Rotary India Literacy Mission to crown Literacy Heroes on March 11 in Kolkata

Buoyed by the success it achieved in its Polio Eradication project, Rotary India has strategised the Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM) to ensure ‘Total Literacy & Quality Education’ for India through its ‘T-E-A-C-H’ programme. Carrying forward its annual footprints to bring into focus and applaud the unsung people as well as organisations that have
been working to spread the joys of literacy across India, RILM organized an online ‘Literacy Hero Awards’ contest in February 2016. The awards will be presented at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on March 11, 2016.

Providing a glimpse about the awards, RILM chairperson Shekhar Mehta said, “There are hundreds of thousands of passionate people in India working tirelessly to remove the scourge of illiteracy from this country. They care for others, so they share their talent for the others. Literacy Hero Awards is our way of putting the spotlight on these unsung heroes.”

The contest was held under two categories – the Jury Award and the People’s Choice Award. The winners of the Jury Award are Arman Ali, Armene Modi, Dorothy Fernandes, Friends of Tribal Society and Wisdom Library.

Arman Ali is associated with Guwahati-based Shishu Sarothi for Rehabilitation & Training for Multiple Disability as its Executive Director since 2009. He has played a pivotal role in ensuring better education to children with cerebral palsy and mental retardation through the Centre for Special Education.

Armene Modi gave up her teaching career in Japan to return home after stumbling upon India’s 1991 census that 61% of Indian women were illiterate. Her Ashta No Kai (ANK) is a literacy and empowerment project for rural women in 10 villages of Maharashtra.  

Dorothy Fernandes took a step to set up non-formal centres of education for the children of unorganized sector and the homeless communities across 25 villages of Bihar in 1997.

The Friends of Tribals Society founder observed that running full-fledged schools in a tribal area was almost impossible. Hence, he designed a new concept, Ekal Vidyalaya -- One Teacher School, that started off with 60 areas in Jharkhand as a pilot project.

Wizdoms Library developed 820 libraries and donated 2,50,000 books, benefitting 1,200,000 students in rural areas. Conceptualized in 2007 by Lt. Cdr. Vikram B.Naik (Retd), this organization believes in ‘While People Go to Libraries-Let Libraries also go to People’.

Huge response was received after the submission of nominations was thrown open on February 12, 2016 for both the categories. Nominations for the Jury Award closed on February 22, 2016, following which a panel of six eminent juries led by former Chief Justice of India Manepalli Narayana Rao Venkatachaliah met in Delhi to select the five winners. Other members on the Jury Awards panel were former Chairman and Country Managing Partner at Ernst & Young, India, Kashi Nath Memani, former Governor of Uttarakhand and Sikkim Sudarshan Agarwal, honorary visiting lecturer to Tokyo Women's Christian College and University of Indonesia Dr Kavita A. Sharma, first chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Shantha Sinha, and co-founder and executive chairman of Emami Radhe Shyam Agarwal.

Online nominations for the People’s Choice Award were accepted till February 24, 2016. Voting is open till March 6, 2016.

This event is a part of the Rotary International Literacy & Wash in Schools Presidential Conference scheduled at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata from March 11-13, 2016. Many national as well as international dignitaries including honourable HRD Minister Smt Smriti Zubin Irani, Rotary International President KR Ravindran, Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Ray Klinginsmith, Rotary International Director Manoj Desai will add sparkle to the programme. A kaleidoscope of entertainment featuring the Sapphire Group, Yogeshwari Mistry, Manik Paul, XIX Group, I-Rock Group, V-Company and many others is sure to leave the audience spellbound. 

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