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  • Dhatri Reddy

My ability is stronger than my disability

Updated: Jan 23

Story of Ms Gorle Varalakshmi, an inspiring young woman from Gorlivanipalem, Anakapalli who overcame her difficulties to receive the best VOA Award.

Ms Gorle Varalakshmi is a Village Organization Assistant (VOA) of Gorlevanipalem Village Panchayat of Paravada Mandal, Anakapalli District. At the age of 3 she lost her left leg to Polio that affected her mobility. She started walking with the help of a cane and went on to pursue her school and higher education despite difficulties. But adversities kept striking her - in the year 2001, while she was pursuing degree, her father was on bed rest due to paralysis, throwing the family into severe financial problems. Her mother had to take up manual labour work in order to meet ends. 2003 was the year her father passed away and her mother met with a serious accident. The responsibility of running the family now fell on Varalakshmi.

When everyone else says you can’t, determination says, “YES YOU CAN.” - Robert. M. Hensel

In 2006, Varalakshmi joined as Velugu CA of Gram Sangam and received Rs 250/- per month as an honorarium. She began providing services to the group members and contributed in setting them as A-grade groups in Gram Sangam. She performs various functions for the SHG groups - such as online data entry, organising computer training for children of SHG members, etc. As a VAO she has helped in enrolling SHG members in YSR Jagananna Thodu in order to receive loans of upto Rs 10,000/- to run a small business. She also ensures enrolment in PMJJBY, PMSBY insurance for each member and creates awareness regarding Disha app and Digital Sarthak mobile banking.

Other than he duties as a VOA, Ms Varalakshmi is a socially motivated citizen. She has been instrumental in conducting Eye Checkup Camps in the village roping in qualified doctors, conducting food donation programs for Orphanages, distributing books and organising spiritual programs on the day of National Freedom Fighters for School children in villages to mention a few. She also sensitised the villagers regarding “Swachh Sankalpam” - for turning waste into useful manure, creating awareness among the women of self help groups by telling them importance of dry and wet waste seggregation.

Varalakshmi kept her setbacks aside and continues to do her duties very actively and even go the extra mile. In appreciation of her social services, NTPC presented her with a motorcycle in 2017. In the same year PD, DRDA of the District has also presented her with the best VOA Award in recognition of her dedicated service. She is a resounding reminder that an indomitable will can make adversities look smaller.

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