Community members gather around two children from Adelaide who were orphaned after a car crash claimed the lives of their parents while visiting India.
- Hems Peddagamalla and Rama Batthula were killed in a taxi accident in India
- Their children are hospitalized
- Adelaide’s Telugu community has raised nearly $200,000 to help their family
Members of Adelaide’s Indian community raised around $200,000 for the family.
Hemambaradhar “Hems” Peddagamalla and his wife Rama Batthula were killed on Wednesday when their taxi crashed near Hyderabad on their way to the funeral of Mrs Batthula’s father.
Their children Bhavagna, 9, and Palvith, 6, were injured in the crash and are still in hospital.
Mr Peddagamalla and Ms Batthula, of Flagstaff Hill, were heavily involved with the Telugu Association of South Australia.
He was best known for singing in the Telugu language, while she was a volunteer at the association’s language school.
They had lived in Adelaide for over a decade.
Telugu association chairman Sivaji Pathuri said the family is an integral part of the local community.
“It’s so tragic – you can’t imagine,” he said.
“Anyone who met them once, everyone shed a tear, and we can’t even think for three or four days.
“When we emailed members, we couldn’t even find the words to describe it.
“It’s so tragic and a huge loss to the community.”
Huge Response to Fundraising Effort
He launched a GoFundMe page on Thursday to help raise money for the funerals of Mr Peddagamalla and Ms Batthula, for the children’s medical bills and to pay off the family’s mortgage.
He had already raised $196,000 this afternoon.
About 2,500 people contributed.
A doctor who is a member of the association and already in India is on his way to monitor the health of the children.
Mr Pathuri hopes the children can return to Adelaide and be cared for either by members of the community or by their grandparents, if they can come from India to look after them.
Mr. Pathuri thanked everyone who contributed to the fundraising campaign.
“Everyone has contributed and we are very grateful to those who have donated so far and this will not be possible without all of these donations and all of the support and community support given to Adelaide and across Australia.
“We are very grateful for that.
“I hope we get the children home safely.”
A memorial service for the couple was held yesterday at Lockleys Primary School, where the Telugu Association language school is located.