International Women’s Day 2021 special: The unsung heroes

By- Amisha Sharan

There cannot be a single day to celebrate women and their contributions to society but every year the world comes together on March 8 to bring the story of women who tirelessly work around the world in making it a better place to be.

We celebrate women every day but today on the joyous day of solidarity and unity, we bring you the stories of the unsung heroes of our society. These women are initiators and contributors, they have worked around the clock for years to make a mark in society by bringing a change around them.

This is an ode to them and hundreds of other women who continuously put their needs at the back seat so this world could be a better place! Happy Women’s Day!

Prakash Kaur – Started Unique Home For Abandoned Girls

She abandoned on the street 60 years ago as a girl child.  To change that, Prakash Kaur decided no other newborn or unwanted girl child faces the same fate as hers. She started the Unique Home for girls where she takes care of those girls who have been abandoned by their families. No religion restriction in her home and the girls have Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh names. She treats these girls as her own and doesn’t want to give them up for adoption.

She said, “I want my real mother to know that the daughter she threw out of her life is well-established. I want to prove to her that girls are not a burden”.

 Beena Rao – Teaching Slum Children For Free

Beena Rao has been teaching slum children for free in Surat, Gujarat. When asked about her source of inspiration, she said her father was her role model ever since she was a kid.  A violinist by profession, he would teach blind students for free in his spare time. Apart from providing education, she also teaches them discipline, yoga, mannerisms, and other aspects which are often neglected by government schools. And all of this is free of cost.

Dr Rani Bang – Providing Modern Medical Facilities To Tribal People

Gynaecologist Dr Rani Bang has been serving in the remotest areas for over 20 years by setting up the society for Education, Action, and Research in community health, along with her doctor husband Abhay. She started many such healthcare initiatives across India, introduced modern medicine in tribal villages and made the villagers aware of good healthcare facilities
She has worked tirelessly in making the life of tribal women easy by bringing free healthcare services to their locality. This has resulted in a substantial change in their living condition and over mortality rate of the area.

Manasi Pradhan – started a movement to end violence against women

Indian women`s rights activist and author. She is the founder of Honour for Women National Campaign, a nationwide movement to end violence against women in India. Manasi Pradhan is an author and poet who received the Rani Lakshmibai Stree Shakti Puraskar in 2013 for her work in fighting for women`s rights. She was the first woman from her village to earn a law degree. She has won many accolades including the ‘Outstanding Women Award’ in 2011 from the United Nations UN Women and National Commission for Women. She is the founder of Nirbhaya Vahini and OYSS Women and heads the Honour for Women National Campaign, a nationwide movement to end violence against women in India. She is also serving on the panel of the Central Board of Film Certification (Censor Board) for India. She is a member of the International Governing Council of World Women Organization (WWO) and the Inquiry Committee of the National Commission for Women.

Tessy Thomas, Missile Woman of India

Dr Tessy Thomas, who is currently serving as Director General, Aeronautical Systems in Aeronautical Development Establishment, Bangalore, has served more than 30 years in DRDO. She had held multi-dimensional roles & responsibilities and had contributed in various fields such as Guidance, Control, Inertial Navigation, Trajectory Simulation and Mission Design. Dr Thomas had held various key assignments in DRDO, which include Project Director for AGNI-4 project, Project Director (Mission) for the long-range AGNI-5 system, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory, DRDO.
Dr Thomas is the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Thiruvananthapuram and Indian Society for Advancement of Materials & Process Engineering, Hyderabad Chapter. Dr Thomas is also a member of various other Professional Institutions and Societies related to Science, Technology and Engineering.

Ela Bhatt- started SEWA

She is an Indian cooperative organiser, activist and Gandhian, who founded the Self-Employed Women`s Association of India (SEWA) in 1972 and served as its general secretary from 1972 to 1996. She is the current Chancellor of the Gujarat Vidyapith. A lawyer by training, Bhatt is a part of the international labour, cooperative, women, and micro-finance movements and has won several national and international awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1977), Right Livelihood Award (1984) for "helping home-based producers to organise for their welfare and self-respect" and the Padma Bhushan (1986).

Binalakshmi Nephram-  Working to bring Peace to the Northeast

Manipur’s humanitarian and gender rights activist works tirelessly for the cause of gender equality, female empowerment and ending gun culture and bringing about peace and harmony in her home state and also northeast India in general. She has been dubbed as the ‘Face and Voice of Northeast India’

Mamta Rawat - Saved thousands of lives in the Uttarakhand flood of 2013

Mamta Rawat saw her house getting washed away in the flash floods of 2013 in Uttarakhand. But this did not stop her from climbing extremely dangerous terrains to save thousands of stranded pilgrims and locals. Having been trained in mountaineering, Mamta led 30 school students to safety while also carrying the elderly on her back. All of 24 at the time, she had no official badge or government support for this rescue operation.

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