Saturday, Oct 01, 2022
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Her mission in life—to give lepers and child prostitutes a reason to smile

Her mission in life—to give lepers and child prostitutes a reason to smile
Her mission in life—to give lepers and child prostitutes a reason to smile
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

But Bhuyian was made of sterner stuff. Armed with nothing but self-confidence and a steady resolve, she secretly continued her studies and nurtured dreams of making a difference in the lives of the underprivileged. Her dreams came true in 1985 when she founded the Rama Devi Vidya Mandir with 15 girls in a dilapidated Katcheri house in Naharkanta, a Dalit village on the outskirts of Bhubaneshwar. She was only 23 then and didn't mind working with lepers, child prostitutes and likes. She had a silent ally in her mother who was a follower of Rama Devi, a prominent social activist and reformer of the area.

More than fifteen years since this humble beginning, the completely self-sufficient school today boasts of housing 165 students, 13 teachers and four instructors. The rented premises where she stayed, which also doubled up as the school, has today given way to a concrete structure. But all this has come with a price tag—she had to sell the ornaments her father had set aside for her marriage, she had to fight pimps when she brought child prostitutes to her school and she had to wage a battle with an insensitive village which refused to have leper children in their locality.

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