From a real hero to a greater hero. One of last week's recipients of the Reliance and CNN-IBN Real Heroes '09 award, Anson Thomas has handed over his entire prize money of Rs 5 lakh to a former sex worker he'd rescued in 1991.
The award was a recognition well deserved by the 37-year-old foot soldier from Mumbai, a saviour of sorts for the nameless faces up for sale at Mumbai's red light district Kamathipura every night
For the last decade and a half, Thomas has been on a mission to rescue the sex workers .
He fights the brothel owners, convinces the unrelenting authorities and conducts raids and has so far rescued over 65 minors.
Thomas says, “This award is something I was given for my work. How can I keep it for myself. I'm giving the Rs 5 lakh award to a sister, a lady we'd rescued in 1991. I've asked her to buy a house for herself and her family with it."
The gesture comes as a shocker for it's recipient not unfamiliar to the kindness of this saviour who convinced her of a life beyond prostitution 10 years ago and helped rehabilitate her in a different location with a fresh identity. He also helped her get married and start a new life.
The recipient says, "I don't know what to say. We are so blessed. I don't even know how to thank him for this. This money will save my family and give my children a decent living, education and a new life.
Anson says he hopes his work will be an inspiration to others.
In a speech at the the award ceremony, Anson Thomas had the following words -- "My dream is that we should all strive to change our country's red light areas into green light areas."
It certainly seems that the beginning has already got its green signal.