Social activist Dayabai was presented with the Good Samaritan National Award at a function that was held here on Sunday.
The award, instituted by the Kottayam Social Service Society and Agape Movement, Chicago, consists of a citation and a cash purse of Rs. 50,000.
Minister for Revenue Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan presented the award.
Originally Mercy Mathew and hailing from a Christian family in Pala, Dayabai has been striving for the welfare of the Gounda tribe of Madhya Pradesh. She has currently settled in Barul of Chindwara district and has been widely acclaimed for her efforts in uplifting the backward sections in a selfless manner.
Speaking after accepting the award, Dayabai said that humanitarian values held great prominence at the time when the society was breaking apart. Equality in rights and freedom must be guaranteed for all sections. It is the responsibility of a civilised society to ensure the dignity of all persons, she said.
P.U. Thomas, who runs the Navajeevan Trust; Mahatma Gandhi University N.S.S. Programme Coordinator M.S. Sunil; and Good Shepherd Health Education Centre and Dispensary Director Sr. Anila Mathew were also presented with special awards in recognition of their humanitarian efforts. The awards consisted of a citation and cash purse of Rs. 5,000 each.
Archbishop Mathew Moolakkattu of the Kottayam Archeparchy presided over the function.
Suresh Kurup M.L.A., District Panchayat president Radha V. Nair, District Collector Mini Antony, District Superintendent of Police C. Rajagopal, former M.L.A. Thomas Chazhikadan, Kottayam Social Service Society secretary Michael Vettikattu also participated on the occasion.