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Epitomizing the Art of giving

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Seated in her plush living room in New Delhi, Mrs Promila Saraf is a picture of grace, her smiling face radiating an unmistakable healing quality.

Felicitated recently by Andhra University’s Department of Yoga and Consciousness on the occasion of International Yoga Day on June 21, 2022, Mrs Saraf’s life is one of supreme dedication to uplifting the downtrodden.

Married at a young age of 18 years in 1965 to Mr R. K. Saraf, chairman and MD of Facor Alloys Ltd, she and her husband moved in 1965 to Garividi, a village in Andhra Pradesh, 80 kms from Visakhapatnam, to look after the company’s factory and businesses there. Almost immediately, Mrs Saraf started teaching children in a shed, began interacting with the locals, and wherever it was needed, fought to bring about change. Refusing to sit idle, Mrs Saraf became the pivotal person who worked for the economically disadvantaged men, women, and children in the village, including the physically and mentally disabled. “The hurdles came my way but I just kept my focus,” she says speaking to Vizag Industrial Scan.

To understand Mrs Saraf’s journey as a tireless philanthropist, it’s important to go back to her younger days, which she spent with her parents, siblings, and other family members in Modinagar. Back in the day when daughters were rarely encouraged to voice their opinion, Mrs Saraf reasoned with her father and became the first girl in her family to study in a boarding school in Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, Gwalior.

Later, she graduated from Modi College, Modi Nagar. The daughter of Dayawati Modi, and the legendary Gujarmal Modi, Promila imbibed the same altruistic principles of her mother.

To that effect, Mrs Saraf’s contribution has transformed the once-barren village in Andhra Pradesh into a township that has the best of facilities, including a CBSE school with 3500-plus children along with a college, and the Andhra University’s Department of Yoga and Consciousness, all of which she founded in the 1970s and ’80s. The Woman and Child Welfare Centre, which Mrs Saraf began in the mid-1970s continues even today with various facilities, including hostels for the disabled, home for the elderly, besides several other programmes.

The recipient of several awards, including the prestigious national award by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Mrs Saraf continues to strive and work hard even as she’s passed on the baton in the able hands of her grandson Mr Arnav Saraf who continues to enrich the legacy of his grandmother.

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