Nari Shakti Award in name of 44 women this time

On the occasion of International Women's day, 44 women were honoured by the President of India with the prestigious Nari Shakti Awards which is the highest civilian honour for women in India.

These 44 women, hailing from different backgrounds, had broken barriers in various streams ranging from social development to technological innovations and medical excellence.

For 30-year-old Ruma Devi, who hails from Barmer in Rajasthan, receiving an award from the President was something she had never imagined till date.

According to Ruma, "The award is a huge boost not just for me but for the society as well."

Ruma Devi was married at an early age but being skilled in stitching and embroidery, she gathered some women to form a self help group that would make bags and other handcraft items.

For her, it was a prestigious recognition which was not expected "It was not easy in the beginning, had to convince my husband and in-laws. But now, they are very supportive, she added.

Like her, for acid attack survivor Pragya Prasun, the award is a hope to change society's approach towards those who have been victims of acid attacks.

An acid attack survivor is still judged by the looks and not accepted in society according to Pragya."Acceptance and love from the society is the biggest challenge.  Pragya was attacked in 2006, just 12 days after her marriage. She said her life had turned upside down but the incident failed to deter her.

Pragya runs an NGO, Atijeevan Foundation that helps survivors of acid attacks become economically independent. Her NGO has so far helped more than 200 such survivors.

"The attack had deeply affected me, psychologically mostly. But then I decided not to remain as a victim. I made a point to fight back and now I offer free surgeries to those who have been victims of acid attacks," she stated.

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme is voluntarily used by the One Stop Centre (OSC) of Lucknow which also received the award for its exceptional progress in improving child sex ratio at birth.

These awards were given by the Women and Child Development Ministry, the nominations for the same was done after scrutinizing the achievements of the contributors including vulnerable and marginalised sector of women.

The categories included scientists, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, social workers, farmers, artists, masons, woman marine pilot, woman commando trainer, journalists and film-makers and many others, who have been an achiever in their fields by chasing their dreams and not deterred in achieving their goals specially women.

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