A 12-year-old boy who once donated close to Rs 1 lakh to a welfare home run by Mother Teresa’s organisation has handed over the contents of his piggy bank for the relief of victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.
Over the past year, Akash Mukherjee – who shares his birthday with Mother Teresa – had been setting aside part of his pocket money every day in a piggy bank to buy sports gear.
On Tuesday, the Class VII student of St Xavier's School didn't think twice before breaking open the earthen piggy-bank and donating the amount of Rs 3,563 he had saved to the Nepalese consulate in Kolkata.
"I couldn't bear the sight of an earthquake victim, buried under rubble, with his hands sticking out from under the debris, which was published in the newspapers the day after the quake. I decided to do something. The only way I could help was to donate the money I had saved," Mukherjee told Hindustan Times.
This was not for the first time that he has donated for a worthy cause. Two years ago, he had donated close to Rs 1 lakh he earned by acting in the Bengali film “Anubhab” to Nirmal Hriday, the welfare home in Kolkata run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.
On Tuesday, the boy’s parents – Manisha and Gora Mukherjee – picked him up from school and headed to the Nepalese consulate in Alipore. Manisha had already brought Mukherjee’s piggy bank from home.
"I love to play football. I had plans to buy a football with the money. I would have also gifted something to my parents. But then I thought that if this small amount brings some relief to even two quake victims, I will be more than happy," he said.
The family was received by Surendra Thapa, Nepal’s deputy consul general in Kolkata. Mukherjee broke open the piggy bank that his grandfather Ashim Mukherjee had gifted him on his birthday a year-and-half ago.
Since then, he had been saving small amounts – sometimes a Re 1 coin and sometimes Rs 10. “He used to keep aside small amounts of money from whatever we used to give him as his pocket money. We never knew that he would spend it for this cause," said Manisha.
As he broke open the piggy bank, coins and notes of various denominations tumbled out. Aided by his mother and an official of the consulate, the boy counted the money.
"On Monday, I got a call from the Mukherjees and heard that the boy wants to donate the amount to the disaster relief fund. I was overwhelmed. The solidarity and humanity he has shown is beyond measure," said Thapa.
Earlier, the Nepalese consulate opened an account in the United Bank of India's Dalhousie branch that is linked with the Nepal's Prime Minister Disaster Relief Fund to receive donations. Mukherjee's savings were deposited in this account.