Making Us Proud: This Tea-Seller’s Effort For Slum Children Can Put Ministers To Shame

India never fell short of social reformers, so finding a social activist is nothing new but the way they have evolved in our nation is captivating. With a lot more efforts than we could ever think of, these people work for the society showing it off as an easy task. Well, we all know how chaiwalas have become famous by creating history. While one chaiwala is working for the nation at an international level, here is another chaiwala who is working for the nation at the ground level.

Prakash Rao from Cuttack, Odisha, is a person who had the willingness to study but situations in his family didn’t allow him. In class five, he had also received a scholarship but couldn’t take it, because of financial hindrances at home. Eventually, he had to start going to his father’s tea stall to help him at work. During exams, he would study at the stall but would get a scolding from his father, as his father believed that studies are not going to get him food, work is. And being the eldest son in the house he had to take certain responsibilities on himself. He got entangled in the responsibilities and landed up being at the tea stall for life.

Because of excessive hard work at the stall and due to vitamin deficiency Rao fell ill resulting to him being paralyzed down from waist. He was then on bed for the next six months. And when he was back on feet he discovered that some anonymous helped him by donating a unit of blood, which actually helped him to be physically back.

Thereafter from 1976, Rao started donating blood at regular intervals and one of the instance was when he helped the son of a rickshaw puller from an accident. According to him he has got a lot from the society and he can pay that back at least by giving blood. He was never into social activities but later on he was concerned for the children in slums and their future. Children of people like rickshaw pullers, daily-wage earners and municipality drain cleaners. He started teaching the children in his house. He faced a lot of problems there even as their parents did not allow them to study, as their ideology matched to that of Rao’s father. He teaches students till standard three and then admits them in government schools for further studies.

He spends 50% of his earnings for the school. As a part of nutrition and attraction for the children to come to school, he also provides them 100 ml of milk along with some biscuits every day. NGO’s and other social institutes also provide a helping hand to Rao and so the Mahila Jagruti Samiti gives funds to pay the annual salary of the teachers.

Rao’s wife is a nurse and he is a proud father of two daughters. For him the school is of primary importance and his family is what comes next. He was also felicitated by the Odisha Human Rights Commission on World Human Rights Day in 2015.

The only motivation for him to come so far was the desire to return back to the society and the only thing he thought of was, if children can’t come to school he can take the school to the children.

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