Deepa Pawar and Shaheen Women’s Resource and Welfare Association, the two winners were felicitated at the 5th Martha Farrell Award Ceremony on 20th November, along with Special Jury Awardees, Suman Devathiya and Sappho for Equality.
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
An exemplar of true grit and determination, Mamta Singh has been an unwavering support system to the women who have sought her help in times of grave danger and hardship. Over the past sixteen years, she has worked with reputed organizations in Lucknow where she is based, including the likes of Humsafar Foundation, Sahayog and AALI, to develop and lead initiatives capacitating at-risk women through vocational education, creating safe spaces for survivors, besides helping them acquire justice.
On numerous occasions, she has been known to take great personal risks in pursuit of justice, persistently negotiating with the police or going up against fierce mobs to ensure that the path of due process remains unimpeded. With a background in Gender Studies, Mamta is now earning her law degree to effectively fight gender-based violence and end the lacunae in justice delivery systems which lead to high impunity and feeds the vicious cycle.
Mamta is also a vocal activist for social justice, taking care to base her work firmly on an intersectional bedrock and keen on linking her gender-based advocacy with issues of caste and religion-based discrimination.
The communities she has worked with in Hardoi and Unnao as well the informal settlements in Lucknow are brimming with youth and women leaders whom she has taken under her wing and who share her zeal for rights-based community action.
Like Martha, Mamta has shown indomitable courage and commitment to work for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Her work and fearlessness will ease the path for the coming generation of strong and independent women in Uttar Pradesh.
Rural and Environment Development Society (REDS)
Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh
Established in 1996, REDS capacitates and collectivises women farmers of rural Andhra Pradesh and supports survivors in their midst. The organization helmed by Ms. Bhanuja Cheruvu works in villages in and around Anantapur, providing psycho-social, economic and legal support to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. Their initiatives intersect with climate justice and women agricultural workers’ rights, as a means to achieve sustainable rural development.
REDS reminds every man, woman, and child who is a part of their network, that everyone is equal and deserves the same respect as the next person. Women are encouraged to take on leadership roles within the organization,which mandates that women constitute 50% of its staff. It doesn’t end with advocating for women’s representation at public forums, farmers’ meetings and in village committees; women are empowered to participate actively and assume decision-making roles in these spaces.
Spreading awareness on land rights, REDS also leads critical campaigns in asserting community ownership
of natural resources. The organization has also notably rescued and rehabilitated women and underage labourers from being trafficked abroad, besides working on other youth-based issues such as high drop-out rates at public
REDS has braved numerous obstacles to ensure gender justice and gender equity in the communities, as a means to bring holistic development and sustainable agriculture in the region, and to aid Anatapurian women’s relentless struggle for self-determination.
Vaishali Jethava is a 25-year-old gender activist who works with youth from vulnerable communities in Mumbai, to ensure that they complete their studies in schools that are gender-sensitive. Overcoming hurdles along the way, she went on to lead The Gender Lab’s Blue Ribbon Movement besides founding the Avanti Young.
Leadership programme which trains Fellows to become agents of literacy in their community. This Award recognizes her passion to mainstream gender and create safe spaces for youth.
Besides their notable commitment to eliminate witch- hunting in rural Jharkhand, Ranchi NGO Association for Social and Human Awareness (ASHA) empowers indigenous girls and women with awareness, education, vocation skills, livelihood opportunities, as well as rehabilitation and safe shelters for survivors of practices such as polygamy, dowry, domestic abuse and trafficking.