19 September, 2020

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
Cuttack's Kadambini Bhuyian was always sure of her calling in life—to bring about a change in the lives of the less fortunate. But life's never been kind to her. She had to fight a hostile neighbourhood in the conservative coastal district of Salepur where it was taboo for girls from respectable families to work for Dalits. And then she had to face the wrath of her father's anger who discontinued her schooling and made her work with him in the field to discourage her altruistic bent of mind.

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...


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