A passion for photography has always possessed this young engineer from Kerala, India. Now he knows there is a purpose, after a photo he took while walking through his village ended up changing a man’s life and received recognition from the Prime Minister of India.
Carrying a rented camera in search of stories, Nandu Ks did not find anything very interesting until one day he came to a bridge.
I always wanted to capture images that had a story to tell, images that had life.
“I noticed a man rowing a boat and picking up something from the river,” Nandu told GNN.
The old man was NS Rajappan, and he has been pulling plastic bottles from the river for years to earn a living. Paralyzed since he was five years old when affected by polio, his daily routine has kept Lake Vembanad’s waterways plastic-free, all from the seat of his little boat.
Without crutches, the 69-year-old dragged his legs a bit along the river bank to the Meenachil River, after which he was free to roam the waters in search of bottles.
From the bridge that day, Nandu witnessed people throwing bottles into the river, while below a smiling Rajappan picked them up.
Filling your jar with plastic only earns you around Rs 12 (17 cents), but it is enough for one meal, and it is satisfying to know that you are helping the environment.
“Someone should remove the waste from the water … I am doing what is possible for me,” he told a local media outlet.
Nandu uploaded her story and photos to her Pro Media Facebook Page, and people started to retweet him, including the director of the United Nations Environment Program, Erik Solheim, who suggested, “Let’s make this guy famous.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself praised Rajappan’s efforts during his monthly radio address. “I have seen news from Kerala that reminds us of our responsibilities,” he said, recounting the story to his listeners. Imagine how much he thinks! We must also be inspired by it and contribute to cleaning as much as possible ”.
The story subsequently went completely viral and inspired Indians to send gifts to the older worker.
He has been rewarded with a new motorboat, courtesy of a local businessman, and plans are in the works to build him a small house to replace the riverside shack that had been severely damaged by a storm.
Best of all, a Bangalore-based company that manufactures wheelchairs has provided you with a heavy-duty motorized wheelchair.
“With the support of thousands of people, both financially and morally, I could see his life change,” Nandu said.
And it all happened because of a photograph.
“I always wondered how it would feel to follow your passion, but I never knew his true feeling until the day I met Rajappan chettan (brother Rajappan),” says Nandu.
“I went to him and showed him the photo I clicked on. He smiled at me and then I knew what it meant to be a photographer. “
The two have become good friends and Nandu’s family invited him to dinner to show him the TV news segment with his good deeds. (See the video below).
“It takes a photographer to be in that moment and make that image happen so that the world knows the story.”
SHARE this amazing example on social media to inspire your friends …