We, at SRL Diagnostics, believe in the power of the woman – her ability to create, nurture and transform the lives around her. While every woman is remarkable in her own way, there are those who have survived the worst and bounced back stronger; those who have broken the glass ceiling and gone beyond conventions and stereotypes; those who have challenged and changed the definition of what it means to be a woman in today’s day and age.
Every year, SRL Diagnostics’ Women of Substance award recognizes those who have managed to survive the odds, had the courage to challenge society’s norms and inspired millions of other women to follow their path. If you know such a woman and you believe her story is worth sharing with the world, you can nominate her for the Women of Substance 2017 award right here.
Who can you nominate?
Or, it could be anyone whose story makes us want to believe that there’s nothing unstoppable about her!
When does the contest close?
All nominations for the Women of Substance award must be made by 15th February 2017. The awards will be announced in the first week on March.
The nominated woman should be a resident of India.
With roots in India, Anna was born and brought up in the United Arab Emirates. Presently she works as a programme officer in communications at Maitri India, a New Delhi based Non-profit working with vulnerable populations in India including women at risk of facing gender--‐based violence, destitute and elderly women/widows, migrant workers, underprivileged communities and those affected by HIV/Aids.
Anna has a background in Mass Communication with much experience in event planning and community service. At Maitri she is responsible for managing all communication platforms, crowd funding and donor relationships. This includes creating & developing all communications and Information, educational, communication material, giving creative direction and managing Maitri's entire online content. Furthermore she also handles Maitri's social media platforms to establish and maintain dialogue with stakeholders and coordinates Maitri's internship programmes.
Lastly, Anna assists in putting together Maitri's events and also maintains donor relations with individuals and corporations for the purpose of acknowledging financial or in kind support. As a project leader on GlobalGiving, a crowd-funding platform, Anna has single handedly raised close to USD 80,000 for Maitri's projects.
Besides her present job Anna has also been a freelance graphic designer for over 6 years and worked with youth groups in the United Arab Emirates to bring hope and inspiration through events, mentoring & leadership trainings. What she loves about her job is being able to empower others through hope in ways that are creative and educational.
"The most common form of despair is not being who you are" ; the girl who wanted to be an air hostess is living in darkness since last ten years, finding a place for herself, fighting with the society and seeking for her identity... Sonia Chowdhary (29) resides in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. She took help of the neighbour Anurag(accused) to buy a cell phone. He bought a stolen cell phone and gave it to her. After few days police rang Sonia and asked her from where did she get this phone.. she told the whole story to the policeman and the accused was in lock up for whole one night. Next day when the attacker was out from lockup, he approached Sonia and asked her to apologise, when she denied to apologise, he just went to her father and had a combat with him. He attacked her on 12th may 2004 just 15 to 20 steps from her place. She was an employee in VLCC parlour. That day she was walking long down the road, naive of the fact that an evil soul is waiting to destroy her life. The accused threw five litres of acid on the brave lady Sonia. According to doctors she had 55% disfigurement on her body. She is left with never going scars that are given by her 'bhaiya'.
The accused passed away just after six months of the incident. He paid for what he did. But the justice she got wasn't the one she wanted. Justice does not mean punishment to the culprit under certain sections of IPC but in veracity it means acceptance in society. Lying in DARK she wonders how she will survive now, how she will bear the treatment expenses , while she regularly fights for a daily square of meal.
Her Father Mr. Raghubeer chowdhary , was a Tea vendor , he left his little princess in the gloomy world. The only hand which she used to hold in her grief is now resting in heaven. She is the elder one among all, she carried the responsibilities on her shoulders from a very young age, she was the helping hand to her father in running the home expenditures. She was a mother to her younger brothers and sisters, a friend to her mother and a responsible citizen to our country.
"God cannot be everywhere and that is why he created mothers" – a jewish proverb
One and a half-year-old Sania was fast asleep in her cozy mattress. Pooja stood close to her and enjoyed tucking her into the blanket now and then. She seemed like waiting for her to wake up, so that they can play. Taarika (1.5) and Maanshi(4) were playing at the backyard. They were pushing their toy car while Pinky, their caretaker, was carrying Aryan (8months) and supervising the household work.
The cloth lines were filled with clothes, and Chotu was rinsing another set of them in the wash room. Loppa was preparing dough for dinner while Poonam was cutting vegetables. The home was spic and span, and everybody was busy with their own work. Anjina welcomed us with her warm smile. "This is where my 46 children live" she says.
The children on hearing Anjina's voice came running towards her, and she spontaneously cuddled them. "Most of the children have come into our homes as infants. We only admit children who are below ten years of age. Our youngest child is Aryan who is eight months old. Children who are abandoned by their parents, and those who have lost their way home are brought to us by the Police. We try our best to trace their families and reunite them," says Anjina.
Anjina hails from a well-to-do family in Bellary. She had a passion for children since she was 10 years old. She was deeply touched by the sight of children beating drums and carrying notebooks, walking down the streets, knocking at every door, collecting donations for the orphanage they lived in. Her family moved to Sandur and later to Delhi in 1976 to get over a personal tragedy. She took up a job, and in 1983 moved to Noida.
For more than ten years, Rajni has been a volunteer with CanSupport, a non-governmental organization in Delhi, India that supports people with cancer. She was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in the year 2003-4. Now a facilitator for the peer support group, Rajni also volunteers at CanSupport's Day Care meant for those going through their cancer journey as well as their family members. The CanSupport Telephone Helpline also refers cancer patients to her for psycho social support on a regular basis and lends emotional support to those living at a considerable distance over the mail or telephone.
CanSupport has been organizing a Walk for Life for the last eight years to raise awareness about cancer. The focus of its first Walk in the year 2008 was on breast cancer in view of the increasing incidence of breast cancer in urban India. Free breast cancer awareness, screening and detection camps were organized throughout Delhi as part of the awareness campaign preceding the Walk in collaboration with other agencies and Rajni along with other volunteers worked to spread the message of the importance of early detection.
She assisted in developing the communication material disseminated at these camps, featuring in Radio talks on cancer as well as participated in many television programmes focusing on cancer with a view to spread awareness about cancer and dispel any fear or stigma related to it.
Rajni also helped compile a book titled Touching Lives based on CanSupport's work in the field of palliative care and a booklet with recipes titled “Eating well when you have cancer” that contains information on nutrition and healthy diet for cancer patients.
The road to becoming a driver has been full of hurdles for Omkari, but she has emerged strong and confident through it all. A resident of East Delhi, she has four children to take care of. While training, her regular day, which started at 04:30 am, included cooking, cleaning, washing and the training, after which she went home and took care of the children. Despite facing criticism from the neighbours, she had the support of her husband and though slowly, she was successful in completing her training and joining Sakha.
Today, she is a successful commercial driver and one can see her driving all around the city even at late hours of the night. Her hard work, positive attitude and commitment have made her independent along with being a welcome support for the family.
Sultana's family was a well off middle class family yet the thinking of her father was very narrow as he believed that women should not be educated and given liberty. Her mother died while she was still young and her father remarried.
Sultana who wanted to study further had taken admission in BA but soon after that she was married off to the son of the Tahsildar of Warangal Subedari. The in-laws cheated by claiming that he was a Fashion Designer but in reality he was a lazy and an ego-centric man with no job in hand either. He was also known to be mentally unstable which the family had hidden from Sultana's parents at the time of the marriage.
Just after they got married she decided to make a living and set up a tailoring shop which she took on lease. Seeing her flourish he started getting jealous due to which he would avenge her physically and sexually. Due to this her condition deteriorated and was hospitalized for a month. During her stay at the hospital her husband leased out her tailoring shop without her consent.
Soon after this she became pregnant and in the 8 th month of her pregnancy she faced the worst moment of her life; her husband cut off her nose. She was immediately admitted in the hospital but her condition was extremely critical due to which she went into coma. She came back from coma after 21 days and soon after which she delivered a baby boy. By then the news of her condition reached several media houses and women activist immediately stood for her support. The in-laws who had come to take away the baby boy were snubbed away by the police, media and the women activists.
She started juggling between two hospitals for resurrection of her face. Her own family abandoned her as well and infact her father insisted her on getting back with her husband as no one would marry her after seeing her face.
Sultana took up the job of an attender at Osmania General Hospital where she was being treated for her facial resurrection and worked there for 7 months. In the 7th month she was monitored by her doctors to see how she recovers and how much can was able to cope and take care of her child as well.
Soon after she stayed with her brother and her sister-in- law for seven months under house arrest, as they feared that Sultana would file a case against the families.
She managed to convince her brother to let her attend tailoring classes where Shaheen Welfare members found her. After a lot of counseling she decided to move out of her brother's house and stay independently along with her son.She suffered 14 years of violence from her in-laws, her own family and the community people; went through 8 plastic surgeries which were each almost 8 to 9 hours long. After so many struggles she is now a free and independent woman with a son to take care of.
She is an internationally-certified Life Coach, holistic healing therapist and motivational speaker and writer and prospective author. She completed her Masters in Psychology and Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration with a Major in Finance and HR. She has also been certified and licensed as a Project Management Professional from USA. She worked in the corporate sector for about 13 years and eventually retired while at the peak of her career as AVP.
She realized that her passion was to help people recognize their true potential and also know the limitation of their power. She learnt that giving motivational talks was not enough. So, she studied the mind and learnt therapies that would help others let go of their fears and limiting beliefs. She has been trained in over 50 different therapies and courses which are either holistic healing or self- help courses such as life coaching, business coaching, Silva's UltraMind ESP, Law of Attraction, Heal Your Life, Beyond the Alpha Brain, hypnotherapy, past life regression, inner child therapy, re-birthing breathwork, magnified healing, Pranci Healing-Arhat Yogi, Reiki Grandmaster and more.
She is the founder of Energy Healing Bliss & Helping Hands. She has been practising the above modalities since 2006 however she started to talk about it openly and publicly after she resigned from her last job in 2010. She has been teaching these techniques and holding workshops post 2010.
She is an Iranian by birth, however, she in no religion and no nationality. She believes she is a global citizen and everywhere she goes is her home. She comes from an affluent, however extremely dysfunctional, family in Iran where both her brothers and even mother were her responsibility due to ongoing parental and emotional challenges. Her siblings and she had to stand on their own feet as early as the age of 17 and that is how they all became very independent. She also went through two physically and emotionally abusive relationships.
She started the charity work in 2008, where she concentrates on acid attack victims, marriages of poor girls, under privileged children and women who have been victim of abuse. She raised funds and she now has a family of 10-15 strangers.
In 2016 Helping Hands organized 4 events - celebrated Christmas with under privileged children, celebrated New Years with 180 inmates of Prabh Aasra (home for the retarded and elderly), a 'langar' for 400 people and another 'langar' to provide warm food at night to the homeless. They are now raising funds for acid attack victims.
Renu Mathur was ditched by her business partner and suffered a loss of crores. She couldn't bear her basic expenses and had no one to help her.
She decided to help every needy woman in trouble. By profession she is a divinatory. She started a helpline for women especially acid attack suffererers, female dowry victims and victims of humiliation and domestic violence.
Shahnaz Begum aged 21 years old is a home maker. She has four brothers and two sisters. When she was studying in 8 th standard Rashad, one of the agents came to her grandmother and brought a marriage proposal. Rashad said that the Sheiks came here for the marriage and her daughter has to take care of children. By listening to the proposal, her parents forced her for the marriage.
One sheik out of four who was 57-years- old selected her for the marriage. The Sheik gave Rs. 20,000/- to her mother and Rs. 50,000/- to the agent and the Quazi.
After 15 days he married her and stayed with her for five months. She came to know that he had eight wives and she was the ninth one. He used to physically and mentally harass her for sexual purposes.
Her parents asked her to take the decision of Khula and supported her. After taking Khula she lived with her family but they also started harassing her. Vexed by her family's behavior she agreed for a second marriage with Syed Nazeer Miya. He was working as a SI in Hyderabad.
After the marriage Syed Nazeer Miya's first wife started harassing Shahnaz. After this, she decided to take khula. But, unfortunately, the family members started harassing her. They wanted her to marry someone and to leave the home, so that they can live happily. She was pregnant and because of the frequent beating, tension and harassment she aborted the child.
Now, she doesn't want to get married again. She wants to continue her education and wants to have computer training. She wants to enjoy rest of the life independently.
She is HIV-positive who lost her husband to AIDS in 2005 when she was just 23. Her husband was the sole earning member of their family.
When she discovered that she and her kids were HIV-positive her family left her alone, a widow with three children and no money. She moved to Chandigarh for treatment and started looking for a job. When she used to visit PGI with her kids' technicians people would ask her a lot of private questions. She decided to come forward and to help others like her.
President of Right Way Child & Women Welfare Society, an NGO. She is working for the welfare of women and children since 1989. She also works for providing education and food to slum children. She owns a parlour where she gives free training to girls and helps them become financially independent. She doesn't get funds from the government or any other community but spends her own money for the upliftment of poor children and women. She helps rape survivors and help them fight their case with their legal advisors. She has conducted 11 weddings so far on her own expense.
Rajinder Rozy, born on 2 August, 1956 in Patiala, is a famous personality in the field of literature. Rozy belongs to a middle class family. Her father was a vegetable seller and mother was a less educated homemaker. Rozy was in class 11 when she translated Kamayani and she could not continue her study after 11 th but it was because of her hard work that she learned Hindi, English, Punjabi, Sanskrit and Urdu. She wrote her first poem 'Raat meri soyi, Tumhara khayal Jaga' while still a teenager. At the age of 20, she got married and continued writing even though her family did not support her. She published her first book 'Main Phool Banke Avangi' in Punjabi language in 1989. After four years, she wrote her second book 'Sagar de Kol' in 1993. Rozy wrote more than 500 poems and has translated numerous poems and books in different languages. She translated Jai Shankar Prasad's Kamayani in Punjabi and was recognized by the Punjab Language Department.
Rozy started a literature column 'Naviyaan Kalma' in Lok Sampark Vibhag Punjab's magazine 'Jagriti'. Rozy's accolades include recognition from Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Allahabad, Punjabi Kavi Mandal, Noorpuri Literature Sabha Mohali, Punjabi Yuvak Munch Patiala and many more. At the age of 60, she also worked for social welfare. She has been associated with 'Simmi Marwaha Memorial Charitable Trust' as Managing Trustee for 12 years. She is also the life member of 'Indian Red Cross Society' and runs a trust named Marwah, in which TB patients are taken care of.
A 25-year- old woman from Tenali, a town in Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, Lavanya, got married to a management trainee in a software company from Hyderabad, who is physically challenged. Studied till the 10 th standard, she stopped her further education due to the death of her mother, since she had to take care of her younger brother and younger sister. When her father passed away, her paternal relatives arranged her marriage through a matrimonial agency. About 2 lakhs worth gold ornaments and silver was given to the bride's groom during the marriage.
After staying with her in-laws for 5 days, her mother in-law sent her back to her maternal home. She was anxious about her husband's health as he was not well when she had left. She took her brother's friend's mobile phone to call her husband.
She didn't anticipate any trouble and was happy that she could talk to her husband, but when she returned to his house she was blamed by him, saying that he received abusive messages from the mobile she used to call him. He also alleged that she has had physical relations with other men before marriage and has gone through many abortions. Shocked by this, Lavanya tried to convince her husband that there were no such relations and begged him to believe her. The husband got convinced, but her in-laws were still suspecting and started ill-treating her. They even started to physically abuse her and in spite of her husband trying to stop them, they continued.
After a couple of months, she was sent back to her maternal home since her husband was preparing for his Law exams and he also didn't want to give his parents and siblings another chance to abuse her. She waited for her husband's call, but in vain. Waiting for more than a month, her maternal uncle and her brother brought her to her in-laws house and wanted to question them about the scars she had when she reached home. But her husband and in-laws did not allow either Lavanya or her relatives to enter the premises. Moreover, they made a police complaint against them.
The neighbors tried to intervene and talk to her husband's family, but failed. Feeling dejected with the situation, Lavanya tried to commit suicide that night but was rescued by the police. The next morning, one of her neighbors called on our Helpline and informed us about the matter. The Director and the Counselor went there and spoke to Lavanya, bringing her to the Bhumika office. Shelter was provided along with counseling support. On the following day, the counselor took them to Chikkadapally Police Station and helped in filing the case.
Lavanya was in depression again. She sent an SMS to her neighbor in Hyderabad, saying that she was feeling terribly upset and was going to commit suicide. She also mentioned that her husband had filed a case against her. The neighbor forwarded the SMS to Bhumika's Director. Bhumika called Lavanya and talked to her to give confidence and tried to build trust by convincing her, that the entire Bhumika family is with her in this fight for justice. Relieved by this, Lavanya decided to come to Hyderabad to reconstruct her life with confidence and fight back the allegations made against her.
Our counselors used to visit the shelter home in Hyderabad on a regular basis with enough support from the Home managers. She was accompanied to Nampally Women Police Station by them to attend the prescribed counseling sessions. Her husband and in-laws were also called for counseling but it didn't help much as the husband continued to believe that the mistake was Lavanya's. After the unfruitful counseling sessions, Lavanya decided to file a case of Domestic Violence against her husband's family. She was thus taken to the Protection Officer and was supported by all means in the further proceedings. The effort is still ongoing.
Bhumika provided her with clothing and other necessities. She received the legal expenditure. Considering her need and education qualifications, she has been appointed as Office Assistant in the Bhumika office. Bhumika is motivating her to pursue her education through the Open University system.
She was able to concentrate on starting afresh. Lavanya is actively participating in the activities at Shelter Home. She is now earning and is able to pay the fee at Shelter Home. She is also supporting her brother by sending money to their family needs and for treatment of her grandfather. She is no longer a victim but a survivor of violence and a role model to many such women.
Within 2 months, she has built her self-esteem, developed leadership qualities, improved knowledge and communication skills. She has become a dynamic personality, not only in supporting the other women, but also acts as a counselor. She is spreading awareness on acts like the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Section 498A of Indian Penal Code, etc by gathering knowledge from Bhumika.
Lavanya says that her dream is to "witness a violence free and women friendly society. She suggests that there should be a speedy justice to enable women to lead a life with dignity".
Sujatha Burla was born in Bellampalli in Andhra Pradesh. She was passionate about photography and got involved in the photography business at a very young age. In 2001, she met with a serious car accident while going to Shirdi. She escaped death but suffered a spinal cord injury. After 3 years, with the help of Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (VRC), she started a textile business with 2 people. Within 6 months she could run the unit with 10 people. With this textile business she helped many unemployed and unprivileged women. She started an NGO called "Shraddha" to help people. And was called to motivate people in the corporate sector. She was even invited to be a part of a faculty session for ISRO & NASA scientists in ASCI (Administrative Staff College of India). In this regard she was awarded “Naveena Neti Mahila“ by a leading news channel. She participated in marathons and blood donation camps. She started her new career as an anchor in leading news channel TV9 in a show called Close Encounter with Suzy. She has successfully completed 40 episodes and is doing another show Varadhi.
Sujatha Burla was born in Bellampalli in Andhra Pradesh. She was passionate about photography and got involved in the photography business at a very young age. In 2001, she met with a serious car accident while going to Shirdi. She escaped death but suffered a spinal cord injury. After 3 years, with the help of Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (VRC), she started a textile business with 2 people. Within 6 months she could run the unit with 10 people. With this textile business she helped many unemployed and unprivileged women. She started an NGO called "Shraddha" to help people. And was called to motivate people in the corporate sector. She was even invited to be a part of a faculty session for ISRO & NASA scientists in ASCI (Administrative Staff College of India). In this regard she was awarded "Naveena Neti Mahila" by a leading news channel. She participated in marathons and blood donation camps. She started her new career as an anchor in leading news channel TV9 in a show called Close Encounter with Suzy. She has successfully completed 40 episodes and is doing another show Varadhi.Ruchika met with an accident which crippled her and made it almost impossible for her to walk, but she went ahead to study at Indian School of Business, hosted more than 700 cookery shows and challenged the world by walking the ramp at beauty pageants and pocketed many coveted tittles. Her spirit to fight is infectiously inspiring. After meeting with an accident at the ORR in December 2012, she was very keen on finishing the entrepreneurship course at ISB. She got admission and had won the award for the best business plan. Ruchika won the crowns of Mrs India Hyderabad International 2014 and Mrs South Asia at the Crown Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, Atlanta. She has now started an NGO called as Being Women.
Vandana has served in the Indian army for 10 years across Indian geographies in War and peace from places like Ladakh, Rajasthan to North East.
She has Fought the Kargil War in 1999 and has set a strong example for Women to establish a powerful identity in male dominated society and earn respect of peer and superiors even during harsh conditions of War.
In July 1992 the Indian Navy started inducting women as Short Service Commissioned officers in select branches of the Navy including ATC (Air Traffic Controller), Remadevi was the first woman to walk through its gates. Born and brought up in a sleepy little village, Nemom near Trivandrum in Kerala, she did her schooling and graduation from Trivandrum. When it came to the question of a career, she had two options before her- to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor or do a post-graduation and become an educationist. And then suddenly everything changed. Her brother brought her a newspaper clipping with the announcement about the entry of women to Naval Air Traffic services.
His talk about the glory of serving the nation and donning the uniform had fascinated Remadevi and aroused her curiosity in this field. This, with the desire to do something offbeat, led her to apply for the interview. Remadevi had set on the road less travelled. She was one among the three girls who were selected to join the first batch of Women Air traffic controllers with Indian Navy.
Rumni is Political Socio analyst. She has completed her education inspite of medical adversity. She has qualified in CTET and has also done her masters, B.ed
She was diagnosed with Thalassemia major when she was 4 months old and in 2005 diabetes. Currently she is working as a teacher in a private school. She is insuline dependent
She travel and work alone with perfection. She wants to work in NGO and open her own school and NGO.
Sadly, she always wanted to work with government school, but hasn’t achieved her dream as there is no reservation for thalassemia patient. Her fight is unseen.
After death of her husband when her younger daughter was 12 years old, Ms. Inez D’costa raised all 5 daughters on her own. She has also proved her exceptional humanity while working tirelessly every day for other people with several charities in which she is an active member and her engagement with slums, rehabilitation of families.
Today, she’s financially supporting numerous people by helping them for their medical needs, education, housing and other basic amenities of life. She is selfless with her deeds and is truly a role model for women everywhere.
Shakuntala is a M.Sc. zoology graduate, due to financial constraints she opted for business over education. And her choices did have various consequences with the worst being boycotted by her own family & the society of course. She's the only lady cement dealer in north Karnataka. She has been the no.1 in this field for almost 25 years. She is not very great in English, yet she commands the cement business in north Karnataka. No cement company can deny her leadership,
People visit her office just to get a glimpses of her working style. A very straight forward and focused lady, who believes in winning the odds. She is always very supportive of people who wish to change their life around just the way she did. She has grown an empire, a brand over these 25 years and a lady with utmost respect in the society. She has toiled for years and still has the fighter spirit lit in her. She has also been featured in various publications, that she truly deserves and holds the personality to inspire ladies who dream of the impossible.
Mrs. Sujatha R Bhat, was working in Skyline Constructions and RP Goenka Group. She also worked at South Asia Rural Reconstruction, an NGO involved in the development of rural areas earlier.
However, because she wanted dedicate herself completely into betterment of others, she established ‘Asha Jeevan’. Asha Jeevan is a home for the aged in Bangalore which understands the importance of providing quality care to the inhabitants and offers residential services for the destitute and elderly who suffer from mental and psychological ailments. She is doing this work without any governmental support and people think that Asha Jeevan is a blessing for the society. She is inspiring to all woman who want to do service to society
Rajalakshmi is a true Achievers and it appears clear from her story. She met with an accident at the age of 21 and lost both her legs, the accident damaged her spinal cord and left her paralyzed.
Despite of all such atrocities she won the title of Miss wheelchair India,2014 and in the year 2016 she herself organized this event. The incident shattered her from the inside but her mother encouraged her to accept the life as it is. Dr. Rajalakshmi accepted this reality and cleared her graduation and internship in the wheel chair. Infact, initially reluctant to use wheelchair she now considers it as her best friend. All this prompted Dr. Rajalakshmi to go for childhood dream of becoming a model and rest was history for the woman of mark.
Jamuna is truly a role model. She used to be software professional. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an illness which has no known cure till date and literally gets worse by the passing day. But Jamuna did not allow that fact to deter her resolve, and over last 10+ years she has fought hard against the condition.
She tried every possible alternate treatment over the last many years, and today she is in complete control of her ailment. She is a well know author of children's stories. She has also written a book about her struggle and her victory over MS. A mother of two children, she initially started writing for children even when was in the software profession. She has authored two books for children.
Jyoti Tiwari heads the Delhi Centre of Confidare Communiity Center for Men. She is a prominent proponent of men’s welfare and a research analyst at Confidare Research.
Being a female, Jyoti boldly stands for men’s cause. She has worked towards sensitizing MPs and MLAs about the men’s issues and problems. Jyoti has spoken to thousands of victimized men, listened to their problems and helped them stabilize in crisis situations. She has also co-authored research reports to Government of India and has appeared on international radio shows as well for creating awareness about the issues that men go through. At the same time Jyoti is also a blogger and a citizen journalist.
In a world where everyone talks about women, she is one courageous woman who works for men.
Urmila Sharma, aged 61 years has raised her children (including a 37 year old 100% disabled girl) to a level that they have made achievements in their respective fields. She sacrificed her whole life serving elder sister Kajal who is a patient of Cerebral Palsy since birth (present age 37 years)
The achievements of children of Urmila even after all the adversities and challenges faced living in an unauthorized colony and an orthodox male dominated joint family has been possible only because of her strong support and confidence towards her children
Earlier, Urmila Sharma received Award of Appreciation for being an Ideal mother in the workshop on Challenges.
Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj is an Independent Journalist and a Documentary Filmmaker from India. Her first short documentary Gramin Dak Sevak based on employment challenges of rural postal employees was Jeevika All Asia Livelihood Film Festival 2009, student film winner. Her second short documentary Youth Count focussed on youth and its attitude towards voting and elections.
She has also worked on documentary projects for United Nations Environmental Program, USAID, Counterpart International, Sarthak covering issues related to women, people with disabilities and environment. Martyrs of Marriage is her first independent documentary feature which she has researched, scripted, produced and directed on her own. she was one of the ten media professionals selected from around the world for ‘Future Media Leaders Course’ conducted by Thomson Foundation, UK in 2010.
A Radio Jockey by profession, Pallavi was one of the most popular RJs on radio Mirchi Delhi.
She was struck by the debilitating disease Myaesthenia Gravis, which led to the cancerous Thymoma. The terribly tragic irony of a radio presenter and voice artist losing her speech. For the past twelve years Pallavi has fought repeated returns of the illness and yet single handedly run Mirchi's CSR division that works for the visually impaired.
She tried a return to the airwaves some years ago but with a paralysed vocal cord and constant ill health that didn't work. Pallavi's joy for life, her love for friends and family, her constant generosity towards colleagues and strangers takes ones breath away. She has faced fear, loss of self worth, tremendous physical & financial hardship yet always has a smile and a kind word for all.
Abha Khetarpal has contracted polio from the age of 3 and has around 80% of disability. She is polio survivor but she never surrendered to adversities and today works relentlessly for persons with disabilities. She has been providing free online counseling to people with disabilities since 2011. She is also a disability rights activist. She is an awardee of #100 Women Achievers Award by Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Abha has developed the first ever mobile application for persons with disabilities for which she has won NCPEDP Mphasis Universal Design Award 2015. She has written multiple books on Women with Disabilities. She has started first of its kind online classrooms for students with disabilities. She was one of the four protagonists in the 61st National Award winning documentary Accsex. Recently in 2016 she has been given National Award in Role Model category by President of India.
Zeenat Ara, 28, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) when she was eight months old. It is her belief in God that gives her the willpower to face her debilitating ailment. Except for the time she spends sitting in her customised wheelchair, Zeenat is completely bed-ridden. She has published her autobiography, The Real Fighter Zeenat Ara, where she has written of her silent battle against the disease. The book is her effort to increase awareness of SMA, which is a rare genetic disorder in India.
Gauravma Snehlata Hooda runs a school in the Delhi-NCR region and helps over 400 underprivileged students fight for their basic right to education. After her retired as a teacher from Delhi administration schools, she started teaching 20 children under a tree in 2005. She has been teaching children after her retirement also. Now she is 80 years old and believes that ‘values’ take precedence over education.
Many people, moved by her zeal to make a difference, volunteered to help out and teach the children.
Shipra lost her father when she was just 10 years old. Her family used to stay in a small village near Alwar, but her mother late Aruna sharma supported her and she studies in the best of schools in Pilani. Later on she studied at IIM Calcutta and financed her own studies.
Today, she is providing training to 10,000 woman of power section of the society. Shipra trains woman prisoner and war widows to become self sustaining. She is Founder and Director of Jagan Raj Professional Studies, which has 30 skills centers across India. All these centers provide free trainings and material for training in stitching and beauty and computers.
Daisyraj Singh started her work from a remote tea gardens in North East state of India, where there was no phone or internet connectivity.
Daisyraj Singh has a proud journey that blossomed from being a housewife to a social worker to an author. She has trained about 40 girls in needle work making them self-sufficient, giving them stipend at the same time. The dedication towards the work is visible in the way she had been relentlessly involved by leaving her four and half year old child to accompany the patients for treatment.
Today she runs an NGO ‘D' NICHE Foundation’ based in Alipurduar, West Bengal which provides health and education assistance to poor and needy. She has been working tirelessly from past 8 years for the underprivileged people in North Bengal providing them with treatments at the best facilities in Mumbai.
Mansi is a psychologist in Kolkata, who has been counselling adults, teenagers, family and couples. She is also a Certified Anger Management Specialist and a Certified Marital Therapist.
She is someone who has not only survived the childhood history of sexual, emotional and physical abuse but has also undergone through abusive marriage which led to death of her baby preeclampsia (twice). From there she took onus of her life and then built a second marriage which only few can hope to achieve. Today she works as a psychologist to help people lead awesome lives and gets great feedback.
She fights and help people overcoming issues such as mental trauma, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, grief, premarital issues, infertility, marital problem, and mood as well as personality disorders.
Santana Basu grew up in a small village in Nadia district of West Bengal. She was a brilliant student at school and at night she used to stay up to do her lessons. She enrolled herself into a high school away from her village, since her village didn't have high schools and being an extraordinary student.
She came to the city (Kolkata) to pursue a B.Sc. degree with honors in Mathematics. She was accepted for admission into a law college, and she cleared her LL.B. with excellent marks. She spent her time with children in orphanages so that they do not miss out on the love of a mother. She has convinced many children who have dropped out of school to join back, after informing them about Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, and have helped them stay determined to their goals. She continues to inspire her students, both former and present, and everyone else whose lives she has touched, with the motto that nothing is impossible if you try hard for it.
Pranaadhika Sinha Dev Burman is the epitome of the rebel with a cause. Having suffered multiple sexual abuse as a child, Pranaadhika did what very few people do – she raised her voice against it. She founded an NGO Elaan – a support group for child abuse survivors and as an independent activist has started the 1 Million Against Child/Adult Sexual Abuse Campaign. Her extensive work and efforts to prevent child sexual abuse, helping out at old age homes and rehabilitation of acid attack victims are being recognized across.She proclaims that teachers and staff must learn how to identify signs of abuse and provide counselling and parents must learn how to protect their children.
She is also running a public petition for asking the two largest school boards in India – CBSE and ISCE to make Personal Safety Education a compulsory part of the syllabus.
At 12, Subhashini was married off to an agricultural worker who lived in Hanspukur village. Subhashini struggled to make ends meet, cooking and cleaning all day long for her husband and four children. Disaster struck in 1971 when her husband began writhing in pain and she rushed him to the district hospital in Kolkata. Lastly, he died there. She was poor and illiterate with four small frightened, hungry children to raise the eldest being eight years old, the youngest not even two. That day Subhashini made an oath that no one should suffer her fate.
She moved to the village and began selling vegetables. Gradually when her business grew, she headed for Kolkata where she sold vegetables. For 20 years, she scrimped and saved. She spent nothing on herself and little on her children, except for elder son’s education. she had not given up on her dream of building that hospital. In 1992, she bought one acre of land in her husband’s village, Hanspukur. After a lot of struggle then later a hospital was built named as ‘Humanity Hospital’. In the meantime, the elder son got admission into the prestigious Kolkaka Medical College and after graduation, attended to the day to day running of the Humanity Hospital. Today it has expanded to 9,000 sq feet spread over two floors.
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