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Subadh Kumar Nayak

Rourkela: Not just all seasons of the year, but she has somewhat managed to stand tall in the face of adversities in seasons of her life with her indomitable spirit.

Meet Kishori Jena, a middle-aged woman of Rourkela who has now become a newsmaker from news seller, thanks to her nearly two-decades of inspiring journey as a newspaper hawker.

Asked about her empowerment story, Kishori says that she had never dreamt of such a turnaround in her life to become a paper vendor, which is usually considered as a male-dominated profession.

Her struggles for own survival and burden to look after her five brothers and sisters ever since her father passed away 19 years ago forced her to choose the path of self-employment. Instead of begging others, she started the job of newspaper vendor to stand on her own legs and during the course of time, she sacrificed everything, including her marriage.

"My youngest brother was only two-year-old when my father passed away and as I was the eldest among my siblings I had to look after them. I decided not to marry only to look after them. I know that I would have lived well had I got married but now I am even more happy as my efforts have given a better life to my siblings," said Kishori.

On her choice of profession, Kishori says, "People sometimes think that selling newspaper is low profession but I have never thought like that. Many also take it as a male type work but I also disagree on that because no work indeed is big or small."

Speaking about Kishori's selflessness, her brother Guru Charan Jena said, "She never ever allowed us to feel the absence of our father. By selling newspapers she looked after us and helped us to get jobs in private sectors. Besides, she remained unmarried but arranged our marriage."

The daily routine of Kishori begins with collecting newspapers from bus to sorting them and handing them over to her associate vendors. She distributes Odia, Hindi and English newspapers as per the demand of her customers.

Time and again Kishori Jena has been felicitated by different organisations and gained lots of appreciations for her exemplary work.

"It is a noble work as she helps people stay abreast of the news. In fact, she is a role model for people who complain of unemployment. Either big or small, people should do something to earn their livelihood," said Akshaya K. Samal, a native of Rourkela.

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