Express News Service
BERHAMPUR: While others shifted to work from home, anganwadi workers in Ganjam took up the responsibility of keeping people safe from the coronavirus despite low remuneration and an increase in workload. Gouri Kumari Dalai, one among them, saw the pandemic as an opportunity to get over her own adversities and help her community in staying safe from Covid-19.
Gouri Didi, as she is fondly called, took charge of the anganwadi centre in Chanduli village under Hinjili block in 2009. But destiny has been cruel to her. In 2016, she lost her husband to cardiac arrest. She continued to work to earn a decent living and ensure that her daughter’s education continues. Two years later, she came under the wheels of a bus in Berhampur. During treatment at MKCGMCH, her left leg had to be amputated. An organisation helped her to get a prosthetic leg and crutches a year later.
With a steely resolve to win over the adversities, she decided to join work immediately after getting the prosthetic leg. Since then she has been diligently performing every duty given to her, be it distribution of nutritious food, Covid patient survey or awareness drives.
During the first wave of Covid-19, despite her disability, Gouri joined duty without any hesitation to help the administration in the fight against the virus in her area. She has been looking after Bandhahuda, Hergundi and Ladubaba localities of the city.
As part of her duty, she visits all families every day to enquire about their health and raise awareness on preventive measures against Covid-19. As an anganwadi worker, she is also involved in distribution of food materials to pregnant women and children. In the lockdown, she has ensured that every child of her anganwadi centre has received his or her share of nutritious food.
Despite her physical disability, she has not taken a break from her work both in the first and second waves. Gouri believes ‘work is god’ and it has to be done under any circumstances. “My daughter is now educated and will get an appointment soon.
Hence, I have decided to spend the rest of my life serving the society in all possible manner. My disability has never been a disappointment to me”, she said. Gouri gets a monthly remuneration of `7,500 and stays in a rented accommodation with her daughter. “One should never lose hope. Good times will return soon and till then, we should not let our guard down”, she said.