NGO Shakti Vahini’s success against Honour Killings!

SC rules against Khap Panchayats, 'Khaps can't interfere in marriages'
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday frowned on honour killings and ruled any attempt by informal institutions such as khap panchayats to end a marriage between consenting adults is illegal as it violates their fundamental right to choice and dignity. It ordered authorities to take steps to protect inter-caste and inter-religious couples from honour crimes.
“Assertion of choice is an insegregable facet of liberty and dignity. When the ability to choose is crushed in the name of class honour and the person’s physical frame is treated with absolute indignity, a chilling effect dominates over … the society at large,” a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.
The court asked central and state governments to take preventive, remedial and punitive steps to deter khaps from taking the law into their own hands.They must provide protection to inter-caste and inter-religious couples.

The police chief in each district should oversee the safety of such couples and take the assistance of the court to make preventive arrests to save them from harassment, the court said. There should be dedicated courts to deal with honour crimes and 24-hour helplines for couples to seek assistance, the court said, while directing all states to file compliance reports within six weeks.

The ruling will hold till a law is passed on dealing with honour crimes. The top court was dealing with a public interest litigation filed by NGO Shakti Vahini, which drew its attention to honour crimes prevalent in several parts of the country. At least 288 such cases were reported from Haryana, Punjab, Himachal, Delhi, UP and Bihar and other states between 2014 and 2016, the NGO said.

Feudal perceptions such as clan, caste and honour have to melt into oblivion, the court said in its ruling. “…any kind of torture or torment or ill-treatment in the name of honour that tantamount to atrophy of choice of an individual relating to love and marriage by any assembly, whatsoever nomenclature it assumes, is illegal and cannot be allowed a moment of existence.”

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N.G.O Scans Heart of Punjab Police.

Punjab Inspector General of Police, Ms. Gurpreet Deo lead his team for a Heart Care Camp organised by NGO Disha – The Harbinger of Social Change & Development in collaboration with Kare Partners heart centre Chandigarh  at the Sector – 9 Police Headquarters. The Two – Day camp concluded here today.


Smt. Simrit Joshan, President and Smt. Lata Dua Secretary of Disha NGO along with the team of Doctors and Technicians from Heart Kare Partners including Gauravjit Singh operation head at  kare partners Dr. Ashootosh Bhardwaj, Dr. Gurpreet and Subash Dadwal with his team; conducted E.C.G and other blood tests of over 200 police personnel, during the two days of the camp.


The exercise was undertaken as a preventive measure to create awareness of proper care of heart diseases caused due to sedentary lifestyle and precautions to avoid chronic disorders. The good health of a policeman ensures efficiency and better services to the community.


Ms. Gurpreet Deo, IG hoped to extend such programs to the other establishments as well, all over the state.


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World Social Work Day Celebrated at Panjab University.


“Professional Social Workers’ primary role is to bring about Social Change”, said Dr. Sherry Sabbarawal, Chairperson of the Centre for Social Work, Panjab University, while Inaugurating and delivering a Keynote address on the World Social Work Day Celebrations, organised in collaboration with NGO Disha – The Harbinger of Social Change & Development at Panjab University today.

Dr. Monica Munjial presented the Historical perspective of Social Work in India. Smt. Simrit Joshan, president of Disha along with the Chief Guest felicitated the volunteers, donors and supporters, associated with NGO Disha, during the year in organizing various activities like Summer Camp for Children, Health Camps, Awareness Programs; Reading and Recording audio books for the blind; and providing a helping hand to the Disabled as support; were distributed Certificates of Appreciation on this occasion.

A large number of students from the Punjab Engineering College University, Research scholars, Post Graduation Students and Students of Indira Gandhi National Open University took active part in the knowledge sharing session on Professional Social Work and Philanthropy.



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Sons-in-law & Daughters-in-law also liable to maintain aged Parents!

A senior citizens’ group in Pune. India has 104 million people over the age of 60, according to the 2011 Census. Anecdotally, the number of instances of senior citizens being abandoned by their children is on an increase.


India is considering widening the definition of children and removing the cap on maintenance payable to senior citizens through proposed changes in a law on the welfare of senior citizens.

The ministry of social justice and empowerment has proposed doing away with the Rs 10,000 ceiling currently in place, and wants to link the amount to the sources of income of the senior citizens and their children, a government official familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

According to this person, the ministry has recommended widening the definition of children to include adopted or step children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, even minors represented by their legal guardians. Currently, the term includes only sons, daughters, and grandchildren, excluding minors.

India has 104 million people over the age of 60, according to the 2011 Census. Anecdotally, the number of instances of senior citizens being abandoned by their children is on an increase, although the National Crime Records Bureau doesn’t track this.

The proposal will now be sent to the union cabinet for approval. It follows feedback from senior citizens and non-government organisations (NGOs) working with the disadvantaged elderly on the need to revisit the conditions for payment of the allowance under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (MWPSC) Act, 2007.

After the MWPSC was enacted in 2007, tribunals were constituted to enforce its provisions including payment of the maintenance allowance.

Senior citizens can file an application before these tribunals to claim maintenance and seek relief if their assets and immovable property are forcibly taken over by their children or other relatives.

Alongside widening the definition of children, the ministry of social justice and empowerment has suggested that any person (whether a child or a relative of a childless senior citizen), who has the means will have to look after the senior citizen or parent, even if they are not in possession of their property.

According to the official cited above, maintenance of such senior citizens has hitherto been the duty of children or other caretakers only if they were in possession of their property or were likely to inherit it.

“The definition of senior citizen itself has been clarified; those who have attained the age of 60 are senior citizens and will be eligible for all benefits meant for the category. This has been specified in the wake of complaints that some airline and insurance schemes were arbitrarily fixing the minimum age,” the official said.

Among the other suggestions made by the ministry are extending the right of appeal against a decision by the tribunal to the respondents. Earlier, only senior citizens could file an appeal against an order.

Commenting on the changes suggested by the ministry, Mathew Cherian, chief executive officer of the NGO HelpAge India said the government should first ensure implementation of the law and help spread awareness of its provisions.

“It has been 10 years since the law was passed, but there are lacunae in implementation. Even the posters or advertisements put out for awareness do not clearly explain the provisions of the Act to senior citizens,” Cherian said.

In January, HelpAge came out with a preliminary study conducted in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Kerala based on 115 petitions filed by senior citizens with maintenance tribunals to show that only 57% of the cases filed, including complaints of abuse of elderly, neglect, forceful possession of property, had been settled while 33% were still pending. The report said repeated visits to the tribunals set up for dealing with these cases was cited as a problem by 42% of the respondents. An equal proportion complained of delays in hearings on the appointed dates.

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World Social Work Day 2018

The 2018 World Social Day highlights ‘Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability’. This is the second and final year of this theme of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.

World Social Work Day will be on the 20th March 2018. It is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to celebrate the achievements of the profession and take the theme message into their communities, workplaces and to their governments to raise awareness of the social work contributions and need for further action.



World Social Work Day was launched by The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW): in 1983 and later other social work organizations such as the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) have joined as partners to the event. WSWD has become a highpoint in the social work calendar with social workers all over the world celebrating and promoting the contributions of the profession to individuals, families, communities and wider society. The day is celebrated on the official date every 3rd Tuesday in March.


On this date social work organizations throughout the world mark World Social Work Day bringing messages to their governments, communities, and peer professional groups on the unique and signifi-cant contributions of the social work profession. The actions highlight social work’s approach to facili-tating sustainable community outcomes by applying a developmental and capacity building approach coupled with advocating for social justice and human rights.


The themes of WSWD are set for two years according to the goals of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development:

2012 – 2014: Promoting social and Economic Equality


2015 – 2016: Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples.


2017 – 2018: Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability


2019 – 2020: Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships


Every year IFSW produces a poster announcing WSWD. It is spontaneously translated into over 45 languages, and presented to governments, political bodies posted on the notice boards of social ser-vices and in social work class rooms throughout the world. The event has become so successful in recent years it is now generally considered as highlight of international solidarity and cooperation of social workers.


Furthermore five Regional Observatories have been installed to collect the results and good practice examples of social work and social development practice. The findings are analyzed and set in the context of the actual social, political and economic realities, resulting in a publication which is launched at the biannual World Conference of Social Work and Social Development. (


World Social Work Day at the United Nations


IASSW and IFSW have special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (IASSW since 1947 and IFSW since 1959). Jointly the representatives of both organizations have annually celebrated WSWD at the UN in New York since 1983 and in Geneva since 2012. Sporadically WSWD at the UN has also been celebrated in Vienna, Nairobi, and Santiago de Chile. In 2017 for the first time WSWD shall be celebrated at the UN in Bangkok.


Objectives of WSWD at the UN are:


– To strengthen existing or to establish new contacts, cooperation and partnership with UN or-ganisations and with allied international NGOs.


  • To spread knowledge about social work, its values, principles and methods in practice and theory among UN-organisations and allied international NGOs.


  • To highlight social work actions, policies and achievements in the pursuit of common goals.


  • To disseminate the knowledge about UN activities, goals, program and campaigns among so-cial workers and social work organisations and schools.


IFSW, February 2017

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Nari Shakti Award Winners – 2018

This year’s Nari Shakti Award Winners include several not very prominent ( un – sung ) Civil Society Workers and Individual Achievers; unlike the feminists or Gender Activists, who Dominated the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s list of awardees, each year. Here is the list of 30 Individuals and 9 Institutions awarded at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 08 – International Women’s Day.





  1. Ms. Jayamma Bandari


Ms. JayammaBhandari has been working for over 20 years to rehabilitate sex workers. She has founded ChaithanyaMahilaMandali to help sex workers connect with child-care facilities and livelihood training. She was herself forced into sex work by her husband. She now leads the community to help women trapped in sex work. In 2011, she established the Chaithanya Happy Home for children of women in sex work. She has rehabilitated over 1000 sex workers and supports around 3500 other sex workers. Over 3500 children of sex workers have been provided vocational training through her efforts.






  1. Ms. K. Syamalakumari



Ms. K. Syamalakumari is the first known female temple Mural Artist in Kerala. Traditionally, painting on temple walls is dominated by males. Ms. Syamalakumari has painted, preserved and restored traditional Mural Art in the temples of Kerala. Her documentaries have been screened widely.






  1. Vanastree



Vanastree is a women-run seed saving collective in the Malnad region of the Western Ghats in Southern India. It is working in 15 villages and promotes forest biodiversity and food security through conservation of traditional seeds. It equips women to play a critical role in this movement by forming seed groups. Rather than focusing on creating a central seed bank facility, they believe that the entire region lends itself to being a landscape-level seed storehouse. Vanastree leads advocacy for a universal open source seed system.






  1. 4. Ms. Gargi Gupta



Ms. Gargi Gupta founded ‘Voice of World’ NGO in 1992, which works for visually impaired and differently-abled orphaned children in Eastern India. She has also established a residential facility in 1997 which has about 300 residential and about 3000 non-residential beneficiaries. She has set up a Home in Rishra, West Bengal for visually challenged women pursuing higher education. It is the only privately run facility of its kind. Her NGO runs a Teacher Training College where differently-abled women are given a full scholarship. In 2001, she developed atransliteration software to convert word document into Braille from Bengali language.






  1. Dr. Sindhutai Sapkal


Born in 194 in Wardha, SindhutaiSapkal left school in the 4th standard because her parents could not afford her education. She was married off at the age of 10 to a cowherd. She was thrown out of her house with a newborn girl child. She decided at that time to raise orphans as the mission of her life. She struggled, and whatever money she earned she spent on raising orphans. She gives them food and shelter and educates them till they get a job and are married. She has set up 5 large homes across Maharashtra for her orphans by raising money through public lectures and private donation, the largest of which in Hadapsar Pune has 300 orphans in it. She also helps widows who are thrown out of their families. Her biological daughter also runs an orphanage. She fought for the rehabilitation of 84 tribal villages in Maharashtra and fought till they were given compensation, land and houses.


Known as the Mother of Orphans, this social activist’s adopted children are now lawyers, doctors and engineers. Films have been made on her life. She has received over 750 awards and used the money in these awards to make more homes.







  1. 6. Beti Zindabad Bakery



In first of its kind, Chhattisgarh government has come up with a unique initiative of setting-up a bakery unit for survivors of human trafficking, as its pilot project under flagship of ‘BetiZindabad’ campaign in Pathalgaon, Jashpur. Trafficked enslaved tribal girls recovered from all over India were given a bakery unit opened with collaboration with district administration to prevent them from ever being victimized again. The first one has come up in the tribal belt of Jashpur and is aptly named ‘BetiZindabad Bakery’. There are 10 bakers and the youngest is only 15. The idea was conceived by Jashpur collector PriyankaShukla who arranged for the training of the girls in Pune, gave them a place and machinery. They immediately got orders for 100 Christmas cakes and have never looked back. The girls had also put up a stall during Rajyotsav in November at Naya Raipur. The girls own the bakery and have started paying off the loan in installments, setting an example of entrepreneurship for tribal girls. More such bakeries for rescued girls are planned all over the state.






  1. 7. Ms. Sabarmatee



SabarmateeTiki is a scholar, conservationist and founder of Sambhav, an NGO that runs large organic and training farms near Bhubaneswar in Odisha. She works with local communities for the restoration of forests and regeneration of wasteland. She has converted 90 acres of barren land into jungles and has conserved and increased production of 452 indigenous variety of rice. She is the only scholar who has studied the effects of hard manual labour on the bodies of women who work in the rice fields and has adopted and promoted a method called SRI which is less painful for women who do field work. Her NGO trains farmers, university students, academicians and local Government officials and has developed innovative agricultural tools for organic farming.






  1. Mittal Patel


Ms. Mittal Patel has done extensive work for the rights of nomadic and de-notified tribes of India. She is the founder of VichartaSamudaySamarthanManch (VSSM) in Ahmedabad. It was due to her relentless advocacy since 2005 that 28 nomadic tribes and 12 de-notified tribes of Gujarat received their identity as Indian citizens. Through her organization, she is working to give these marginalized groups a social identity, citizens’ rights, education, health facilities and livelihood options.







  1. 9. Dr. S. Siva Sathya


Dr. S. Siva Sathya developed a mobile app, MITRA (Mobile Initiated Tracking & Rescue Application) in 2015 which is a customized SOS application for the Puducherry region. The app is now being used by Puducherry Police since 2016. If a user finds herself in an emergency situation, she can long press the audio button of her mobile and her GPS location will be sent to the nearest police station along with a detailed SMS to her registered friends including number of the nearest police station for follow up. Even if the person is on the move, MITRA will automatically update the GPS location after 5 and 10 minutes. The app does not even require an internet connection to work.






  1. Lizymol Philipose Pamadykandathil


Dr. LizymolPhiliposePamadykandathil is a scientist with three decades of experience in the field of polymers and biomaterials. One of her major breakthroughs has been the development of a novel Bioactive bone cement, which is set to replace existing materials due to its excellent performance. This material is ideal for bone graft, bone filling and osteoporosis treatment. It is also a cost-effective alternative to expensive materials for dental treatment being imported from abroad.






11 Ms. Chirom Indira



Ms. Chirom Indira is a handloom entrepreneur and social worker based in Imphal, Manipur. In 2015, she became the first Indian recipient of the National Award in Design Development of Handloom Products. Under the label ‘Chanu Creations’, she has worked to promote Manipuri handloom products and the women who produce them, across national and international markets. She provides training to local women weavers in designing with advanced technique of Jala weaving. She has trained over 8,000 weavers under the PM KaushalVikasYojana in 2016-17. Her vivid range of creations has been displayed at National & International fora.





  1. Ms. Urmila Balawant Apte


Ms. UrmilaBalawantApte is an advocate of women’s rights and has spent decades working for the cause of gender equality. She founded the BhartiyaStree Shakti in 1988 where she worked to eradicate discrimination at all levels and recognize women’s contribution to the family and nation-building. She has done extensive work for women in the fields of education, skill development, mental and physical health, financial independence and self respect.








  1. Ms. Deepika Kundaji



Ms. DeepikaKundaji is a conservationist who has done pioneering work in Auroville, north of Puducherry. In 1994, she started working on 6 acres of severely eroded land. She ‘created’ the soil for this barren land themselves by recycling vegetation. After years of effort, today this piece of land is a vibrant forest of indigenous trees with eleven water bodies, a fruit tree area and a garden. This aptly named ‘Pebble Garden’ is now integral to the area as it has helped revive wildlife and uplift the local ecosystem. Today, she is spreading her message of revival and sustainable agriculture methods across the country. She produces seeds of hardy varieties of vegetables, root crops and medicinal and herbal plants which require very little water to be grown, and distributes these across the country. She is inspiring others to take up natural methods and conservation in their own areas.







  1. Ms. Purnima Barman



Ms. Purnima Barman is a wildlife biologist who has been making tremendous efforts to protect an endangered stork called hargilla.Around 1,200 of these birds remain today and about 800 of them reside in Assam. She works with local NGOs and individuals in 3 villages with about 10,000 people to increase awareness about their protection. Ms. Barman has mobilized an army of hargilla supporters, bringing together 14 women’s self help groups to protect the birds. They work with people who would earlier cut down trees on which the birds nested, and now the same people have helped her set up over 140 protective green meshes under the trees to help rescue chicks that fall from nests.







  1. Dr. Anita Bharadwaj



Dr. Anita Bharadwaj is a medical practitioner who has dedicated her career to ensuring health services in the most difficult situations. She is the Joint Medical Director of Six Sigma High Altitude Medical Rescue Services. Since 2009, she has been supervising and conducting medical rescue operations at high altitudes. With 88 doctors, para-medicals and social workers, the team has undertaken rescue operations during the Uttarakhand Flood, Nepal Earthquake and ShriAmarnathYatra. Her team operates from the height of 24,500 feet and has been successful in saving the lives of 5600 women and children, till date. They have also provided treatment to 53,889 victims on high altitudes.






  1. Dr. Bharti Kashyap


Dr. BhartiKashyap has dedicated her life for the well-being of women and children in the tribal areas of Jharkhand. She has founded an eye-care hospital in Ranchi which conducts free eye camps for children in Jharkhand where she has screened 17 lakh school children so far. Besides this, she has also organized medical camps to screen women and girls for cervical cancer. It is because of her efforts that lakhs of women and children were able to get an early diagnosis of their medical problems.







  1. Ms. Ambica Beri


Ambica Beri has singlehandedly established Art Ichol, India’s only permanent creative retreat for artists, writer and sculptors in Ichal, a small village 140 km from Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh). The village now boasts of open studios in Stone, Metal, Ceramic, fiberglass and Fine pieces and a three acre open-air sculpture park, a café, rooms for artists and writers, a foundry, a kiln, art raw materials, a man-made pond of pink lotuses and a restored bawli (stepwell) and century old restored mandirs. She has restored the house of Baba Allauddin Khan, the legendary sarod player who lived in the nearby town Maihar. Artists and students from all over the world come to this retreat and teach the local villagers different and new forms of art. 50 women have been trained by Australian artistes in ribbon embroidery and 40 local women have learnt the art of embroidery from waste cement bag and nearly 350 children from a local school are being engaged in ongoing workshops in dance and theatre. The art pieces produced during the training workshops by foreign artists are put to auction and the funds are used for the centre’s activities. The centre also holds workshops on organic dyeing and use of natural resources.







  1. Ms. Gauri Maulekhi



Ms. Gauri Maulekhi has contributed to animal welfare advocacy in India. Hailing from Dehradun, her work in the field of animal welfare started with stopping animal sacrifice in Uttarakhand which she achieved through legal activism, public awareness and working with religious organizations& government authorities. She has been the key person to get world’s largest mass religious slaughter of animals stopped at Gadhimai in Nepal. During the Kedarnath floods, she led a small group to evacuate more than 6,000 animals from the disaster region. This later led to inclusion of animal welfare in the National Disaster Management Policy. She has been instrumental in stopping illegal wildlife trade in the Sonepur Animal Fair which is the largest market of its kind in Asia.





  1. Aranya Naturals


Aranya Naturals, based in Munnar, seeks to preserve a unique repository of community heritage. Set up in 1994, they have been working for 20 years to produce non toxic natural dyes based on nature’s discards – fallen leaves, flowers, seeds, nuts, tea and coffee waste. The crafts people are the many different abled young people of the region who often become the main earners of their families through making and selling the dyed materials in batik, shibori, tie-dye and block printing. Aranya holds exhibitions and workshops all over India and abroad and are often taught and consulted by national and international professionals in dyes. All the waste of the dyeing process is recycled into a gardening project.







  1. Ms. Pushpa Girimaji



Ms. PushpaGirimaji, is India’s best known journalist on consumer affairs. As a consumer safety advocate, she has been responsible for bringing the consumer movement to media attention in India. She played a pivotal role in bringing about the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. She is a consumer rights columnist in leading dailies for the past 42 years who has been addressing queries on common consumer problems.






  1. AVANI Organization


Started by RashmiBharati and Rajneesh Jain in 1997, Avani in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, is a community built on the principles of sustainability and community-centric rural development programs. Avani is constantly developing new approaches to sustainable, conservation-based livelihood generation for rural communities using traditional crafts and knowledge. The cornerstones of their work are environmental conservation, women’s empowerment, fair trade and preservation of traditional knowledge.


AVANI creates opportunities for women to generate incomes and their primary focus is on sustainably harvested natural, locally produced dyes for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and garments. Using renewable materials from plants and trees also provides incentives to farmers to plant and protect the flora that yield them, thus preserving the local ecology. The products compete in international markets.


Avani initially began working with the Shauka community of the Bageshwar and Pithoragarh districts. Traditionally, the Shaukas lived a nomadic life and were a part of the thriving Indo-Tibetan trade before Tibet was taken over by China. More than 63% of Avani’s artisans come from the Bora Kuthalia community. 85% of the participants in the programmes are women. It works in 108 villages and benefits 22,000 people through its projects and activities.








  1. Shrujan


In 1969 Kutch was in the grip of drought. MrsChandaShroff visited Dhaneti village in Kutch to help run a free kitchen. In the exquisite embroidery on their clothing, she saw a way to enable them to earn a sustainable and dignified livelihood. This was the beginning of Shrujan. Today it has over three thousand five hundred craftswomen, spread over a hundred and twenty villages and 12 different communities across Kutch.


Their craftswomen work from home. The Srujan team ensures that the fabrics and threads reach them at their doorstep. The women do not have to pay for the materials and are paid as soon as they have completed the embroidery which is turned into high


— quality apparel, accessories and lifestyle products, and marketed through shops and Shrujan exhibitions. Srujan produces Craft Heritage Books and Self – Learning Films on all the embroidery communities of Kutch. Over the last few decades, they have undertaken projects to revive forgotten embroidery designs now numbering more than 50 styles, and enabled embroidery craftswomen to create new designs and learn from one another. They have set up the Living and Learning Design Centre (LLDC) as a multi-dimensional crafts education and resource centre.


ChandaShroff passed away in 2016 but Srujan is a monument to what can be achieved in social entrepreneurship.








  1.  Dr. C.K. Durga



Dr. C.K. Durga has contributed immensely in the field of women’s health through her extensive research on Breast Cancer. Dr. Durga developed a path-breaking technique in Breast Cancer Surgery, wherein the cancer is surgically removed and a new breast is constructed simultaneously using the native tissue of the patient herself. This technique has been accepted by breast cancer surgeons across the globe. Dr. Durga has given guidance to countless students to undertake research on cancer. She has also conducted awareness programmes for women to uplift the quality of life of cancer patients.






  1. Ms. Rekha Mishra



Ms. Rekha Mishra joined the Railway Protection Force in 2015 and has single-handedly rescued 953 runaway/ lost/ trafficked children from ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus (CST) Railway Station in Mumbai. In 2015, being posted with the Women Security wing of Mumbai division, she undertook extensive campaigns at railway stations to raise awareness among women about precautions to be taken and how to approach 182 Helpline for round-the-clock service. She also led the Mahila Shakti Team of the Mumbai Railway division. Thereafter, she was given the additional charge of child welfare. The children rescued by her are primarily those who have been kidnapped and brought to Mumbai for child labour. Ms. Mishra has successfully reunited them with their parents after ensuring their adequate counseling at child-care homes.





  1. Ms. Thinlas Chorol


Ms.Thinlas Chorol founded the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company at the age of 29 and it is the first women owned and operated company in Ladakh. Having lost her mother when she was a baby, she trekked with her shepherd father as a five year old through the mountains. But when she wanted to become a professional trekking guide, all the companies refused because she was a woman.


Thinlas went on to gain professional expertise. She attended a mountaineering course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (Uttarkashi) and spent a semester at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, where she picked up wilderness and leadership skills. She even worked as an instructional aide at NOLS and was the first Ladakhi to do so. Today her company has 30 women employees. They ensure that no garbage is left on their treks and the environmental impact minimized. Trekkers make halts at home stays run by rural women. Thinlassays that since home stays are unprofitable for travel agencies many of them don’t offer this option to clients. But home stays help rural women achieve the same status as their men who are out earning for their families and are a part of LWTC’s policy. Home stays also encourage people to remain in their villages instead of seeking jobs in cities. The women of LWTC teach the local culture, history flora and fauna to trekkers.


Thinlas has also set up a women’s welfare network for women in distress, writes tirelessly about social and environmental issues, has won medals at the National Ice Hockey Championships and trains women to be professional trekking guides across Ladakh.







  1. Ms. Mehvish Mushtaq



Ms. Mehvish Mushtaq has the distinction of developing the first-ever Android application for Kashmir called ‘Dial Kashmir’. The app provides detailed information of essential addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of services, government and non-government organisations and individuals in Kashmir. It also has features like ‘Find Pin Code’, ‘Railway Timings’ etc. The app contains over 500 contacts of government departments, commercial services and private numbers.








  1. Karuna Society for Animals and Nature


Clementein Pauws Koenegras came to India from Belgian with her husband and son to the SatyaSai Baba ashram in Puttaparthi. Moved by the animal suffering she saw, she formed a group with other devotees and started looking after street animals. She formed a group in 2000 called Karuna Society for Animals and Nature and built a hospital and shelter in Anantapur district. It is a registered non-profit organization working for animal welfare and the environment by providing free medical care and shelter for sick, injured, abandoned and abused animals. This has expanded over the years to become a cattle rescue centre, a bear rescue centre, an organic farm and a dog sterilization centre. The organization work to rescue cattle going for illegal slaughter



and wild animals and birds that are being smuggled out of the forest by poachers. They receive wildlife animals from the forest departments of all the neighboring districts and presently have 6 sloth bears, 4 deer, 8 peafowl and 11 disabled bonnet macaques in lifetime care and are now building a wildlife hospital shelter near the reserved forests. Clementein has taken Indian Nationality.






28. Navika Sagar Parikrama – INSV Tarini
(Lt. Cdr Vartika Joshi
Lt. Cdr Pratibha Jamwal Combined Award
Lt. Cdr Patarpalli Swathi
Lt. Aishwarya Bodapatti
Lt. SH Vijaya Devi
Lt. Payal Gupta)


The crew of the Indian Navy Sailing Vessel ‘Tarini’ is a part of the Indian Navy’s unique project ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, an all-women team circumnavigating the globe, promoting ocean sailing activities in the Navy and depicting Government of India’s commitment towards women empowerment. Each crew member has minimum of 20,000 nautical miles sailing experience. Project NSP aims to demonstrate the thrust of Nari Shakti on the world platform. The voyage would also showcase the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing on board the indigenously built INSV Tarini.







  1. One Stop Centre, Raipur



One Stop Centre (OSC) ‘Sakhi’ at Raipur, Chhattisgarh, provides 24×7 integrated services to women affected by violence, under one roof. About 1,840 women have availed services at the centre, till date. The cases are registered on an ‘Auto-system software’ and audio-recording is done automatically. Medical, legal and police assistance, and psycho-social counseling services are provided at the centre. Helpline services 108 and 181, National Health Mission and P.C.R. vans are the other facilities available at the Centre. Video-counseling facility is provided with police officers at the Centre itself. The OSC also has a temporary-stay facility for women. All types of cases like dowry harassment, domestic violence, property dispute, personal dispute, molestation, pension row, cheating, stalking etc. are suitably redressed at the OSC.








  1. Millet Network of India



National Millet Sister Network is a first of its kind group launched by 100 women from nine states to provide knowledge to women in the area of millet farming. Set up eight years ago in league with the Millet Network of India, over 5,000 women from across the country are part of this network that enhances the cultivation of millet crops and increases the production and use of natural fertilizers like farmyard



manure, vermi-compost and panchgavya which they produce, use and sell. Women groups are formed at the village, block district and state level and trainings and meetings are held regularly to discuss agricultural and other issues. Women who receive training in turn train other woman of their community. The network aims to create farmer-led market of millets. In several regions, they have set up their own market for value-added products such as finger millet biscuits and millet cup cake.







  1. State of Punjab


Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, ShriNarendraModi, as a flagship programme to address the declining Child Sex Ratio and related issues of empowerment of women. In Punjab, as per the data received from the Health Management Information System for 2015-16 to 2016-17, in the selected 20 districts, remarkable progress has been seen in the percentage of institutional deliveries. The Sex Ratio at Birth has shown an improving trend in 14 districts. The exemplary initiatives of various districts have inspired other states to follow suit. In Tarn district, ‘menstrual hygiene management’ was promoted in all the sub-divisions of the district during Children’s Day. The BBBP logo has been affixed on all the official letters and name plates of girls ‘Ghar Ki PehchanBetiKeNaam’ has also been initiated outsides houses in Tarn Taran district. The district has launched VIP cards for parents of ‘only girl child’. The card entitles couples to preferential services at all Government Offices in Barnala district.








  1. Ms. Madhu Jain



Madhu Jain is a Craft and revivalist Textile who has been working for thirty years to revive ikat techniques and bamboo fibres. She has been a frontrunner in Indian Textile Innovation. She was instrumental in reviving the Naksha – Kantha embroideries and Dacca Muslim in collaboration with Brac in Bangladesh. She has now innovated banboo-silk ikat, a weave of bamboo with khadi, cotton, chanderi or wool. It took 15 years to develop and provides livelihood options to bamboo growers. Madhu Jain was also given the honour of crafting an installation in the ‘Fabric of India’ segment for the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2010. Using the skills of 300 weavers, 500 craftsmen and 200 hand embroidery artisans, she designed and executed a 115-feet eco-friendly craft installation using bamboo fibre and Kalamkari craft technique.













  1. Ms. Jetsun Pema


Ms. Jetsun Pema has dedicated her life for Tibetan refugee children since 1964. With the assistance of the Government of India and other philanthropic organizations, Ms. Pema established a total of 10 residential schools, 17 day schools, 3 vocational training institutes, 3 hostels for college students and 1 college spread across India. So far, 52,000 students have graduated from her institutions, of which 50 per cent are Tibetan refugees. Apart from Tibetan children, her institutions also impart education to children from the Himalayan regions.






  1. Dr. M.S. Sunil


The term Good Samaritan is exemplified by Dr. M.S. Sunil, a retired zoology teacher in Pathanamthitta. She shows us that it is possible for one person to make a huge difference. Her father was so confident that he would have a son that he had chosen the name Sunil. But when her mother gave birth, it was a girl. When she was a student in Thiruvananthapuram she used to deliver food from the hostel mess to children begging on the beach. Then she collected clothes and gave them to the children. In 2005, she realized that people want a home more than anything and decided to build a home for sixty five year old woman who had lived under an umbrella for decades. She asked the panchayat for a small bit of land, collected small donations from family and friends and soon the woman had a house which cost Dr. Sunil one lakh. Those she has helped include a woman who spent nights under a tarpaulin, cooking food, despite having a diploma in Civil Engineering, or a man whose leg bones were shattered after a tree fell on him. While his wife was bedridden his daughter was undergoing treatment for brain cancer.


Today she has built 83 homes for destitute people. Each home has an area of 450 sq. ft. with one bedroom, a hall, kitchen and a toilet. The roof is made of galvanized iron sheets. The average time required to build these homes is 35 days. Sunil builds with small donations that she now gets through the post. She not only buys all the raw material herself but also monitors the construction and instructs the workers every day on site. Her house in Azhor village is aptly named Kripa and anyone can come for help – provided they are asking for someone else. The miracle is that she has no organisation but she continues to give solar lamps, wheelchairs to marginalised people, spectacles, school stationary to needy children, help people with emergency operations and find people small employment. She exemplifies the Power of One.








  1. Ms. Sheela Balaji



Between 1960 and now, of the 1,10,000 lakh varieties of rice, only a few thousand now survive. For SheelaBalaji, Chairperson and Managing Trustee of NGO AIM For Seva, this variety was something she wanted to bring back. So she not only grew these lost gems but also made sure that people could taste them and encourage farmers to grow them once again. Sheela researched the different nutrients and medicinal values that old rice varieties contained and started growing them on the 40 acres of land that belonged to the NGO. She started a festival of grains in Manjakkudi village in 2013.



She started with just four varieties of rice and within four years, she has preserved nearly 30 varieties.


Realizing that farmers would only grow if there was market demand she started a store, Spirit of the Earth in Chennai which stocks these varieties of rice. In order to retain the essential nutrient value, the rice is hand-pounded and semi-polished to retain the husk. The rice packaging has a line drawn map of Manjakkudi and details of the rice and its health benefits. According to the ancient texts each variety has different health benefits ranging from keeping diabetes in check t being antibacterial and sedative, improving memory, raising hemoglobin levels and curing ulcers. Her organization Aim for Seva is one of the largest NOGs in free education. It has over 100 free students hostels in 16 states across India where books, uniforms, school fees and more. She is involved in providing value based education to rural and tribal and providing aid to victims of natural disasters.







  1. Dr. Malvika Iyer



Dr.Malvika Iyer lost her hands to a freak bomb explosion in Bikaner. She also sustained multiple fractures on her legs and nerve paralysis. In two years she had multiple surgeries and it took her several years to walk again. Today she is a Ph.D. Scholar with an M.Phil in Social Work, an international motivational speaker and a disability rights activity. She is also a high fashion model. In 2013 she hosted the India Inclusion Summit. She travels all over the world to talk about the stigmatization of people with disabilities, has given TED talks on the importance of inclusion and in 2017 co-chaired the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit. She has become a part of the United Nations Inter agency Network on Youth and Gender Equality.






  1. Ms.Revanna Umadevi Nagraj



Ms. Revanna Umadevi Nagraj has had an incredible journey. Starting her career as a typist in the Horticulture Department of Karnataka in 1989, she has emerged as the female world champion in billiards. Her interest initially lay in the game of table tennis which is played by most government staffers, but one day tired of waiting for her turn to play, she wandered off towards the nearby billiards table. Many discouraged Ms. Umadevi over the years due to her age and humble beginnings, but she never let this affect her confidence. Her dedication to the game led her to her first National Championship in 2002, which she won to the surprise of many. She went on to participate in a number of World Championships in 2003, 2004 and 2011. In 2012, she won the Women’s Billiards and Snooker World Championship in UK. From an introvert, reserved typist to the world champion, the metamorphosis has been incredible.






  1. Anuradha Krishnamoorthy and Ms.Namrata Sundaresan


Anuradha Krishnamoorthy and Namrata Sundaresan of Chennai have founded an enterprise called Kase which produces 20 varieties of unique artisanal cheese. Kase is a social enterprise and is produced by women with disabilities. Both women have unusual backgrounds. Ms Krishnamoorthy is the founder of a BPO that trains people with disabilities. Ms Sundaresan is the founder of a strategic consulting firm for international investment. In a short span Kase has become very popular. The cheese is made from the organic milk of grass fed cows with no preservatives or chemicals of any kind. Even the utensils are cleaned with sea salt and vinegar in boiling water. Kase uses Indian ingredients like mint, chilli, cumin, mango. Kase is expanding into organic markets.








  1. Justice Gita Mittal


Justice Gita Mittal long recognized that following a universal procedural approach in typical court room trials involving sexual violence on women and children severely impedes equal access to justice. It results in secondary traumatization during trial and further exacerbates their victimization. To address these procedural bottlenecks and institutional barriers, Justice Mittal as a judge of the Delhi High Court spearheaded the Vulnerable Witness Project. It emerged as an unparalleled example of jurisprudential intervention and judicial leadership in which the legal and institutional barriers for access to justice to women were removed.



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Now Rural Girls volunteer as Mahila Police!

gujarat mahila policeThe women, most hailing from villages surrounding Surat and Ahmedabad, will join as Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) by the end of March.


In an exemplary move to check reported crime against women in Gujarat, young ladies from villages across the state are set to don the role of volunteers to assist Police. It has been learnt that as many as 1,041 women have been given rigorous training on basic duties performed by police and self-defence, according to Indian Express report. Apart from these, the brave ladies were made aware of issues regarding gender. The women, most hailing from villages surrounding Surat and Ahmedabad, will join as Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) by the end of March. This is an unprecedented move and volunteers are likely to act as bridge between police and victims.

The MPV project was launched last year by departments of Home, and Women and Child Welfare (WCWD) of Gujarat. Regional coordinator at the WCWD’s Gender Resource Centre Jigisha Patel said that the department had selected areas to launch the initiative and selected one woman from every village in those areas after inviting applications. Subsequently, completed one round of recruitment in November-December last year and another in January-February in 2018, Patel said.

Notably, Union Ministry of Women & Child Development had conceived the MPV initiative. The MPV initiative was given monetary assitance under the Nirbhaya fund. Haryana became the first state to have MPVs and now Gujarat also can boast of it. Superintendent of Police of Ahmedabad Rural R V Asari cited the perticular reason behind selecting the rural districts of Ahmedabad and Surat. He said that these areas are developed as compared to the others places. Asari said that their idea was to use available levels of education and awareness, and pair it with the pilot project.

The candidates will be paid Rs 1,000 per month. They will have to perform duties like attending panchayat meetings and intervene in cases. The candidates will also speak to women and do regular rounds in the village. Asari said that the candidates were even given training to overcome inhibitions.

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With not even one per cent being disabled-friendly, colleges are difficult to access for many

According to the new disability law, any college being planned must make provisions for the disabled. But the question is how many of them will comply.

It is a testimony to how far we are from realising the dream of smart cities that not even 1% of India’s 789 universities, 37,204 colleges and 11,443 stand-alone higher education institutions are disabled-friendly. This startling statistic was revealed by a forum for disabled students. Since 1995, when the government made it mandatory for educational institutions receiving aid from the State to reserve 4% seats for people with disability, there has been little improvement in the situation. Despite the enactment of the Right to Education Act in 2009, which promised free and compulsory primary education to every child in the country, less than 0.1% of India’s 2.68 crore people with disabilities are enrolled in schools. As they move from primary to secondary and higher education, the figure drops to a dismal .01%.

The dearth of infrastructure that facilitates access for the physically challenged — ramps, railings and accessible wash rooms – is just one of the reasons which prevent them from pursuing their studies. There is the absence of trained staff and alternative teaching aides. In order to compete with their peers, the partially sighted, for instance, need specialised books and material in Braille. Those are seldom provided. In the last decade, since the non-profit Samarthyam’s Centre for Accessible Environments began conducting access audits for educational institutions, co-founder Anjlee Agarwal doesn’t recall coming across even one college that can be termed disabled-friendly.

Despite the laws having acquired more teeth to deal with this issue, our planners and builders remain apathetic. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill passed in 2016 sets the government a two-year deadline to ensure that those with disability get barrier-free access in infrastructure and transport systems. Additionally, it holds the private sector — builders and developers — accountable for creating an accessible environment. This, experts say, is a departure from the 1995 act which was largely toothless. The punitive action for non-compliance can be a five-year prison term. So, in accordance with National Building Code announced in 2016, any new school and college being planned has to be 100 per cent accessible.

Since building by-laws are a state subject, implementation across the country is uneven. The few exceptions to this appear to be government-led initiatives in Odisha, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Still, putting up a ramp here and a disabled-friendly toilet there doesn’t really turn things around. One measure of a civilised society should be the sensitivity it displays towards the disabled. If a chunk of the 2.68 crore physically challenged people in the country cannot board a train, watch a movie or operate an ATM owing to lack of access, and if we make it difficult for many of them to attend college, all the talk of a demographic dividend amounts to little.

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A day out for differently abled with winged visitors

Battling the cold with sparkling enthusiasm, as many as nine differently abled members of the Chandigarh Spinal Rehabilitation Centre went for a bird walk excursion to a bird watching spot located at the Sukhna lake, along with members of the Chandigarh Bird Club, here on Thursday afternoon.

With most of the indoor patients of the facility belonging to age group of 24 and above, the excursion was conducted as part of an annual visit organised under the aegis of M S Sekhon, head of department of geography, DAV College, Sector 10, and president, Chandigarh Bird Club. “Being differently abled, we cannot exclude them from the outings and other nice things in life,” said Sekhon while speaking to TOI.

The bird walk that began from the regulatory end of the lake, commenced from the parking area beyond the Nature Interpretation Centre and witnessed an amazingly efficient support staff comprising physiotherapists, nurses and other kinds of helpers, pushing the wheelchairs of patients through the muddy terrain of the birdwatching stretch.

Peeping through the specially designed binoculars, Ashish (25), a paraplegic patient at the facility, said, “I had seen these birds last year as well. They were nice. The weather was the same though. It was the same kind of cold.” Kaushalya, one of the indoor patients at the rehab facility, said, “I love coming here. I love nature and I am enthusiastic about a lot of things like swimming.”

Numerous senior members of the Chandigarh Bird Club, an eight-year-old group of the city comprising young officers, bureaucrats and teachers among others, educated the differently abled individuals about the different species of birds like barheaded geese, coots, common pochard, tufted ducks, black headed geese, little grebe among others. “I just love being a part of this group because I am a nature lover and this lets me explore that side of me while also appreciating Chandigarh as a city,” said Amandeep, a club member.


Most of the patients admitted at the rehab facility have been dealing with spinal injuries arising out of road accidents and bullet and knife wounds among other causes. Speaking to TOI, Prem Jit Singh, a physiotherapist at the facility, said, “Most of these patients here have been living in our facility for a few months now. They also have their family members here with us as well. They are from all over the country and have also come from places like Bengaluru and Kerala. Spinal injuries leads to paralysis, making them paraplegic and quadriplegic.”


When asked about the occupational background of the patients, he said, “Most of them have jobs and businesses and some of them are students too. Each time they take a break for a few months, they come to our facility for treatment and support.”

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