New Delhi: Renowned social activist Ela
Bhatt was on Saturday selected for the prestigious Indira Gandhi
Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2011 for her
lifetime achievements in empowering women through grassroots
Bhatt, who is the founder of NGO Self-Employed Women`s
Association (SEWA), was selected for the award constituted by
Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust by an international jury headed
by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Announcing the award, Trust Secretary Suman Dubey said
Bhatt`s life is a lesson in dedication and commitment, in
caring for the under-privileged and weak, in devoting oneself
to the welfare of others, in living by principles and making a
difference to the lives of millions.
Bhatt has been selected for the award for her "lifetime
achievements in comprehensively empowering women in India and
elsewhere through grassroots entrepreneurship, access to
shelter, healthcare, micro-finance, micro-insurance, skills,
legal services, collective bargaining power and many other
means, and thereby promoting equitable development and peace,
following Gandhian path of self reliance and non-violence", he
A labour lawyer by training, Bhatt founded the SEWA in
1972 and under her leadership, the NGO has grown into a 13
lakh strong organisation playing a pioneering role in
socio-economic and political empowerment of women.
Bhatt, founder of the SEWA Cooperative Bank, the first
women`s bank in India, is also one of the dozen global leaders
who constitute `The Elders`, set up at the initiative of
Nelson Mandela in 2007 to promote human rights and peace.