Honoured by Magsaysay Award: Nileema Mishra

July 27th, 2011 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Jalgaon (Maharashtra), July 27 (IANS) Social activist Nileema Mishra, who was Wednesday cited for the Magsaysay Award, said she was “happy and honoured” and hoped it will inspire others working for the rural poor.

Surrounded by hundreds of women and media-persons who trooped in to congratulate and laud her achievements in the field of rural microcredit, Mishra thanked everyone in a voice choked with emotion.

“I feel happy and honoured to be selected for this prestigious award, and hope it will inspire others working in far-flung rural areas of the country,” she told IANS shortly after the announcement by the Magsaysay Awards Foundation.

The 39-year-old who has Master’s in clinical psychology said that the biggest problem in rural areas is lack of opportunities and limited or no access to credit facilities.

Shortly after her graduation in 1995, she decided to address the economic problems of the poor rural folk.

Nileema plunged headlong into social service and returned to her native village Bahadarpur, in Parola sub-district of Jalgaon in northern Maharashtra, around 500 km from Mumbai.

According to a close family friend, Amol C. Patil, she started the Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan (BNGVN) on a humble scale with a committed handful of 14 women to realise Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of self-sufficient village communities.

“Today, there are around 1,800 such women’s self-help groups with more than 10,000 women involved in it,” said Patil, who is also the chairman of the Krushi Utpanna Bazar Samiti, Parola.

Patil said that battling many odds, Nileema has made her name in the field of rural social work and has brought pride and international honour to Jalgaon.

Born in Bahadarpur village in Parola, Nileema is the daughter of Chandrashekhar Mishra, a retired school headmaster and now a trustee of R.K. Mishra High School in the same village.

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