KOHIMA: Mhonbeni Ezung, 8, was among 24 children to receive the national bravery award on Sunday for rescuing her drowning grandmother from a river at Chudi village in Wokha district of Nagaland. She is the youngest recipient of the bravery awards this year.
The incident happened on January 28, 2014, when Mhonbeni had gone to her maternal grandmother’s home in Chudi village. Her grandmother, Renthunglo Jungi, then 78, wife of late Limomo Jungi, had taken her out for fishing to Anunga Hayi stream, 4 to 5 km from Chudi.
While fishing the grandmother suffered sudden cramps, followed by a stroke and fell unconscious. Sensing trouble, Mhonbeni ran back 4-5 km through the thick forests all alone to the village to call for help. Renthunglo was rushed to Sanis PHC, under Wokha district and was later referred to Dimapur.
Mhonbeni said her love for her grandmother gave her the courage to travel all the distance alone as saving her was her only concern that acted as a driving force for little Mhonbeni.
She also said her grandmother gave her ‘lots of love’ once she got better. She wants to become an engineer when she grows up.
N Longtsubemo Lotha, the proud father of Mhonbeni, said they received the award from the Prime Minister in Delhi. Longtsubemo is a havaldar in Nagaland’s Home Guards department.
The National Bravery Award Scheme is an endeavour by the Indian Council for Child Welfare to give due recognition to the children who show exemplary courage and perform meritorious service to inspire others to emulate their example.
Children will get a medal, certificate and cash under the scheme and the awardees will be granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling. The Centre has reserved some seats for the awardees in medical and engineering colleges and polytechnics.
The President of India and several other dignitaries will also host receptions in their honour. Several states will organize functions to honour them at the state-level.
It was in 1957 that two children — a boy and a girl — were first rewarded for their presence of mind and courage. Since then ICCW decided to confer national awards on children every year.
In 1987-88 ICCW instituted the Bharat Award for an outstanding, meritorious and gallant deed. The other special awards include the Geeta Chopra and Sanjay Chopra awards (instituted by ICCW in 1978) and the Bapu Gaidhani Awards (instituted in 1988-89).
Since the inception of the scheme in 1957, the ICCW has given awards to 895 brave children — 634 boys and 261 girls.