Three women honoured for grassroot contribution

Wednesday, 30 April 2008, 04:47 Hrs
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New Delhi: In an effort to promote women's empowerment, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Tuesday honoured three women, who at the grass root level faced all odds but made significant contribution in the fields of health, education and micro-enterprise.

Saluting their spirit and exemplary achievement, the CII gave away the Women Exemplar/Adarsh Stree award, 2008, to Shahana K.T. for her work in the field of education, N. Nandadevi for health, and S. Dhanalakshmi for micro-enterprise.

"I studied up to class 12 but I always had an eagerness within me to do something more. I knew that information technology has the capability to create waves. Therefore, I decided to join a computer institute and learn computer skills," Shahana, her head covered with a red dupatta and a radiant smile across her face, told IANS after receiving the award.

"After that, I decided to spread my knowledge among others, especially the girls. In Kerala, where I come from, women are literate but most only up to class 10, and then they are married off. With my initiative, I wanted to empower them so that they could get jobs with their newly acquired skills," she said.

Shahana not only teaches computer skills to children and women, but has also initiated a Bhumi club which aims to circumvent the middlemen and offer the advantage of e-literacy to farmers.

N. Nandadevi, who was honoured for her immense work in the field of health, especially in context of HIV/AIDS in Manipur, her home state, said that the award was a great encouragement for her.

"It feels good when someone recognizes your efforts. I have been working in this field for over 20 years and once in a while, encouragements such as these are needed to boost your morale," said Nandadevi.

S. Dhanalakshmi, a Dalit woman from Kerala who was awarded for her innovative efforts in mushroom cultivation, said that she now dreams of exporting mushroom.

"The people in my neighbourhood call me Kalan Dhan (wealth of the mushroom)," she said with a smile.

"With this award I hope to rope in more people, especially women, into the field of mushroom cultivation because it requires less capital investment and has large benefits. I also hope to get into export," she said.

The award, which constitutes a citation, a medal and a cash prize of 100,000 was given away by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

The CII started giving away the Women Exemplar/Adarsh Stree award since 2005 to encourage women from the grass root level to take up initiatives which contribute towards the nation's development.
Source: IANS
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