Social workers have come to the forefront quite evidently in the past few years. Many have come, and many have gone. But, amongst those, some have achieved the height so success. They have been an inspiration to us to move ahead in life and make us think about what we have done in life or how have we helped the society? In this post, we will be giving you information on Phoolbasan Bai Yadav.
Phoolbasan Bai Yadav is an Indian social worker and the founder of the non-governmental organization Maa Bamleshwari Janhit Karya Samiti. She is known for her efforts towards developing economically and socially backward women of Chhattisgarh, India. In 2012, she was honored by India’s Government with the 4th highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri.
She also acts as a mentor to the Vision India Foundation. She appeared in the Karmveer special episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati (season 12) with Renuka Shahane.
Isn’t it interesting to know about such inspirational stories? Let’s begin:
Born in a socially backward family with meagre financial resources, Phoolbasan started her social career when she began taking part in the activities of the self-help groups in the district. Soon after, she formed groups of her own such as Pragya Mahila Samooh, Kiraya Bhandar, Bazar Theka and established ration shops to distribute food among the people below poverty line (BPL).
Let me give you some information on the Maa Bamleshwari Janhit Karya Samiti:
- The organization has since grown to cover 12000 women self-help groups with a reported total strength of over 200,000 members. By collecting ₹ 2 per person, the organization has accumulated a corpus of ₹ 150 million, equivalent to US$ 3 million. The participating groups engage in activities such as health programs, education, sanitation and social reforms.They conduct regular polio vaccine clinics, have opened schools and anganwadis, organize food programs such as Bal Bhoj, set up livelihood earning programs such as sewing centers for women and campaign against child marriages.
- The organization, which has adopted 54 children, has a presence all over Chhattisgarh and has initiated social campaigns such as Sharab Bandh (Liquor ban), a campaign through which they were reported to have succeeded in closing down 250 liquor shops in the state. The organization has been named the brand ambassadors for female feticide by the Government of Rajasthan.
- Later, she consolidated her numerous groups and social activities under the Maan Bamleshwari Janhit Karya Samiti’s umbrella, an NGO named after Goddess Durga, which started with 11 women.
- They have also helped prevent thousands of child marriages, with the support of the district administration. Further, they have helped organize group marriages of 33 underprivileged girls, all under the leadership and guidance of Phoolbasan. Since September 2014, under Phoolbasan’s leadership, 24 villages were adopted and made open defecation free (ODF) villages, without any government help.
- She is known to have persisted, and her organization is credited with efforts in finally getting women participation in the village councils (Gram Sabhas), in a male-dominated society. She participates in seminars to propound her message and has delivered keynote addresses at a few of them.
Phoolbasan Bai Yadav says, “We had faced endless nights when we went to sleep without a morsel in our stomach and realizing the pain of hunger and poverty, I vowed to improve not only my situation but all such families living around, and I tell you, there are countless such people in our state.”
Awards and recognitions
You will be very astonished to know that Phoolbasan Yadav has not received one but many awards like:
- In 2004, the Chhattisgarh Minimata Alankaran award, and Jamnalal Bajaj Award, the Chhattisgarh Government bestowed upon her the ‘Mini Mata Samman’ entailed a cash award of Rs. 1 lakh. The prize money has helped Phoolbasan to provide quality education to the 52 SC/ST children, she has adopted.
- In 2008, Zee TV Astithva award and Jamnalal Bajaj Award
- In 2010, the Kannagi Sthree Shakti award and the Sadguru Gnanananda national award
- In 2011, the Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Award
- In 2012, the Government of India awarded her the Padma Shri.
- In 2014, the Government of Chhattisgarh had named Yadav as the brand ambassador for the maternity program called Janana Suraksha Yojana. She has also received the Mahaveer Foundation award.
Recognitions given to Phoolbasan:
As a woman, I feel very proud to say that Phoolbasan has encouraged women to save money and work towards their financial independence. Phoolbasan has, through various beneficial schemes of the government, ensured their economic progress. She and her group were given Rs. 900 crore from NABARD to use for different women’s groups of Rajnandgaon District for self-employment.
Phoolbasan has also contributed significantly to the literacy campaign in her district, even winning the Maa Bamleshwari Award by the State Minister for her ‘Save the Water’ campaign. Under her leadership, Pad Yatra was organized for 344 Kms. in backward tribal forest areas for women empowerment.
Phoolbasan’s efforts have won her recognition and awards from various sources. When we talk about women empowerment, we should speak about such women, who, with their efforts, have tried to improve their standards of living and think about society. What are your views on it? Let us know about it in the comment section below.