Taking Risks, Making a Difference


On April 7 2017, at Nehru Memorial Hall in Teen Murti Bhawan in Delhi, winners of first Martha Farrell Awards for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment were felicitated for their courage and commitment.

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Launching the Award ceremony, Nandita Bhatt, a long-time colleague and friend of Martha, reminisced about Martha’s vision of a gender equal world. ‘Martha & I’, a film about her life produced for this occasion, showed how she had impacted different persons in her life.

“She left her body and now has made home in all our hearts”, thus began reflections from Kamla Bhasin, well-known gender equality activist. She spoke about practicing feminism in everyday life— practice what you preach. Martha’s values for respect and justice for all are so much more relevant today.

“I have been so inspired by Martha’s life that I want to make these awards shine light on and recognise the strong work that so many people are doing in ensuring end to gender discrimination in India”, words from Rizwan Adatia, whose philanthropic foundation is co-sponsor of these awards along with PRIA.

“We all at Majlis are proud to be the first winners of Martha Farrell awards  for the  best organisation engaged in women’s empowerment. It has given Majlis a new meaning of feminist activism, far beyond the rhetoric”, spoke Flavia Agnes, founder director of Majlis Legal Centre in Mumbai.

“Working in tea gardens of north Bengal, fighting against trafficking of girls from my community, I am delighted to be receiving this award for most promising individual category. It has reinforced my commitment to carry on with greater energy”, words of the winner Rakhi Gope.

“ Music gives voice to speak up for justice, to question discrimination. I want to sing today to honour the life of Martha Farrell, so that her legacy through these Awards is never silenced”…thus began an inspiring performance by Sonam Kalra and her team of Sufi & the Gospel Project.

Reflecting on the Awards ceremony next morning, many of the 50 youth leaders from around the country have internalised the message of Martha’s life and work…”Take a risk,…Make a difference’!

Rajesh Tandon   Founder-President, PRIA                    April 9, 2017

Rajesh TandonDr. Rajesh Tandon is one of the Founder Directors of MFF (Martha Farrell Foundation), the Founder President of PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia), and Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, living in Delhi, India. He completed his graduation from IIT, Kanpur and post-graduation from IIM, Kolkata, and received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, United States. He is an internationally acclaimed leader and practitioner of participatory research and development. Dr. Tandon specialises in social and organisational change and has contributed to the enhancement of perspectives and capacities of many voluntary activists and organizations. He has served on numerous government task forces and committees, and is the founder of the Board of Directors of World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS). He has written a number of articles, books and manuals on Participatory Research and related topics.

The opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s personal opinions. The facts and opinions stated in the blog do not reflect or represent the views of the Martha Farrell Foundation (MFF) or PRIAMFF/PRIA do not endorse or assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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