Bhubaneswar, May 11:
Shanti Devi, the 78-year old eminent Gandhian and social worker from Gunupur in Odisha’s Rayagada district was conferred with the first Woman Peace-maker Award, instituted by the Odisha-based Maa Ghara Foundation, on the occasion of the Mothers’ Day here today.
Shanti Devi, who leads a voluntary body called Seva Samaj in Gunupur, was presented the award for her significant contributions towards establishing peace in the Maoist affected areas in Odisha and Chhatisgarh.
She was given a cash prize of Rs 50,000, a trophy and a citation on the occasion.
Born on 18th April 1934, Shanti Devi started a small Ashram in Koraput and later established Seva Samaj at Rayagada for the all round development of the girl child. She then set up another Ashram at Gunpur for the education. rehabilitation, vocational training of orphans and destitute children.
She also launched crèches, health care and free nutritious breakfast and started a tribal girls’ hostel at Limameda.
The five short listed women leaders were Shanti Devi of the Seva Samaj of Gunupur (Odisha), Ila Ramesh Bhatt (Gujarat), Irom Sharmila Chanu (Manipur), Padma Shri Tulasi Munda (Keonjhar, Odisha) and Linkan Subudhi( Bhubaneswar, Odisha).
Besides, 10 mothers were also felicitated with the Best Mother award. Similarly, winners in various competitions, including Rangoli, song and dance contests which were held earlier to mark the Mother’s Day were also awarded prizes on this occasion.
The celebrations included a symposium on the theme ‘Women and Peace’, in which eminent women personalities took part and presented their views.
Earlier in the morning, a ‘Run for Peace’ marathon from Janta Maidan to the Kalinga Stadium was organised to promote peace in the society.