Ooha Mahanti: Empowering Women from Disadvantaged Communities Through Law


11/2/20222 min read

Ooha Mahanti with young girls to whom she gave sanitary napkins
Ooha Mahanti with young girls to whom she gave sanitary napkins

In a world where challenges often seem insurmountable, 25-year-old Ooha Mahanti stands as a fierce and determined force, on a mission to bring about transformative change for women in disadvantaged communities. A recent law graduate, Ooha's burning passion lies in educating and empowering women to break free from the shackles of societal norms that have held them back for far too long.

Ooha's journey began with a powerful program she launched called WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene), aimed at promoting safe drinking and sanitation habits in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Her relentless dedication to this cause echoes the legacy of her beloved grandfather, Ganapathi Rao, whose life's work centered on serving the needy through the NGO Rural Development Welfare Society (RDWS) in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, and Visakhapatnam districts.

At the heart of Ooha's initiatives is her unwavering commitment to the people of Marupalli village. With the RDWS campus established in Gajapathinagaram, she provides skill development training in tailoring, cell phone repairing, nature farming, electrical repairing, and other self-employment opportunities for those who need them the most. But her impact goes beyond economic empowerment; Ooha has taken up the cause of menstrual hygiene awareness among adolescent girls, offering sanitary napkins at no cost to ensure they have access to essential resources.

Through her visionary project, 'Balika Vidya,' Ooha confronts deeply-rooted social evils such as bonded and child labor, child marriages, and human trafficking in tribal and rural areas. Her tireless efforts have been recognized with the prestigious International Wonder Book of Records Award, presented by the esteemed Governor of Mizoram, Dr. Kamabhampati Hari Babu, acknowledging her dedicated service to the poor and vulnerable, particularly tribal women and girls in north coastal Andhra Pradesh and parts of south Odisha.

When asked about her accomplishments, Ooha humbly shares, "I have distributed at least 3,665 sanitary napkins and 5,863 school bag kits to school-going adolescent girls. I am proud to say that I have been able to empower 360 women with vocational training in tailoring and provided 58 tailoring machines to the poor and needy women, thanks to the support of several corporate companies under their CSR initiatives."

Indeed, Ooha's work has gone beyond providing a means of livelihood; it has instilled hope and dignity in the lives of the underprivileged. Her relentless pursuit of change exemplifies the immense impact a single individual can have on transforming communities and empowering women. As she continues to blaze a trail of empowerment, Ooha Mahanti stands as a beacon of hope, a source of inspiration, and a testament to the power of passion, determination, and unwavering commitment to creating a brighter and more equitable world for all.

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