Sunday, January 23

Orissa’s Matilda Kullu joins Forbes list of most influential Women in India

By: Abhijit Ray, Kolkata, India

Matilda Kullu, a lady Asha worker from Baragaon of Sundargarh district of India’s state Orissa became one of the most influential and powerful Women in India in 2021 declared by Forbes India Magazine. 

Network 18 venture in partnership with hip with Forbes Media LLC, is India’s leading business magazine that helps readers understand the phenomenon behind news, connect the dots and get cutting-edge perspectives. 

An accredited social health activist (ASHA) is a community health worker instituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as part of India’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). It was started in n 2005. 

In 2021, Forbes India published a list of the most influential women in the country. Matilda Kullu, a 45-year-old tribal woman from Odisha, got a place in that list. Her name was included with other Indian famous women like Banker Arundhati Bhattacharya, actress Rasika Duggal. 

This proves that if someone dedicatedly do his or her work may be in a small area, one day the recognition will come. 

She is an ASHA worker by profession and she has been working for the last 15 years in Gargadbahal village in Sundargarh district of Orissa. 

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Superstition had a huge impact on that village. Matilda has changed the place of unwavering faith in black magic among the villagers and freed the common man from such social curses. The task was not easy and she has come to the notice of everyone by completing that difficult task with a challenge. Matilda had to face many tough challenges too. In her words, “People would not like to go to the hospital when they are sick. When I told them to go to the hospital, they would tease me. At the same time, the caste conflict had to be dealt with. It has taken many years to understand how appropriate it is to go to the doctor.” 

There are 47,000 ASHA worker scattered across Orissa. Like all of them, Matildar also works hand in hand. She has to do a lot of social work, from going door-to-door vaccinations to finding out about newborns, explaining the importance of breastfeeding to new mothers, and educating people about common and sexually transmitted diseases and she has been doing that work with devotion for years. 

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It was her efforts to dispel the darkness of the human mind that ultimately enlightened her fame. 

During the Coronation period, her responsibilities increased. Matilda has taken on the extra responsibility of going to at least 50 homes every day to test the covid or to make the general public aware of the importance of corona vaccination. Ignoring her own risk of becoming infected. 

She finally made it to the Forbes list. But her monthly income for such work is very little. 

In Matildar’s words, “I received a lump sum of Rs 2,000 from the state government once during Corona. But since then I have not been able to earn more than 4 thousand rupees a month.”

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