• presented byReliance Foundation

Tulasi Munda

Issue: Tribal education, tribal empowerment


  • Tribals constitute 24% of Odisha’s population
  • Literacy rate among tribal population is a mere 37.37% in Odisha: 2001 census
  • More than 50 % of Tribals live in what is called chronic poverty
  • Tribal’s of Koenjhar have the highest infant mortality rate in the region

What makes Tulasi a Real Hero?

From an illiterate tribal girl born at the cusp of freedom to a woman leading the education revolution amongst tribals in Orissa, Tulasi Munda’s story is an inspiration for all of us. She was 12 when she went to live with her sister in Serenda, 65 kms away where she earned Rs 2 from cutting stones and sifting iron from the waste. In her free time, she would try and teach herself the alphabet. In 1961, her passion for learning catapulted her into the orbit of Gandhians like Malti Chaudhary, Roma Devi and Nirmala Deshpande. These women were committed to social work, especially educating women. She joined them and participated in their village forays across the country. She met Vinoba Bhave and was inspired by his vision to donate land and improve the lives of the poor. In 1964 she returned to Serenda and started an evening school for children of adivasis. In the next 40 years Tulasi helped establish 17 schools and succeeded in educating 20,000 boys and girls. Currently her school that provides education up to the 10th standard, has over 500 students, half of whom are girls. Tulasi has received a Padma Shri award for her commendable work..

Dr. Laxmi Gautam

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