“And the winning NGO is…VOICE 4 Girls!”
These words will echo with the belief I always held that my work will speak for itself. This is the philosophy with which I lead VOICE 4 Girls, where all our efforts is to ensure high quality programming and belief that accolades will follow.
17th September 2018, was a culmination and recognition for the years of hard work, passion and perseverance – The Spirit of Humanity awards 2018!
Out of 400 applicants, SoH shortlisted 26 Finalists and facilitated us as Regional Winners. The day also saw the Finalists present their work to an eminent panel of jury members like K.G Ananthakrishnan – Former Vice President – President and Managing Director, MAD India. Lt. Gen S M Mehta (Retd) – Chief Executive Officer – The Hans Foundation, Dr. Nirja Mattoo – Chairperson, Centre for DOCC- SPJIMR and S K Mitra – Chairperson, QSK Advisory Pvt Ltd.
A tight presentation schedule was provided to each finalist and within the time slot, we had to represent the work we did. After a tough round of questions from the jury members like the reason for working with school-going adolescents, about the rigour of the content etc. the hours to the award made for the most excruciating wait. I was fluctuating between anxiety and nervous energy and all I wanted was for the results to be announced.
So I was surprised that I felt none of the anxiety or energy when I heard the words, “And the winning NGO is…VOICE 4 Girls.” I felt calm and humbled. I decided to share this moment in my acceptance speech and this note is a special thank you to you as a VOICE Champion for making this moment possible:
“In this moment of celebration, I feel humbled for three reasons. One, the life of a grassroots organisation is full of immediate struggles; funds, human resources, community benefit etc. It is moments like these, when our work is appreciated, that we realise the immense impact that we have on communities. So I thank Spirit of Humanity and Americares for creating a platform for recognising our work.
Two, the 26 finalists who presented their work gives me hope for the world. The issues they are working with, the vulnerable groups benefiting from their social action and the community transforming from recipients of social action to social change agents themselves, all this was evident from their presentation. So being chosen as one of the six finalists and the leader in the Educations sector is humbling and I thank my VOICE Board members, donors, partners and supporters of VOICE for standing strongly by us through our ups and downs.
Three, while I hold this award, I realise the huge responsibility I have of representing the voices of girls. The real struggles are being led in communities by 10 or 12 or 14 year old girls who are challenging societal norms, standing up for their rights, saying no to violence and paving new definitions for gender voices. I am humbled and honoured to represent their voices. I thank my amazing Team at VOICE 4 Girls and all those who have been part of our journey for furthering the passion, mission and vision of VOICE 4 Girls.”
With all the excitement dying down, the spirt of the award will continue to have us strive harder, reach many more adolescents and create a girls revolution!