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A story of exemplary courage: Meet D. Prakash Rao from Cuttack, Odisha
A story of exemplary courage: Meet D. Prakash Rao from Cuttack, Odisha

A year ago, when the TV show Satyamev Jayate showcased Magic Bus’ work in moving children from poverty, 57-year-old D.Prakash Rao was one of the millions of viewers.

“This was just the organisation I was looking for,” he said, inspired by our experiential learning approach “I wanted children from my school to have the best education possible."

D. Prakash Rao lives in a slum cluster near Buxibazaar in Cuttack, Odisha. He runs a roadside tea stall here – the only source of income for his family of four.

In spite of his overwhelming responsibilities at home and the tea stall, Prakash finds time for the young school-going children in his locality. Between 9.30 and 10am in the morning, he distributes 50 litres of milk to all the school-going children in his locality. “How can a child learn in empty stomach?”.

Having lived through poverty, Prakash understands the struggle of not having enough to eat, let alone go to school. His father’s untimely death caused him to drop out and take up a job and shoulder the responsibilities of the family. It was this experience that led him to set up a school in his slum 15 years ago.“I want to make sure no child misses out on school just because of poverty,” he says. “In my slum, for instance, I decided that if children can’t make it to school, school must come to them," Prakash has opened a small school in his slum and hired a teacher, the entire cost of which comes out of the earnings from his tea stall. The school holds classes for children from the first till the fifth standard. “Primary education is crucial. It is the foundation for further studies”, says Prakash.

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