Devarapalli Prakash Rao

Devarapalli Prakash Rao

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Category: Social Work

Devarapalli Prakash Rao Profile

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  • Devarapalli Prakash Rao

Devarapalli Prakash Rao Biography

Devarapalli Prakash Rao is a 'Tea Seller' from Cuttack, who runs school for 80 slum kids with his meagre earnings. He has been selling tea for the past 50 years. His real life story is a true inspiration to all, who loves to do some social service. For his efforts as a social worker and educator, he is being conferred with India’s fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri in 2019. Soon after the awards were announced, Rao turned a star overnight, and created headlines.


Devarapalli Prakash Rao hails from Cuttack, Odhisha. He works as a tea seller at Cuttack’s Bakshibazar, and has been involved in tea business for the past 5 decades. He wakes up at 4am and runs the tea stall until 10am. Though he is not financially strong, with the earnings he receives through tea selling, he educates children of his locality. Thus he changed the life of at least a few slum kids with all the efforts he can. He does so as a mission, as he couldn’t complete his school studies.


Rao was always interested in reading and writing and dreamt to become an educated person. But his father asked him to help him in tea business. When he was forced to leave studies, he couldn’t even complete 10th class. When his father took ill Rao juggled between tea kettles and paying bills. Thus running the stall became his primary job. Though he couldn’t fulfil his dreams, he visualized his dreams through slum kids. Throughout his life, Rao has struggled with poor financial condition, and hence he wanted to make difference in the lives of at least a few people.  


He opened a small school ‘Asha O Ashwasana’ in year 2000, and convinced parents of slum kids to send their children to his school. His school provides classes upto only Class III. But later Rao himelf arranges admission of his students in a government school. He also supports his students in sports and extra-curricular activities. Rao’s efforts were praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

Published: February 03, 2019

Updated: February 03, 2019

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