Outstanding women awarded

NEW DELHI, APRIL 24. Outstanding women leaders that most people would never have read about were awarded at a special function at the Siri Fort Auditorium here today. Battling patriarchy and poverty, these women have moved beyond the confines of their houses to build roads, set up primary schools and fight for basic necessities like water. Organised by the Institute of Social Sciences, the awards were aimed at recognising the contributions made by women leaders at the grassroot levels, which often get ignored. The awardees for 2004 are: P. Baby Balakrishnan from Kerala, Ekta Jaiswal from Madhya Pradesh and Nirmala Devi Sahu. Making the impossible happen in their villages, these women have set up hi-tech panchayats, stood up against violence, started micro-credit schemes and even published citizen's charters.

As Nirmala put it, "Fear is a habit that you have to learn to live with. I have tried to make lots of changes in my village, which does not even have water. But a lot is still to be done.''

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