boy from Serampore was among several real-life heroes who were celebrated at The Telegraph School Awards for Excellence 2019, presented by IIHM and powered by Sister Nivedita University.

At the awards venue on Saturday morning, The Telegraph Education Foundation trustee Barry O’Brien had called it the “report card of life”. Some of the unforgettable faces and stories from the event, partnered by Adamas University and The Bhawanipur Education Society College, follow:

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Aronyatesh rushed to Howrah because he had to catch a train to Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital for another round of check-ups. Two years ago, Aronyatesh was officially declared a cancer survivor. In between his visits to the doctor and school duties, he dazzles in rifle shooting, table tennis, chess and swimming.

This year, he went to Moscow to participate in the World Children’s Winners Games, held for young cancer survivors, from July 4 to 7.

He won gold in table tennis and took part in shooting, swimming, chess and football.

On Saturday, the student of Sree Ram Krishna Shishu Bhavan School in Uttarpara received a special honour under the Adamas University Award for Outstanding Talent in Sports.

Aronyatesh, who had come with his mother, said: “Rifle shooting and swimming are my favourite hobbies.” He practises shooting at an academy in Bhadreswar and swims almost every day at a local club.

His parents had to leave their jobs to take care of him and sell their jewellery to fund his treatment. “His interest in sports has grown manifold over the past year and a half. He spends hours watching YouTube videos of shooting and swimming strokes,” said his mother Kaveri. Aronyatesh, whose name means the garden of heaven, also loves playing chess with his father.

Pamela Banerjee (centre)  receives the scholarship from Sharon and Vijay Singh Chauhan at Nazrul Mancha on Saturday. On the left is Ashikatun Nesa, a Class II student, who received the same scholarship

Pamela Banerjee (centre) receives the scholarship from Sharon and Vijay Singh Chauhan at Nazrul Mancha on Saturday. On the left is Ashikatun Nesa, a Class II student, who received the same scholarship

Pamela Banerjee, 19, needed surgery twice in seven months, first to remove blood clots and later to have 36 metal screws installed to fix her fractured skull. She recovered in a few months, appeared in her Class XII boards the next year and, immediately afterwards, took up a job with a BPO.

Until two weeks ago, the first-year student of economics honours would attend classes from 10.30am to 4.30pm and work the night shift from 9pm to 7am.

“While we were waiting for a date to be set for my second operation, my father had a stroke and became paralytic. Our business suffered because of that. After recovering, I had to get a job and take care of some of the family’s expenses, including my education,” Pamela said.

In October 2018, the Class XII student of the Guru Teg Bahadur Public School in Durgapur had met with a motorbike accident and suffered a haemorrhage under the skull.

On Saturday, Pamela received The Sonika Chauhan 27 Foundation Scholarship and a courage certificate. The spunky girl also handed over certificates of courage to other students who had beaten the odds.

“I felt honoured to hand over awards to students; I had not expected it,” she said. She recently quit her job and now gives private lessons.

Arjun Das receives the scholarship from Murshida Khatun, headmistress of a madarsa in Murshidabad

Arjun Das receives the scholarship from Murshida Khatun, headmistress of a madarsa in Murshidabad

Arjun Das, 14, from Lakshmikantapur in South 24-Parganas, finishes his homework in empty compartments of local trains. Born into poverty, things became worse when his father abandoned the family after the birth of his sister.

Arjun was roaming around Lakshmikantapur railway station when he caught the eye of Minati Das, a teacher at Kakdwip Jnanadamoyee Vidyapith, a residential school.

She got him admitted to her school.

The boy would get midday meals at the school but his mother and sister had little to eat. So Arjun started selling fruits and vegetables at Bamun More, Kakdwip, with his mother.

Arjun could have stayed at the school hostel but since his mother and sister had no place to live, he started living with them at Sealdah station.

Matters improved slightly a year ago, when an NGO offered him books for his education.

Mother and son now buy vegetables from Lakshmikantapur and sell them in Calcutta. Arjun carries on with his studies, finishing his homework on a local train while returning from Calcutta.

The family now lives at a health centre in Kakdwip, courtesy the local administration.

On Saturday, Arjun received The HVM Scholarship at Nazrul Mancha. “I want to join the army,” he said.

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