Abhaya, Women's Welfare Society get Durgabai Deshmukh Award

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New Delhi, Feb 5 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today conferred the Dr Durgabai Deshmukh Award for women's development on 'Abhaya' of Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala, for 2003 and Women's Welfare Society of Belgaum, Karnataka, for 2004.

The award carries a cheque for Rs five lakh, a citation and a shawl.

The award is given every year to an organization that has done exemplary work for the empowerment of women. This award was instituted in 1997, the Golden Jubilee Year of India's Independence, in memory of Dr Durgabai Deshmukh, the founder Chairperson of the Central Social Welfare Board.

Addressing the gathering, Ms Patil spoke about the courage and dynamism of Durgabai and the manner in which she mobilised thousands of voluntary organisations for programmes of social service.

The President called for inclusive growth and proper implementation, monitoring of programmes and policies meant for the uplift of weaker sections and public-private partnerships.

She expressed deep concern over the fact that women still did not have the same opportunities as men.

Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury emphasised the need for teamwork and to collectively address issues in order to carry forward the torch of women's empowerment.

The sixth Dr Durgabai Deshmukh Award has been given to Abhaya for its work in improving the condition of women mental patients in Kerala. The organization has eight centres, including Abhayagramam for treatment of the mentally ill, Athani a care home for women in distress, Adalath for women in collaboration with the Kerala Legal Services Authority with 24 hour helpline for women in crisis and Karma rehabilitation centre for mental patients. Ms Sugathakumari, a leading social reformer and poet of Kerala who has won the Padmashri Award, is the Secretary of the organisation.

The Women's Welfare Society, Belgaum, has been given the award for its work for the development of women in Karnataka. The activities of the society include a Short Stay Home 'Ashraya', Sangati - a Family Counselling Centre, Women Helpline Service - Santhvana, an Urban Family Welfare Centre and an Innovative programme for women prisoners. Ms Vaijayanti M Chougala, a noted social worker and winner of many awards, is the Secretary of the Society.


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