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An inspiring effort by entrepreneurs

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COMMENDABLE: Governor Surjit Singh Barnala presents the eighth national Sadguru Gnanananda award to B. Suresh Kumar of Laser Soft Infosystem at the award function in Chennai on Saturday. Swami Nityanandagiri (right) of Tapovanam is also in the pictur e. PHOTO K. PICHUMANI
COMMENDABLE: Governor Surjit Singh Barnala presents the eighth national Sadguru Gnanananda award to B. Suresh Kumar of Laser Soft Infosystem at the award function in Chennai on Saturday. Swami Nityanandagiri (right) of Tapovanam is also in the pictur e. PHOTO K. PICHUMANI

Staff Reporter

Ten of them honoured for making a difference in the lives of the underprivileged

CHENNAI: The work of 10 entrepreneurs honoured for excellence in social work at the eighth national Sadguru Gnanananda awards function held on Saturday inspires awe. Rising above extreme challenges, their strength of character has inspired those aspiring to achieve something in life.

Manav Seva Dharma Samvardhini, a public charitable Trust, honoured the entrepreneurs who made a difference in the lives of underprivileged people. The award consists of Rs.50,000, a shawl, silver salver and citation.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, who handed over the award, called for "an enabling environment where social customs and practices do not circumscribe women's rights and freedom be provided to ensure that women are empowered."

A society will acquire stability, leading to growth and development, when women are empowered. He lauded the organisation for honouring women. This would inspire and motivate more people to take up social service, he said.

MSDS managing trustee P.N. Devarajan said 80 people had been honoured with the award so far.

Aneena Joseph Mathew established Corrections India and Aswasa Bhavan in 1987 for the welfare of prisoners and their families in Kottayam.

Her organisations offer counselling de-addiction treatment to prisoners and also take up rehabilitation. Bhanumathi Narasimhan of Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth, Bangalore, has touched the lives of over 5,000 women in rural Karnataka. Gargi Banerji of Pragya in Gurgaon has encouraged farmers in the Himalayas to cultivate medicinal plants instead of merely collecting them as forest produce.

M.R. Prashantha's Prerana Resource Centre has placed over 400 visually impaired and disabled girls in rural Karnataka in industries and factories and arranged marriages for 20 disabled girls.

Radha Mani Natarajan's League for Education and Development at Srirangam has transformed the lives of women and children in Tiruchi district by improving their livelihood and empowering them economically.

`Family award' category

In the `family award' category instituted last year, A.D.S.N. Prasad and Chandra Prasad of Pathway, Chennai, were honoured for educating and rehabilitating mentally retarded children.

Doctor couple Suryaprakash Vinjamuri and S.V. Kameswari (gynaecologist) of Life-Health Reinforcement Group in Hyderabad have improved the health status of the underprivileged community visiting their urban and rural clinics.

B. Suresh Kamath, managing director of Laser Soft Infosystems, a Chennai-based banking software product company set up in 1986, received the award in the `socially responsive corporate' for employing physically challenged people in his company. Two-thirds of its employees are physically or economically challenged.

K.C. Chakrabarthy, chairman and managing director of Indian Bank, who felicitated the awardees, urged the organisations to start bank accounts with them. "Our bank wants to make them [challenged people] financially inclusive [in order] to integrate them to mainstream society.

MOP Vaishnav College secretary P. Haridas and Swami Nityanandagiri of Tapovanam also felicitated the awardees. Later, the audience were invited to interact with the awardees.

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