72-year-old on a mission to eradicate illiteracy
In an exemplary show of community service, a 72-year-old woman on a mission to eradicate illiteracy has donned the mantle of an honorary teacher for almost five decades tutoring tiny-tots in remote village school of Orissa's Kendrapara district.
For septuagenarian Paravati Mohanty, educating small children is a passion. Since 1964, she is pursuing her mission with a zeal at Patapur village under Aul block headquarters.
Free services rendered by her come in handy as the school is often hit by shortage of teachers. Many of her students are established in life and that includes Pitambar Das, now officiating as the headmaster of the village school.
"She is loved and respected by all in the village. She is an excellent teacher and expert in handling children. She arrives on time and teaches standard-1 and 2 students", said Pitambar Das, Headmaster of Patapur primary school.
"In fact, she taught me. I learnt Oriya alphabets and grammar from her. That was in 1968", he said.
"As per school and mass education department rules, no outsider is allowed to teach in government-run schools. But we had sought permission. The department was impressed with her act of benevolence and promptly accorded permission", he said.
"I have read up to class 6th. Early marriage stopped my study. Despite discontinuing, I read at home. As my study was discontinued, I had resolved to teach children who are deprived of education. Since 1964, I am doing this when the school was running in a thatched house", reminisced Parvati.
"An inherent urge drove me to teach children. I derive intrinsic pleasure out of it", she said.
"I feel I have somehow succeeded in my mission. My two daughters are graduates and are now married off. Many whom I taught are settled in life. My husband is no more. But he was a source of inspiration for me to take up such work", Paravati narrated.
"Now the government might have enacted legislation making primary education mandatory for all children. But Parvati didi had vowed to make children literate decades ago. But the irony is she remains unnoticed despite her service" Pramod Mallick, a local resident, said.
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