Ooha enjoys service rather than comfort

Ooha enjoys service rather than comfort
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Ooha Mahanthi

Highlights

Prefers social service as career to taking up job

The young woman from a landlord family in Vizianagaram, unlike other youth, enjoys spending time with downtrodden people rather with her peer group. She likes to visit remote villages, interact with helpless, homeless rather than visiting tourist spots like Ooty, Kullu-Manali and other beautiful locations. The 25-year-old Ooha Mahanthi, a law graduate, wants to get the tag of social service activist rather than high profiled, well settled lady. She wants to continue her career in helping and supporting the shattered communities but not to become an advocate or some other legal professional.

Ooha Mahanthi of Garudabilli village in Vizianagaram was born and brought up in a landlord's family. Her grandparents Appalanaidu and Ganapathi Rao and even her father Suresh also believe that service to humans is equal to service to God (Manava Seve Madhava Seva). The family used to spend their own funds to support the poor students to prosecute education, conducting awareness camps in surrounding villages on Balika Vidya, eradication of bonded and child labour, and preventing child marriages and others with an NGO Rural Development Welfare Society (RDWS) established by them. Now the third generation woman of the family, Ooha is looking after the activities of RDWS in remote areas of Vizianagaram and the villages bordering Odisha.

Ooha, continuing the legacy of her father Suresh and wants to console the tribes, the poorest of the poor in hilly areas. Hundreds of tribes were trained in tailoring, mobile repairing, electrician trades in villages bordering Odisha like Kerada and Sesikala. Ooha visits surrounding villages and identifies the needs and necessities of the school-going children and supports them in various ways.

More than 5,600 students were given school bags, textbooks and other stationery articles to continue their education. Even sanitaty napkins were also distributed to the adolescent girls and they were sensitised in using those napkins for hygiene and good health. Bridge centers were opened in tribal villages to support the cattle-rearers in order to make them literate. Around 1,000 children were brought out of that cattle-rearing profession and encouraged them to join schools.

Farmers in 24 villages of Pachipenta mandal were sensitized in natural farming and supported them in providing knowledge and other trainings. Even vermin-compost units also were established in those villages to improve soil health.

Ooha, visits all these villages and supervises the works and she enumerates the schemes and discuss with higher officials, experts to enhance the quality of the works.

Speaking on the services, "I enjoy work with rural people. These are kind-hearted and very much honest towards the others. It's very easy for us to guide and teach them the new customs and methods in various ways. Of course, after completing my Law graduation, I have some other ways to earn more and to lead lavish life in bigger cities but I like to be here to mingle with our local people. The villages, tribes, children became part and parcel of my life. Whenever I visit the village, I am mesmerised to see those innocent children gather around me. They love me and treated like sister and the elders of the families receive me like their family member. The government may not address every need of the village or an individual, so I search those corners and reach there with my staff and colleagues. I will continue the services as long as I am blessed by God and the people of this area. Even corporate houses are also supporting us in this aspect."

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