New Delhi, April 27: Despite poverty, family violence and discontinued education, Ms Manika Majumar became West Bengal’s first trained barefoot community mental health counselor.
In partnership with local urban bodies, she and her team from Anjali, a Kolkata-based NGO, run a community mental health kiosk, to provide de-stigmatized, accessible and affordable mental healthcare to marginalized individuals and families across 35 municipal wards.
Ms Majumar was among the three grassroots women leaders who received the CII Foundation Woman Exemplar Award 2017 from the President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, in recognition of her extraordinary contribution in the field of health, at the CII Exclusive Award Session held in New Delhi.
In addition to a cash reward of Rs 300,000 each given to the three Winners, all winners and finalists, who reached the final stage of selection, will be part of a leadership training and mentoring program.
The other two recipients of the awards are Ms Jayamma Bandari (education) and Ms Kamal Kumbhar (micro-enterprise).
Orphaned at the age of 3, Ms Jayamma Bandari dropped out of school due to poverty.
Later, domestic violence forced her to earn through sex work. She fought against all odds to set up Chaithanya Mahila Mandali (CMM), an NGO dedicated to empower women and protect children of sex workers from harassment, trafficking and sexual abuse and ensures formal education. Jayamma works actively with over 4000 women in sex work and connects them to child care facilities, child protection schemes, skill trainings and alternative livelihoods.
Daughter of a daily-wage labourer, Ms Kamal Kumbhar walked out of poverty and a failed marriage to set up Kamal Poultry and Ekta Sakhi Producer Company.
Her ventures have enabled 3000 women to run successful poultry farms, doubling their households’ incomes in the drought-prone region of Osmanabad, Maharshtra. A serial entrepreneur, Kamal today owns six different businesses and is a role model business leader. These three extraordinary women change makers were recognized as the CII Foundation Woman Exemplars 2017.
The Award is part of the CII Foundation Woman Exemplar Program which focuses on promoting women’s empowerment at the community level by discovering and recognizing those who chose to look beyond their limitations and contributed significantly to positively impact the community.
Since its inception in 2005, 38 women have been recognized and supported. The platform aims at celebrating the Women Exemplar Collective with industry leaders, and to spur dynamic learning and exchange among the Women change makers.
Selected by an eminent panel from Industry and social sector, the awardees were shortlisted from over 170 nominations received from grassroots NGOs across the country.
The award, now in its 13th year, was supported by Synergy Group (in Health category) and Microsoft (in Micro-Enterprise category).