Devarapalli Prakash Rao, who runs a tea stall in the city’s Buxi Bazaar area has been conferred with nation’s top honour Padma Shri for his contribution in the field of social work. Selling tea for the past 50 years, what more that he gives away is education to 80 children from the earnings he makes as a tea vendor.
Popularly known as D Prakash Rao, he is an unsung hero but continues to serve people with his little earning. Tea seller by profession, living in a slum cluster near Buxi Bazaar area in Cuttack city, Prakash Rao has set an example for many who dream to do something good for society and to serve mankind.
He wakes up at 4 AM and runs his tea stall until 10 AM. He runs a school for poor children despite being frugal himself. His dedication towards teaching and inculcating education is why he is being honoured.
Upon receiving the news, he said, “Yesterday at around 11:30 pm, I got a call from Delhi saying that I am being conferred with the fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri. I don’t deserve such a big award, but if people want this award for me, it will be an inspiration for others.”
Rao has contributed half of his revenues to setting up and running the school ‘Asha O Ashwasana’ for about 70-80 students, who are offered education from class I to V standard. He has hired a teacher and the entire cost comes from his tea stall earnings.
Along with imparting education to poor kids, Rao regularly provides food to slum kids. He is an active blood donor, having donated his blood over 200 times, and platelets over 7 times since 1978.
Rao’s efforts were also praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.