Mangaluru, Feb 5: Noted social activist Sunita Krishnan, a Padma Shri recipient this year, on Thursday said she had faced 17 attacks in her life, faced all kinds of traumatic incidents and seen a colleague murdered in front of her.
Sunita Krishnan is co-founder of Prajwala, an NGO that rescues, rehabilitates and re-integrates sex-traffic victims into the mainstream of society and is an alumuni of School of Social Work Roshni Nilaya. She said in the last 20 years, Prajwala had rescued over 15,600 girls from prostitution and she had faced 17 attacks on her life.
"All kinds of traumatic incidents had happened, including the murder of my colleague in front of me," she said, adding she considered the Padma Shri as an acknowledgement of the cause she was fighting for.
"I am what I am because of Roshni Nilaya and I salute Roshni Nilaya for making me what I am," she said at a function at its campus to felicitate her on receiving the award. Krishnan said Roshni Nilaya had defined and moulded her.
"For many people, it would be traumatic to hear that I was gang-raped at the age of 15. When I landed in this campus, my teachers did not know that. They came to know about it after I left the campus," she said.
She said it was in the Roshni Nilaya campus here that her strategic understanding and vision on social change evolved. "The campus gave me unconditional love and acceptance. I was ready to start my mission once I left the campus," she said.
Krishnan said the honour has come to her at a time when her organisation had taken the government to court several times. "I have really troubled the government in the past and am continuing to do it. In this context, acknowledging that I am doing the right work gives me strength," she said.
Roshni Nilaya director Philomena D'Souza and dean Rameela Shekar shared their experiences with Krishnan. The school principal Sophia Fernandes was also present.