D Prakash Rao: Tea seller who turned ‘Messiah’ for slum children

Cuttack: He might be a small-time tea seller, but D Prakash Rao has helped slum children in Cuttack in a big way to get education.

Forced to leave his studies midway in Class 11 due to family constraints, Prakash Rao understands the importance of education and that is why he has been running a primary school called ‘Asha o Aswasana’ for underprivileged children from many slums in nearby areas. Most of what he earns from his tea stall in Buxi Bazar, Rao spends towards the school.

Around 75 students are studying here and they are provided with an afternoon meal along with proper health facilities. The main motive behind this is to ensure proper education and nutrition for many slum children.

Speaking to odishatv.in, Rao expressed, “I cannot do big things and donate huge amount of money for charity but at least I can bring a change by imparting education to the underprivileged children.”

The school that started with only one room in his home has grown up now because of some help from a few generous people in the city. There is one room in his school which is used as classroom along with a small adjacent room as his office and kitchen and the adjacent area is used as a small play school for nursery kids now.

“I am associated with him for last 20 years. His step of running a school for the underprivileged students from his little earning from the tea stall is really commendable,” says another social worker Radheshyam Das.

Rao’s school has Classes I to III and after completing primary schooling here, students are sent to other schools for higher studies. Eight girls from his school have passed matriculation and are now in college.

A student from the school Renuka said, “I started my education from this school and Prakash Rao is my first Guru. I am really thankful to him. I didn’t have money to go to college in an auto rickshaw, so Sir has bought me a bi-cycle.“

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Asked about the opposition faced from the parents, Rao replied, “In the beginning days, people usually complained about the need of education for their children, they questioned me but I stayed firm with my decision despite their protest”.

Apart from the school, Rao has been a regular blood donor at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. He has been donating blood since last 43 years. He also provides boiled milk and water for free to the patients coming to SCB Medical. He has even decided to donate his skeleton to the anatomy department of SCB medical College for the study of future medical students.

“Government has provided me an office on the SCB campus and there I provide facilities to boil water and milk for attendants of patients,” informed Prakash Rao.

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His tea stall is also unique in many ways. It is known for a wide variety of teas including sugar free and lemon tea.

“I stay in Bengaluru but whenever I come to Cuttack, I come here to have tea and love the way he serves tea in a clean environment. He is a very nice person and I feel proud to come here to have tea from a social worker,” said one of his customers Rajesh Kumar Das.

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