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Social work his first love

A tough administrator but simple to the core, he has been part of the development process of Prema Samajam



PEOPLE M. Satyaraju

From the age of 18 years he has been amidst people affected with leprosy, destitutes, the sick and the infirm and orphans. Now, carrying gently 79 years of social service, he continues the task with the same zeal of a youth.

Meet Maredla Satyaraju, the secretary of Prema Samajam, the wellknown social service organisation and the pride of Vizag.

"I am here only to fulfil the dreams of my father, Maredla Satyanarayana, the founder of this institution. His main aim was to see that the people believe in God and help and love each other. That is why this place has been named as Prema Samajam (society of love)," he avers.

Born and brought up in Visakhapatnam, Mr. Satyaraju actually started his social work with prabhat bheris from the age of four when he used tag along with his parents singing 'Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram'. After passing his tenth class from St. Anthony High School, he joined the Posts and Telegraphs Department as office assistant. He retired from service in 1984.

Prema Samajam

The institution that was started by his father in small huts today houses 67 orphans and 56 destitute women and 70 men in pucca buildings with all modern amenities. It also runs one leprosy home, a home for the aged, one cow protection centre and a high school with over 1,000 students.

Saying in all modesty that "all these were possible with dedicated teamwork", Mr. Satyaraju lists the other services undertaken by Prema Samajam cremation of the unclaimed bodies, poor feeding every day and relief work during natural calamities.

Apart from managing the day-to-day affairs and enquiring about the good health of the inmates, he is seen always on the move for fund collection. He has been spending most of his time in the samajam only, with occasional trips to his residence.

"Every charitable institution runs on liberal contribution from patrons and so is this. I am grateful and deeply indebted to all donors. As far as spending time is concerned, this is my first home. The thoughts and vision of my father and the teachings of Swami Vivekananda inspire me to do so. This institution was founded and managed by great men like my father, Ramana Babu and Sanyasi Rao and I sincerely believe that I have to live up to their expectations. I want to see that every inmate of the samajam is happy. There are many old people who have been deserted by their children and family members. I want to make them feel at home, and that is my job."

If late Sanyasi Rao and Ramana Babu were called as 'nanna' (father) by the inmates, Satyaraju is called as 'anna' (elder brother).

A tough administrator but simple to the core, he has been part of the development process of the institution for the past seven decades.

S.B.

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