CNN-IBN recently hosted its second annual Real Heroes Awards, celebrating “ordinary people with extraordinary achievements” across India.
The twenty-four awards given recognized people working for women’s rights, education, the environment, health care, and youth empowerment. Out of those twenty-four, four of them were from the Ashoka family:
The Real Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award was granted to Ela Bhat, an Ashoka Global Academy member. In 1972, she founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association, or SEWA, as an institution for poor working women to become self-reliant. Ela pioneered micro-financial programs through SEWA, which today has over one million members.
Ashoka Fellow Anshu Gupta founded Goonj to supply impoverished rural communities with the resources they desperately need. By recycling the materials considered to be waste in urban areas, Goonj provides rural women with sanitary napkins, rural schools with books and supplies, and rural families with clothes to survive the bitter winters. His work won him the Women’s Welfare Award.
In the Rural Development category, Fellow Rangaswamy Elango is reforming the Panchayati Raj—the local governing system—in Tamil Nadu.
Ashok Rathod is a Youth Venturer who uses football to engage and empower the young people living in his slum. He has used football to wean them away from drugs and abuse, and help them learn the skills for life ahead.