March 3rd, 2016
Image, News Source: Times of India
Khimjibhai Prajapati, a 68-year-old man, can be usually found begging outside the Simandhar Swami Jain Temple and the Hanuman Temple in Mehsana, Gujarat. To a bystander, he blends in with the rest of the beggars who make a living with the little change that they manage to collect on a daily basis. But this man has used most of his savings to gift gold earrings to ten underprivileged girls of Mehsana.
In keeping with his annual tradition of donating alms to empower girls through education, Prajapati was to visit Magpara School’s anganwadi on February 2nd this year. Unlike every year, the girls and their parents were in for a thorough surprise as Prajapati arrived with ten jewellery boxes comprising tiny gold earrings for the little ones.
Over the last 13 years, Khimjibhai has poured over Rs.80,000 into buying books, uniforms and paying fees for poor girls as he strongly believes that the gender prejudice existing in Mehsana can only be eradicated through education. The Times of India quoted him saying, “Girls need to be encouraged to study. They must become self-reliant and stand on their feet. The situation in Mehsana is not good. There are very few girls compared to boys and this the reason why I try to encourage them with such incentives.” He has donated to girls belonging to 12 primary schools, including the Disha Day School for the disabled.
This year, when Khimjibhai expressed his intentions of gifting gold earrings to a few destitute young girls, the school teachers picked 10 children of daily wage labourers and blacksmiths. Thoroughly overwhelmed by the show of gratitude by this old man, one of the mothers, Kumud Luhariya, told Times of India, “We struggle to meet monthly expenses. We never dreamt of getting gold.” Deepak Shah, the jeweller from whom the gold was purchased by Khimjibhai, gave him the earrings at a discounted price showing support for his initiative. The total price of the ten pairs was about Rs.13,000 but it was offered at Rs.10,000 to Khimjibhai.
It is truly remarkable and awe-inspiring that a man who has feeble means for his own survival has used all his money to bring a little bit of happiness into these children’s lives. Sheetal Sathwara, who runs the anganwadi centre, was full of praise for Khimjibhai when she said, “Leave alone a beggar, I have never come across any poor person donating gold for girls in my entire life.”
Khimjibhai Prajapati, who walks with the help of crutches every day, collects loose change from considerate people outside temples only to donate all of it at the end of the year.
The Logical Indian salutes him for his dedication towards the cause of empowerment of girls. This selfless beggar has brought smiles into the lives so many young girls and will continue to do so!