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When PM Modi signed off, and seven 'women achievers' shared their stories

Last week, the PM had tweeted that he planned to give up his social media handles on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook to women achievers on International Women's Day

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi
Sardarni Mann Kaur, who received 'Nari Shakti Puraskar 2019' on International Women's Day blessing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)

Seven women shared their life stories on the social media handles of Prime Minister on Sunday to mark the International Women’s Day. Three of them also received the Nari Shakti Puraskar from President Ram Nath Kovind at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the afternoon.

Last week, the PM had tweeted that he planned to give up his social media handles on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook to women achievers on International Women’s Day.

The seven women were chosen from different regions, economic and social strata of the country. Work done by them has also helped create awareness about schemes of the Modi government, particularly Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Jal Jeevan Mission for water conservation. The videos these seven women shared on social media were viewed widely.

“Greetings on International Women’s Day! We salute the spirit and accomplishments of our Nari Shakti. As I’d said a few days ago, I’m signing off. Through the day, seven women achievers will share their life journeys and perhaps interact with you through my social media accounts,” Modi tweeted from his personal @narendramodi handle in the morning.

Narendra Modi

Prime Minister poses for group photographs with the Nari Shakti Puraskar winners 2019. PTI

“India has outstanding women achievers in all parts of the nation. These women have done great work in a wide range of sectors. Their struggles and aspirations motivate millions. Let us keep celebrating the achievements of such women and learning from them,” the PM tweeted with hashtag “She Inspires Us”.

The seven women who shared their “life journeys” included Kalavati Devi, a mason from Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, who has helped construct over 4,000 toilets; mushroom farmer Bina Devi from Bihar’s Munger; and Arifa Jan from Srinagar in Kashmir, who works to preserve and popularize Kashmiri handicrafts. Kalavati, Bina, and Jan also received the Nari Shakti awards.

IAF women fighter pilots, Kovind, President, Smriti, Nari Shakti puraskar, awards

IAF women fighter pilots Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawanna Kanth and Mohana Singh receive ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar 2019’ from President Ram Nath Kovind as Union Minister Smriti Irani looks on, at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday.

Photo: PTI

Apart from the three, others who handled the PM’s social media handles were Maharashtra’s Vijaya Pawar, who works to conserve handicrafts of the state’s Banjara community, philanthropist and founder of Food Bank India Sneha Mohandoss, bomb blast survivor Malavika Iyer, and Hyderabad based water conservationist Kalpana Ramesh.

Before handing over his handle to women, Modi wished former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje on her birthday. First to use the PM’s social media handles was Chennai’s Sneha Mohandoss.

Meet the women... Sneha Mohandoss, founder Food Bank India, Chennai

sneha mohandoss

Sneha Mohandoss

Mohandoss founded Food Bank India at the time of the Chennai floods in 2015 to fight hunger. “Inspired by my mother, who instilled the habit of feeding the homeless, I started this initiative called Foodbank India,” she said. The NGO runs over 20 chapters and initiated activities like mass-cooking, cooking marathons, breastfeeding awareness drives. Malvika Iyer, works with people with differently abled

Malvika Iyer

Malvika Iyer

Iyer was 13 when she lost both hands in a bomb blast in Bikaner, and also her legs were severely injured. Iyer said education helped her overcome the accident. She gave her 10th class exam as a private candidate with the help of a writer and scored 97%.“People with disabilities should have equal representation. The more we see them, the more we accept them as part of our society,” she said. Kalavati Devi, Kanpur, campaigns against open defecation

Kalavati Devi

Kalavati Devi

A mason, 58-year-old Kalavati has helped build over 4,000 toilets in villages in and around Kanpur, and campaigned door-to-door about the ills of open defecation. Bina Devi, 43, Munger, Bihar

Bina Devi

Bina Devi

Referred to as the ‘mushroom mahila’ for popularising mushroom cultivation in 105 villages that has helped 1,500 women, 43-year-old Bina was sarpanch of Dhauri Panchayat, Tetiabamber block, for 5 years. She has been involved in spreading digital literacy and was awarded for training 700 women on how to use mobile by Tata Trusts. Arifa Jan, Srinagar, runs handicraft business

Arifa Jan

Arifa Jan

Arifa, 33, is the founder of Numdha Handicrafts and helped revive the lost art of Numdha handicraft. She has trained more than 100 women in Kashmir and employed 25 Kashmiri craft people and increased wages of her employees from Rs 175 to Rs 450. Vijaya Pawar, Maharashtra, conserves Banjara handicraft

Vijaya Pawar

Vijaya Pawar

Pawar has popularised Gormati arts and handicraft of the Banjara community of rural Maharashtra. From 2000 to 2004, she worked on collecting and preserving the designs, and registered an NGO in 2004. “It has helped generate employment. As many as 450 women are associated with us and another 150 run their own businesses now,” she said. Kalpana Ramesh, architect and water conservationist, Hyderabad

Kalpana Ramesh

Kalpana Ramesh

When she returned to Hyderabad from US, the family and the neighbourhood had to rely on water supply from tankers. Ramesh and her husband built a “sustainable home” about eight years ago where the effort was to preserve every drop of rainwater. She said the entire community adopted rainwater harvesting and could survive the summer of 2016 without buying a single water tanker.

First Published: Sun, March 08 2020. 21:22 IST
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