Arbind Singh, a well-known development activist from India, was on Friday given the prestigious Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Award at a function in Oxford for his work in the informal labour sector.
The Foundation, set up by Jeff Skoll, a philanthropist and social entrepreneur, works with local activists to drive social and economic change among the neglected sections of society.
``The Skoll Award provides a three-year core operating support grant for recipients to extend their already impressive reach,’’ the Foundation said in a statement.
Mr Scoll described Mr Singh, who heads the National Association of Street Vendors of India, as a “visionary social entrepreneur whose spirit and ability has shown that the solutions for the bottom billion in India and around the globe can be found in the bottom billion themselves”.
Mr Singh said that informal workers formed the ``backbone’’ of Indian industry and yet they were hugely neglected.
“Informal workers in India are street traders, domestic workers, construction laborers, market vendors, agriculture workers and more. They toil hard, often in actual waste piles, of garbage and scraps, but broken systems and structures keep them there in a vicious cycle with no forward progress. They are entrenched in a curious nexus of economic and social bondage. To break that bondage, we have learned, one needs innovative methods of organizing, new economic development activities and use of technology, combined with advocacy. That’s how the system gets challenged and changed,” he said.