Devarapalli Prakash Rao, who has a tea stall at Cuttack Bakshi Bazar, Odisha has been conferred with Padma Shri award on Republic Day, 2019.
Since 2018, 59-year-old Rao has been making headlines across the nation. He first came under the spotlight when Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned his work during one of his Mann Ki Bhaat radio broadcasts.
The reason that the 59-year-old is being conferred with Padma Shri award is that despite being from a poor background, Rao has been setting aside half his income from selling tea for educating 70-plus slum children, aged four to nine.
These are the kids of rickshaw pullers, daily wage earners and municipal drain workers, who don’t have the privilege to access quality education.
By starting a school called ‘Asha O Ashwasana’ in 2000, Rao ensured these children do not get pulled away by crimes and alcohol, and instead concentrate on education.
“I got a call from Delhi saying that I am being conferred with the fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri. I don’t deserve such a big award, but if people want this award for me, it will be an inspiration for others.”
Rao, who had quit school due after passing Class X due to poverty, is now an inspiration to many.
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