COVID-19 | Swimmer donates prize money to relief fund

The 12-year-old boy, whose father is a daily wage labourer, presented a demand draft for ₹3,000 to the District Collector.

A 12-year-old boy donated the cash awards he won in swimming competitions to the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund for efforts to fight COVID-19 in Tiruppur on Thursday.

R. Upanishanth visited District Collector K. Vijayakarthikeyan along with his parents and presented the demand draft for ₹3,000. “My father is a daily wage worker who sells T-shirts on roads,” the boy, who has completed Class VII in a private school, told The Hindu over the phone.

He said that he had won the first place in district-level swimming competitions for the past three years and the State-level competition held in Madurai in February. “I watch the news on TV and saw many people who are suffering more than us right now,” he said, referring to the plight of migrant workers and homeless people amid the nationwide lockdown.

His father C. Ravikumar said that he did not want to discourage his son after he proposed to donate the cash awards. “I instructed him to save all the cash prizes he was winning for future purposes such as paying school fees,” he said. Apart from Upanishanth, Mr. Ravikumar said that he has a younger son studying in Class I.

A resident of Boyampalayam in Tiruppur city, Mr. Ravikumar said that he has been selling T-shirts on the streets of Boyampalayam on weekdays for nearly seven years and earns anywhere between ₹200 to ₹2,000 a day. “The past few weeks has been difficult as I did not even go outside [to sell t-shirts],” he said. When asked how he plans to help his family financially during these times, Mr. Ravikumar replied, “God is there. We will find a way.”

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