05 Apr 2011
Announcement for the recipients of “Champions of Social Transformation” awards
The National Governing Body of the Baha'is of India is proud to announce the recipients of its Champions of Social Transformation Awards, given in honour of the Bahai Temple’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. The recipients are being recognised for their outstanding contributions in three areas of the development of humanity: Promoting Communal Harmony, Education of Girls, and Empowerment of Youth. The Baha'i community considers the above mentioned areas vital for the progress and betterment of society.
Receiving the Promoting Communal Harmony award is Sophia Khan of Ahmedabad, a human rights activist and lawyer. She and her family were driven out of their original residence in Ahmedabad during the Gujarat conflict of 2002. Overcoming great odds she founded SAFAR, an organisation which assists both Muslim victims of the conflict as well as impoverished Hindus, especially Dalits. In September 2011 Ms. Khan launched a new initiative, called the ¨Institute of Pluralism¨ which brings together people of different communities, in learning and fellowship, in order to celebrate diversity and promote pluralism.
Winning recognition for their contribution to the Education of Girls is the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES) of New Delhi. PPES strives to improve the socioeconomic status of rural India through providing educational facilities to girls and employment opportunities to women. The founder of PPES is Virendra Sam Singh, who in 2000 established a school for girls in Anoopshahr, a city located in Bulandshar – one of the most impoverished and illiterate districts of Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Singh was struck by the fact that more than 85% of girls have no access to primary education. The school currently enrolls 1,100 girls from nursery school to grade 12 and funds all of their educational expenses. In addition, the PPES Production Centre promotes traditional skills and integrates them into contemporary products to provide livelihood-generation opportunities to women from impoverished communities. Products manufactured under the label Pardada Pardadi contribute toward improving the economic status of the women workers, who are paid on an equitable basis and help to sustain PPES.
Recipient of the Empowerment of Youth Award is website Youth ki Awaaz founder Anshul Tewari of Noida. As its name suggests, Youth ki Awaaz is a mouthpiece for youth using an online journalism format in which they express themselves on issues of local, national and international importance. The website, www.youthkiawaaz.com, is not only dedicated to creating awareness among youth to take initiative in voicing their opinion, but is also instrumental in helping them implement the change they want to be. Mr. Tewari, a journalism student at the University of Delhi, launched the website in March 2008. Since then it has grown quickly, with more than 100 youths across the globe working to maintain the platform.