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NIOS wins The Times of India Social Impact Award 2012

Times of India Social Impact Awardees on stage with the President, Pranab Mukherjee

Chairman, NIOS recieving the award from one f the beneficery, Ms. Tamanna Chona
Photographs Courtesy: The Times of India

In an evening packed with lump-inthroat moments,three in particular stood out.Tamana Chona,a young school teacher who was born with cerebral palsy,had just handed over The Times of India Social Impact Award for education in the government category to the National Institute of Open Schooling,represented by its chairperson Dr S S Jena.Tamana gave him a quick hug,then marched over to the lectern and said she wanted to say a few words.It wasnt part of the programme but the host for the evening National Awardwinning film-maker Prakash Jha,who has directed some of Indian cinemas most hard-hitting,socially relevant movies graciously made way for her.
Tamana spoke haltingly but emphatically.I have come a long way thanks to Dr Jena,who is my role model,and my mom and dad,who have helped me to shine.I want to learn more and more and I want to help street children and all the people associated with NIOS. She then asked the audience to join her in three cheers for NIOS.As she walked off the stage,Jha said with admiration,What a brave girl.Im positive she would have done a better job of hosting these awards.

When it was time to give the environment award in the NGO category,Sarjubai Meena strode on to the stage.Known in her village in Bhilwara as the woman with the turban,Sarjubai launched into an impromptu speech about how the Foundation for Ecological Security the awardee in the category had helped transform her village.Unfortunately,few in the audience were able to understand the dialect that she spoke in.But the pride,determination and sincerity in her voice needed no translation.She received a rousing round of applause,and Jha remarked,She has certainly earned the right to wear a turban.

The audience was also visibly moved when 11-year-old twins Hiranya and Thiruvara Bhargavi,who were born with cerebral palsy,were brought on to the stage Hiranya in a wheelchair and Thiruvara in a wheeled stretcher.The twins and their mother,Apala,were there to give the award to the winner for health in the government category the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism,Cerebral Palsy,Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.The stoic courage and fortitude displayed by them moved many to tears. The second Times of India Social Impact Awards in partnership with J P Morgan made for the sort of evening that could not fail to move and inspire even the most cynical.There were sagas of lives transformed,as in the case of Kapilaben Vankar,who made half the minimum wage in a factory in Anand in 1994,but began to earn decent wages after joining womens trade union SEWA,the winning NGO in the livelihoods category.Once too shy to speak to family members,Kapilaben has risen to become national president of SEWA,travelled to Washington and met US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

And there were,quite literally,life-anddeath stories like that of Rajesh Shah,a chartered accountant from Mumbai,who in June 2005 suddenly collapsed in his office in a congested bylane in central Mumbai.Within 25 minutes,Rajesh was being treated in hospital,thanks to the ambulance service run by the winning corporate in the health sector,Ziqitza Health Care.Doctors later told him that he had suffered a stroke and could have been paralysed for life had he been brought even half an hour later.

There were so many inspiring stories that it came as no surprise when President Pranab Mukherjee,the chief guest of the function,hailed the awardees as a remarkable group of men and women who had the vision to look beyond cynicism to a brighter horizon,the courage to brave tremendous odds and believe that they could make a difference,and the selflessness to do so quietly.

Congratulating TOI for its efforts to honour individuals and organisations who are silently contributing and creating a society worth living in,the President said it gave him special pleasure to hand over the prize to the joint winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award Meira Paibi and the Naga Mothers Association.They come from a region that tends not to get too much attention in the national media.They have served as peacemakers in a frequently conflict-ridden area.And they are living testimony to the enormous healing power that women have to offer a troubled world, he said.He concluded by telling all the awardees,I say you have made us proud.

Receiving the award,Naga Mothers Association president Abeiu Meru said the group was happy and honoured to share it with Meira Paibi and looked forward to promoting peace between the two communities and in the northeast.Thokchom Ramani Leima,83,who received the award on behalf of Meira Paibi,said,We are grateful to our sons and daughters at TOI for recognising the efforts of mothers.We ask you to remember us beyond today.

- Extracts from the Times of India, January 31st 2012.

On the eve of Republic Day, President Pranab Mukherjee had spoken of the need to reset India's moral compass and said "nothing should be allowed to spur cynicism..." Three days later, at a deeply moving ceremony hosted by National Award-winning filmmaker Prakash Jha, the President moved seamlessly from his R-Day address while applauding the winners of The Times of India Social Impact Awards, in association with J P Morgan, as symbols of hope. "It is the work done by exceptional individuals like the awardees…that gives me confidence in India's enduring vitality and her certain tryst with destiny," he said on Monday night. "I personally remember many such people from my childhood and the village in which I grew up." His speech was heard in rapt silence by a power-packed audience that included about 15 Union cabinet ministers and ministers with independent charge, leaders of the Opposition, top bureaucrats, ambassadors, legal luminaries, business magnates and prominent figures from civil society. The President, seen in this picture with all the awardees and Times Group managing director Vineet Jain (to his right), complimented The Times of India for instituting the Awards which "will help reaffirm India as a caring society". He said that while the media had a role in drawing "attention to what is wrong", it should "make a conscious effort to highlight the positive". "The best way is what TOI has done-identified those individuals and organizations who silently contribute for the betterment of society.
- Extract from the Times of India, January 30th 2012.

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has been selected as winner of the Social Impact Award 2012 instituted by Times of India in partnership with J P Morgan in the Education segment under Govt. Category. The Award is given in the recognition of magnificent work done by an individual or groups or institutions making an impact in the society in various segment including Education. The Award recognises the work of NIOS in imparting education including vocational skill to millions of out of school learners. NIOS feel honoured to accept the award.

The award was conferred on 28th January 2013 at a function in presence of high level dignitaries.

Newspaper clipping featuring NIOS as one of the recipient of The Times of India Social Impact Award 2012

Newspaper article featuring NIOS that appeared in The Times of India on the 21st of January 2013

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