An Unsung Hero: Malleshwar Rao
I, Malleshwar Rao, come from a family where we had just the right amount of sustainability. My father was a farmer and he was the sole earner of the house. If he would not work in the fields for a day, our plates along with your stomachs would be empty at the night. One fine year, a tragedy had struck us when a heavy rainfall destroyed our harvest.
With no other way to earn, my brother and I opted to work in hotels as dishwashers. We would also work in construction sites to carry loads or be a helping hand whenever we had the time. One fine day we left our jobs and were beaten for leaving them. That is when a man named Hemalatha Lavanam helped us and offered us education in our local school, Sanskar Ashram Vidyalaya.
Yet again after my education, I was on the lookout for other means to help my family survive. I managed to get a job as a room service provider in a hospital and then I headed to Hyderabad to pursue B.Tech.
An idea got to me one day after seeing most of the food getting wasted in resorts and hotels. I wanted to distribute the leftovers to the people on the streets. I got along with a few of my friends and started this initiative of mine by the name “Don’t Waste Food – konnecthope”.
Initially, hotel authorities refused to cooperate, thinking we were selling the food and trusted us only after seeing photos. On the first day of the lockdown, we distributed food for 10,000 people. But as several NGOs were providing food, people were wasting it. Instead, we decided to start giving them dried ration, helping almost 70,000 families in 11 districts of Telangana.
We also distributed PPE kits and started cremating the dead bodies of COVID-patients that family members could not afford to dispose of. We talked to doctors to set up a call centre for COVID awareness.
I also teach the slum children along with providing them with food and hope is what keeps me going. Hope is what I see in those young children’s eyes, a hope to survive, a hope to see a better day, a hope to live a better life. If those children who are at the bottommost level of poverty, fighting on to see a new dawn, why don’t we?
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