Three women from Maharashtra have been honoured with the prestigious 'Nari Shakti Puraskar' of the Centre's Ministry of Women & Child Development for the year 2020-2021, to mark the International Women's Day, officials said here on Tuesday.
They include the famous 'snake-woman' from Buldhana, Vanita J. Borade, specially-abled Kathak danseuse from Pune Saylee N. Agavane and a poultry farmer from Osmanabad Kamal Kumbhar.
Known as the 'First woman snake-rescuer of India,' Borade, 47, launched the NGO, Soyre Vanchare Multipurpose Foundation for protecting nature, wild-life and a pollution-free environment.
Over the past few years, she has caught, rescued over 50,000 snakes and released them into their natural habitat, earning laurels, besides conducting training and awareness on snake-bites, first-aid, precautions, etc.
Suffering from Down Syndrome failed to discourage Agavane from pursuing her passion of Kathak and she has performed in over 100 programmes in India and globally, bagging the bronze medal at the Global Olympiad Dance Competition.
She launched the Saylee's Dance Classes and trained more than 50 specially-abled children in dancing to make them face society with confidence despite all odds.
Daughter of a labourer, Kumbhar walked out of a failed marriage and in 1998, turned a woman entrepreneur in the field of animal husbandry, founding the Kamal Poultry & Ekta Sakhi Producer Co.
In the drought-prone district, she helped over 3,000 women become self-dependent, provided solar energy to 3,000 homes and helped 5,000 women start their own micro-businesses to become self-reliant.
"These women have not allowed any form of discrimination or disadvantage to come in the way of their pursuit to accomplish excellence and have thus shown incredible resilience and perseverance," said Union Minister for Women & Child Welfare Smriti Irani, congratulating all the Nari Shakti Puraskar awardees.