India president confers Manju with Nari Shakti Puraskar award

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Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH —
A Kingdom-based Indian woman, who has been rendering volunteer services to the needy, distressed female domestic workers, was conferred with a prestigious award by the Indian government.

The Al Khobar-based Indian, Manju Manikattan, was the only women activist from abroad to be honored with Nari Shakti Puraskar award, the highest civilian honor for women in India. President Ram Nath Kovind, at a special ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan recently on the occasion of International Women’s Day, presented her the award.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development confers Nari Shakti Puraskar to women and institutions in recognition of their selfless service towards the cause of women empowerment and social welfare.

The 43-years old Manju, who hails from Ernakulam district in Kerala, was the only woman under the activist category and also the lone woman from abroad to receive the prestigious award this year. She was selected based on her contributions in empowering vulnerable and marginalized women.

“The award has not only brought overwhelming happiness to me but also it has given me more responsibilities to serve the society,” Manju told Saudi Gazette over phone from India.

She thanked the Indian Embassy in Riyadh for its constant support in assisting her in her volunteering services at Dammam Deportation Center and, also Navayugam Cultural Forum for their continuous support to distressed women.

This year, 41 individuals received the award. The awardees include acid attack victim and social activist Pragya Prasun, Rani Mistri Sunita Devi, first woman marine pilot of India Reshma Nilofer Naha, woman commando trainer Dr. Seema Rao, spiritual and motivational speaker Brahma Kumari Shivani and wildlife conservationist Sonia Jabbar.

Also, three institutions — One Stop Centre of Lucknow, Tamil Nadu State Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Department were also presented the award for exceptional progress in improving child sex ratio at birth under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.

Later, Manju and other awardees called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where the premier told them that their work is an inspiration for others and exhorted them to go even further in their respective fields. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi was present with Manju and both occasions.


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