The First-Ever Kamla Bhasin Award for Gender Equality Was Shared by Natisara Rai and Vidya Rajput. The Azad Foundation, iPartner India, and the National Foundation of India that first came up with the idea for the prize. The grand prize for each winners is Rs 1,000,00.
Winners of the First Annual Kamla Bhasin Award for their Commitment to Gender Equality are Natisara Rai and Vidya Rajput.Natisara Rai from Nepal and Vidya Rajput from India are the first recipients of the Kamla Bhasin (South Asia) Award for Driving the World towards Gender Equality. The Azad Foundation, iPartner India, and the National Foundation of India created the prize. Every victor will take home Rs 100,000 (about $1,000).
Natisara Rai, as stated in the announcement of the prize, is the organization’s co-founder and executive director of the Shakti Milan Samaaj.
Although she is HIV-positive and having been forced into sex work at the age of 13, Rai has since founded an organization that helps over a thousand HIV-positive women in Nepal, gain access to healthcare, respectable employment, and quality education. Even after being rescued, Rai’s status as an HIV positive person meant that she faced social boycott and prejudice. Despite this, she and other survivors have been able to form a strong network through which they can combat injustices and express support, as stated in the press release. ‘I am really happy to receive this recognition named after Kamla didi, who guided us, staying at the forefront of the fight for gender equality.’ Natisara Rai remarked after accepting the award.
“While obtaining this honor, I feel more responsibility and, I will stay on my words, setting an example, to carry forth Kamla didi’s ardent campaign for human rights.” An organization called Mitwa was created in 2009 by Rajput, a transwoman from Bastar in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Mitwa helps transgender people come together and advocate for their rights, such as the freedom to choose how they define themselves. “Vidya’s work with Mitwa is rooted in her own life of struggle, poverty and discrimination.
‘Through its advocacy and training, has brought changes in the lives of people and influenced governmental policy over the years’. Vidya says, ‘This award is an encouragement; it will offer strength not only to myself but also to all persons like me. That’s because, as transgender individuals, we’ve only ever known rejection from our families and communities.’ With this recognition, Rajput believes that his community will flourish in the years to come.
Anu Aga presided over a five-person jury that decided the winners. I am honored to have served as jury chair for this year’s Kamla Bhasin Award.
‘I am glad that we were able to select two obvious winners whose life and work represent the essence of what Kamla stood for,’ Aga remarked. The excellent level of applicants made the duty of the panel extremely tough. Khushi Kabir (Bangladesh), Binda Pandey (Nepal), Salil Shetty (India), and Namita Bhandare (India) rounded up the jury.
In honor of the late feminist activist, poet, and author Kamla Bhasin (who passed away in September 2021). Bhasin was a significant voice in the women’s movement in India and other South Asian countries.