On International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8th, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi garnered attention by giving up his social media handle to seven Indian women who have won the country’s respect. On Modi’s personal Twitter handle, these seven women on Sunday talked about their personal journeys and responded to questions from the Twitterati. Find out more about these seven women here:
In 2015, Chennai-based Sneha, who was then 23, opened up a Food Bank in the capital city of Tamil Nadu, aiming to feed the poor and the homeless with nutritious, home-made food. The initiative started off as a Facebook group with Malvika’s close friends and family, who would cook extra food for the poor while they cook at home for their own families. Once the food is packed and ready, they would alert Sneha online, and her volunteers would pick it up and distribute it to the hungry poor. Food Bank India now has over 20 chapters across cities.
Say hello to Dr. Malvika Iyer ♥️— Dr. Malvika Iyer (@MalvikaIyer) December 13, 2017
PS: To everyone who’s been curious as to how I type, do you see that bone protruding from my right hand? That’s my one and only extraordinary finger. I even typed my Ph.D. thesis with it :) pic.twitter.com/aEI1jIsNOr
Disability rights activist Malvika Iyer, 30, lost both her hands in a grenade explosion, when she was just 13 years old. It was after multiple painful surgeries over the next two years that Malvika got prosthetic hands and could walk with crutches. Not one to give up, she went on to finish higher studies and even got a doctorate in social work. As a motivational speaker, Malvika is now a globe trotter and is recognised as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. She is a regular at UN summits, for advocating gender equality and inclusivity in public spaces.
FAIL talks at IIITH as part of Felicity Thank E-Cell IIITH for the Invite.— kalpana ramesh (@kalpana_designs) February 9, 2020
It was a grt introspection and reflection for myself , that Failure is infact the wind beneath the wings to always rise above and soar beyond 💦
@TheRainWaterProject@SAHE_Hyd @iiit_hyderabad pic.twitter.com/ZRFJQOrLEf
This Hyderabad-based architect is the champion of rainwater harvesting in the water-starved city. She volunteers with the Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour (SAHE) for her cause. From residential apartments to corporate office complexes, she promotes water conservation through SAHE’s ‘Save 10K Bores’ campaign, which was launched in 2016. It advocates for recycling grey water and saving rain water, thereby reducing dependence on tankers. Under Kalpana’s leadership, this campaign has also revived many defunct borewells in the city. Even inside the gated community she lives in, Kalpana is pro-active in encouraging waste segregation and home composting.
मैं जिस जगह पे रहती थी, वहां हर तरफ गंदगी ही गंदगी थी। लेकिन दृढ़ विश्वास था कि स्वच्छता के जरिए हम इस स्थिति को बदल सकते हैं।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 8, 2020
लोगों को समझाने का फैसला किया। शौचालय बनाने के लिए घूम-घूमकर एक-एक पैसा इकट्ठा किया।
आखिरकार सफलता हाथ लगी।
कलावती देवी, कानपुर #SheInspiresUs pic.twitter.com/t9b6deXt4g
For 25 years, Kanpur-based mason Kalavati Devi has been on a mission to build toilets for India. As the country aspires to be a superpower yet struggles with providing basic facilities for its citizens, Kalavati is taking matters into her hands – literally. This 55-year-old collects funds from across houses as well as works with NGOs to construct toilets in the economically weaker neighbourhoods outside Kanpur, all by herself. Although she was married off as a child bride and never got to finish formal education, Kalavati has developed her own construction techniques for sewers.
I always dreamt of reviving the traditional crafts of Kashmir because this is a means to empower local women.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 8, 2020
I saw the condition of women artisans and so I began working to revise Namda craft.
I am Arifa from Kashmir and here is my life journey. #SheInspiresUs pic.twitter.com/hT7p7p5mhg
Kashmir-based Arifa Jan, who goes by her first name, has led women artisans in the politically volatile state to earn for themselves by reviving the dying tradition of Namda craft - used to produce rugs, mats, and blankets out of wool. In an interaction with the Prime Minister which was telecast later, Arifa said that the internet ban in her State – which was imposed more than six months ago – has destroyed her business. Although low-speed mobile internet is now available in the State, it will take a long time for the 75 women working under Arifa in Namda and pashmina embroidery to recover from the damage.
You have heard about handicrafts from different parts of India. My fellow Indians, I present to you handicrafts of the Banjara community in rural Maharashtra. I have been working on this for the last 2 decades and have been assisted by a thousand more women- Vijaya Pawar pic.twitter.com/A3X47245E3— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 8, 2020
Banjara handicrafts from Maharashtra has had a new lease of life in the past few years, thanks to Vijaya Pawar who has been toiling to this end for 20 years. Along with bringing back this dying art, which belongs to the nomadic tribe of Banjaras, Vijaya was also able to provide employment to more than thousand women in her region, as practitioners of Gormati art.
जहां चाह वहां राह… इच्छाशक्ति से सब कुछ हासिल किया जा सकता है।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 8, 2020
मेरी वास्तविक पहचान पलंग के नीचे एक किलो मशरूम की खेती से शुरू हुई थी।
लेकिन इस खेती ने मुझे न केवल आत्मनिर्भर बनाया, बल्कि मेरे आत्मविश्वास को बढ़ाकर एक नया जीवन दिया।
वीणा देवी, मुंगेर #SheInspiresUs pic.twitter.com/MkfyZ8mnZp
Bihar-based farmer Veena Devi is a crusader for organic farming, which she successfully implemented in mushroom cultivation at her own home. A village sarpanch from Munger district in the economically backward State, Veena has led actively promoted organic farming and mushroom cultivation in her district, thereby making many women self-employed and financially empowered. Reportedly, she has been active in promoting not just organic farming but digital literacy too.