On July 22, 2020, Achyuta Rao died after suffering from COVID-19-related complications. His wife Anuradha tells TNM that she wants his legacy to continue.

After his death activist Achyuta Raos kin is helping COVID-affected familiesBy Arrangement
Features Human Interest Tuesday, June 08, 2021 - 16:37

“His mobile used to ring continuously during the day and sometimes during the night too, from various people bringing in complaints of child right violations that were happening in Telugu states. Sometimes, children themselves used to call for help; he used to respond to them 24/7 and coordinate to solve the issue,” Anuradha Rao tells TNM about her husband, Achyuta Rao, who was a prominent child rights activist in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. He was also the founder of Balala Hakkula Sangham, an organisation that works to protect the rights of children. 

On July 22, 2020, Achyuta Rao breathed his last after suffering from post-COVID-19 complications, in the first wave of the pandemic. Now, as a tribute to him, his family is helping children and families affected by COVID-19 in the second wave. For the last two months, Anuradha and her daughter-in-law have been cooking food for about 100-150 people every day, and distributing it to the poor, as well as attendees of patients at a Government Area Hospital in Hyderabad. 

Along with this, the family has also distributed essential items to 60 families from the weaver's community in Telangana’s Pochampally village. “Most of these weaver families have either lost their breadwinners or are struggling to make ends meet as they did not have any work for the last two months. So, we have distributed groceries to these families to help them with their needs,” Anuradha says.

Apart from their COVID-19-related services, Achyuta Rao’s family has promised to take care of the school fees of one child every January 1, Achyuta Rao’s birthday, since January 2021. On the 22nd of every month, the date on which he passed away, the family also distributes fruits and biscuits to 100 children, and provides lunch in various orphanages. 

Anuradha says that they are a joint family, and each member contributes to support the cause financially and otherwise. “We have lost a family member due to COVID-19. We know the pain that people are going through in the hospitals. We at least wanted to give them food. This is also an attempt to distract ourselves as much as possible from the sorrow,” Anuradha tells TNM, in a voice thick with grief.  

From stopping child marriages and rescuing children from child labor, to helping children re-enroll in schools after they dropping out, Achyuta Rao helped scores of children and their families, and created awareness about such issues in the public. 

Anuradha says she would like to continue in Achyuta’s path, and would like to see her husband’s phone number getting calls again. “Calls to my husband's number eventually stopped, after the news of his demise spread far and wide. I used to work in the field with my husband. I would like to continue serving children on his behalf,”she adds.

Recently, Anuradha appealed to the Principal Secretary of Education on behalf of Balala Hakkula Sangham, after receiving complaints of some schools already starting online classes. This is despite the Telangana Education Department’s order that summer holidays in the state are extended till June 15, 2021. The organisation has demanded that the holidays be further extended until June 30, in view of the COVID-19 situation. 

To contact Balala Hakkula Sangham, call +91 9866342424 or send an email to apbalalahakkulasangham@gmail.com

Read: Young women in Telangana are being forced to drop education for marriage amid pandemic

Topic tags,
Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.