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Meet The Cuttack Librarian Giving Free Education To Slum Children

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30 April 2017

Rabindra Kumar Nayak/Sangita Agarwal

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Cuttack: Welcome to a small room at College Chhak where scores of children from the neighbouring slum flock in the evening classes run by Rakesh Satpathy,a librarian by profession in a school, who started this free education initiative more than a decade ago.

“I am attached to a social service project in our school which takes care of the primary school slum children (class 1 & 2). But after that, the bright students who want to pursue their studies further have no one to bank upon. So, I contacted these students and started giving them free lessons.”

Not only free education, Rakesh has even made their admissions in the government school from his own pocket. He wanted the slum children to acquire a better and dignified life.

“When I was very small, my engineer father was rendered jobless after privatization of firms. We have seen a very difficult life. I was not able to pursue my education because of lack of funds. When I noticed these slum children having sparkle in their eyes and wanted to change their future through education, I stepped in to help them out,” clarified the social activist.

“I realise that I will have to do my share to educate these children whose future, otherwise, would become as bleak as their parents'," he added.

His sweat paid off as many students have completed their matriculation and some are pursuing their graduation. They are now able to dream of good careers that were otherwise beyond their reach.

“My father lost his hands in an accident when I was a kid. So my mother worked as a domestic help to bring me up and my three siblings. As I was the eldest, I started working in a roadside dhaba as an errand boy. I always wanted to pursue my education. When I heard of Rakesh sir, I contacted him and he helped me out. I am presently doing my graduation under his able guidance,” said a beaming Anil Kumar Das, who now sees a bright future ahead.

Rani Gupta had lost all hope of getting education as her father lost sight in an accident. Her mother worked as a domestic maid and her hopes of getting higher education was shattered.

“I met Rakesh sir who made it possible. I want to become a teacher in future and help the poor children like me to pursue their studies. I also want to earn enough so that my mother need not work any more,” said Rani pursuing graduation.

Over the years, Rakesh has brought changes in my children’s life in his own little way and is still steady on the path. He has started an organization named ‘Sambhavna’ where some of his local friends are members and contribute a small amount every month to this cause.

“Some of the expenses are met with the contributions made by them and I shell out from my pocket too when needed. I get a lot of self satisfaction when these children express their gratitude towards me. I want nothing else,” signed off the good Samaritan of the millennium city.

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Rakesh Satpathy, Teacher

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Rani Gupta, Student

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Anil Kumar Das, Student