Woman defies cancer to work for destitute

Woman defies cancer to work for destitute

For Padma Shri awardee Binny Yanga, a tribal woman in her mid 50s, life means reaching out to the orphans and destitute despite having been afflicted with cancer.

Yanga was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2007 and doctors gave her just six months. Not only did she live beyond the deadline but also continued to work for the Oju Welfare Association, set up by herself, which hosts 338 orphans and destitute.

Sitting in her office room of Oju Welfare Association (OWA) in Itanagar, Yanga recalled: “I was numb with fear at what the doctors said. For six months
I could not eat and sleep as fear of death haunted me all the time.” But gradually, the realisation dawned on her that as she had to die one day, she would rather continue her work for the children of the lesser gods.

The Union Government conferred her with Padma Shri award in 2012 in recognition for her selfless service.

She claims that her inspiration was her maternal grandmother, though her parents also played crucial role in her life. My grandmother got 25 slaves as her bride price but being a reformist person she set them all free. Her fight against social evils made a deep impression on her mind that later inspired her to sustain her mission.

Talking about her future plan, she said that being a cancer patient and having
realised the trauma and difficulties associated with the disease she felt the need for doing something for cancer patients in Arunachal Pradesh. She has plans of setting up a home for the poor patients in Itanagar by providing free and easy accommodation. The idea has, however, not taken any definite shape so far.

She lamented that most youth are only looking for government jobs and most of them are not prepared to become entrepreneurs. This attitude is not good. They must learn to work hard, take up different trades. “Even small jobs are important and we must value them. Only through dedication and selfless service we can bring positive change in society,” she added.

Born on July 7, 1958 to the late Bini Jaipu and mother Bini Yanya both of whom were social activist by their own right, a fact which probably influenced her decision to take up social work since her student life.

Yanga heads the OWA, an NGO that works for education, health and upbringing of socially disadvantaged sections, besides promoting income generation activities and training of tribal women.

She formed the All-Subansiri District Girls’ Welfare Association and raised her voice against  child marriage, forced marriage, dowry among others.

In 1979, she initiated a small Adult Education and Nursery centre in Naharlagun and shelter home for girls and victims of child marriage, forced marriages and the destitutes.

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