Ela Bhatt honoured with Global Fairness Initiative Award

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has presented the first Global Fairness Initiative Award to Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) that has helped over a million women in India to move forward.

“She (Bhatt) has helped not only women in India but women in South Africa, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and inspired so many others to find their own way forward to overcome long legacies of inequality and unfairness,” Clinton said at the award ceremony held at the Kennedy Center in Washington Monday.

“She has helped us imagine and then work toward a fairer world,” she said.

“So for her contribution to India and particularly the women of India, and to the global community, it is my honour to present the first Global Fairness Award to my friend, Ela Bhatt,” said Clinton who first met Bhatt in Ahmadabad in 1995 when she travelled there as the First Lady.

The event was hosted by Global Fairness Initiative in partnership with the Prince of Wales Foundation and NBC Universal.

“Ela’s work is about fairness, about giving every person the chance to achieve his or her dreams, to make the most of his or her God-given potential — no matter how rich or poor, no matter whether they work in a factory or a home or on the side of a road,” Clinton said

“Even in places where it is most stark, people still should be able to develop their ambitions and direct them toward building better lives. And Ela and SEWA have proven that,” she said.

Recipient of several prestigious awards, Ela Bhatt is known as one of the world’s most remarkable pioneers and entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development. She founded SEWA in 1972, and is the founder chair of the Cooperative Bank of SEWA and the Indian School of Micro-Finance for Women.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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