72-year-old woman on a mission to eradicate illiteracy

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Kendrapara (Orissa), Feb 1 (PTI) In an exemplary showof community service, a 72-year-old woman on a mission toeradicate illiteracy has donned the mantle of an honoraryteacher for almost five decades tutoring tiny-tots in remotevillage school of Orissa''s Kendrapara district.

For septuagenarian, Paravati Mohanty, educating smallchildren is a passion. Since 1964, she is pursuing her missionwith a zeal at Patapur village under Aul block headquarters.

Free services rendered by her come in handy as theschool is often hit by shortage of teachers. Many of herstudents are established in life and that includes PitambarDas, now officiating as the headmaster of the village school.

�She is loved and respected by all in the village. Sheis an excellent teacher and expert in handling children. Shearrives on time and teaches standard-1 and 2 students�, saidPitambar Das, Headmaster of Patapur primary school.

�In fact, she taught me. I learnt Oriya alphabets andgrammar from her. That was in 1968�, he said.

�As per school and mass education department rules, nooutsider is allowed to teach in government-run schools. But wehad sought permission. The department was impressed with heract of benevolence and promptly accorded permission�, he said.

�I have read up to class 6th. Early marriage stoppedmy study. Despite discontinuing, I read at home. As my studywas discontinued, I had resolved to teach children who aredeprived of education. Since 1964, I am doing this when theschool was running in a thatched house", reminisced Parvati.

"An inherent urge drove me to teach children. I deriveintrinsic pleasure out of it", she said.

I feel I have somehow succeeded in my mission. My twodaughters are graduates and are now married off.

Many whom I taught are settled in life. My husband is no more.

But he was a source of inspiration for me to take up suchwork", Paravati narrated.

�Now the government might have enacted legislationmaking primary education mandatory for all children. ButParvati didi had vowed to make children literate decades ago.

But the irony is she remains unnoticed despite her service�Pramod Mallick, a local resident, said.

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