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The Extraordinary Crusader Neeraj Murmu: Championing Child Mine Laborers

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At only 22-years-old, Neeraj Murmu, from Giridih district’s Duliyakaram village in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, is already a recognized global hero. Neeraj was one of 23 young Indian people, all under 26 years old, to accept the highly celebrated Diana Award in 2020. It was given for his selfless and remarkable humanitarian work in educating disadvantaged children.

He worked as a child laborer in the mica mines for 4 years. He was only 9 years old when he became a mica mine child laborer. It was when Neeraj was 13-years-old that his fortunes first changed. He was rescued from a mining life by members of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF). Mr. Satyarthi has worked diligently for 40-plus years to protect children’s rights and has gained international fame. In 2014, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with teenager (at the time), Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

After independently completing his second year in college, he felt confident to establish a village school in 2018. Like his mentor, getting the word out about his free school, advising youth to leave the mines, enrolling new students, and persuading parents that education develops skills for a better life, are key objectives of Neeraj’s mission. Thanks to his school, Neeraj has helped 200 underprivileged children in his village get an education. He has also rescued 20 child laborers from mica mining and enrolled them in his school.

So, what’s next for him? “After completing my BA, I want to complete [a] B.Ed so that I can open more schools and give new life to underprivileged children,” says Neeraj. He wishes to study further and doesn’t plan to stop studying and teaching until his last breath.

Supreme Master Ching Hai is “pleased to present the Shining World Kindness Award to Neeraj Murmu, plus US$20,000 to help out with the children’s school’s needs, with all love and high praise for your dedication to the less fortunate children. May Heaven bless you and all under your care toward a bright future ahead.”
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