Forbes India's W-Power 2021 list includes an ASHA worker from Odisha.

Matilda Kullu is a recognized social health activist in Odishas Sundargarh district. She has made it to the Forbes Indias W-Power 2021 list. She persuaded people to take drugs and see a doctor after becoming sick.

BHUBANESWAR: Matilda Kullu, a recognized social health activist (ASHA) in Odishas Sundargarh district, has made it to the Forbes India's W-Power 2021 list, as has noted banker and former chairperson of SBI Arundhati Bhattacharya, Bollywood actress Sanya Malhotra, among others.When this 45-year-old tribal woman became an Asha volunteer in Baragaon in 2005, her village Gargadbahal village was mainly dependent on black magic and quacks instead of going to hospitals for treatment.But Matilda continued to work hard to change people's mindsets and persuaded them to take drugs and see a doctor after becoming sick.I am grateful that people visit hospitals and follow my advice not to fall into the trap of superstition and black magic, as I am today.

When going door to door for surveys or other field work, some people were keeping a distance from me, she said.But the situation has shifted a little bit.Though education cannot be overthrown at once, the mindset of people is shifting.Though she could not continue studying after matriculation, she still encourages people to educate their children.

I'm proud to announce that my name has been included on the Forbes India W-Power list.It would motivate me to continue my good work in the face of challenges, she said.Matilda goes out for field trips after completing her household duties and making meals for a family of four in the morning.In her tribal-dominated village, 964 people live.

In addition, if an expectant mother calls me for assistance at midnight, I would never say no.She was going door to door for surveys and other field-works as others were afraid of the Covid-19.During the second wave, I was diagnosed with Covid, but I was able to join the service immediately after recovering from the illness.I have personally encouraged covid positive people to be patient and steady, follow medical advice, and fight the virus, she said.

We are given a meagre income of Rs 4,500 per month for treating the people during the Covid pandemic without considering their own wellbeing.We've asked the government to set a minimum wage for Asha workers like myself.We have been asking for a higher salary from the government, but Matilda said that nothing has come true yet.To make ends meet, she also does tailoring.

(With inputs from Mihir Ray in Rourkela,).(Within the spirit of the chapter).