New Delhi: A 12-year-old girl who saved the lives of two children in a quarry in Kerala and a 15-year-old boy who rescued a 55-year-old man from a train accident in Madhya Pradesh are among the 23 children who have been named for the National Bravery Awards this year for their exemplary acts of courage.
In a press meet here on Monday, Gita Siddartha, president of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) introduced the brave-hearts who will be given the award. Of the 23 -- nine girls and 14 boys -- two children will be awarded posthumously.
Bibek Sharma, an 11-year-old boy from Sikkim who saved the life of a 7-year-old girl, said: 'I feel very proud because I saved a life and my message is that people must help each other'.
Sharma held out his arms and caught the girl who fell from the second floor of a building. Both fell onto the concrete ground and had to be rushed to the hospital to tend to their injuries.
The prestigious Sanjay Chopra bravery award will be conferred on 11-year-old Priyanshu Joshi from Uttarakhand who saved his sister from the clutches of a leopard after fighting him valiantly with his bare hands and school bag.
Thirteen-year-old Jismi K.M. from Kerala, who saved two children from drowning, will be conferred the Geeta Chopra bravery award.
Shuruti Lodhi, 13, and Champa Kanwar, six, will be awarded the bravery award posthumously.
Lodhi was participating in a 'Run to Live' race organised by an NGO at Dehradun last year. During the race, a tree suddenly fell on her. Even then she warned other children, so that they could escape and thus saved their lives.
An emotional Sumita Lodhi, Shuruti's mother said: 'She wanted to be a software engineer... but she is no more. She was our only child.'
Kanwar from Rajashtan was selected for the award for an unsuccessful attempt to save the life of her sister from a fire -- in the process losing her own life and that of her sister's too.
The awardees have been selected by a committee comprising representatives of various ministries, NGOs and ICCW members. They will receive a medal, certificate and cash award by the prime minister ahead of the Republic Day Jan 26.
According to the ICCW, eligible awardees will be granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling as part of ICCW's sponsorship programme and will be facilitated to study professional courses like medical and engineering under the Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme.
The central government also announced reservation of some seats in medical and engineering colleges and polytechnics for the winners of the bravery awards of 2009.
The children will also take part in the Republic Day parade.
The National Bravery Awards recognising deeds of brave children have been initiated by ICCW since 1957.