Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ela Bhatt, activist and Padma Bhushan recipient, passes away; PM Modi tweets

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday condoled the death of Padma Bhushan awardee Ela Bhatt, activist and founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA). She was 89.

“Saddened by the death of Elaben Bhatt. She will long be remembered for her efforts to promote women’s empowerment, social service, and education among the youth. Condolences to her family and admirers. ૐ Shanti…॥” Modi tweeted.

Things to know about Ela Bhatt

Born on September 7, 1933, Bhatt attended Sarwajanik Girls High School after which she graduated in English from MTB (Maganlal Thakordas Balmukunddas) Arts College, Surat in 1952. She then went to Sir L.A. Shah Law College in Ahmedabad, earning a gold medal in 1954.

Bhatt started her professional career by joining the legal department of the Textile Labour Association (TLA) in 1955. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, she founded SEWA- a trade union of self-employed women in 1972 and served as its secretary-general till 1996.

Her father, Sumantrai Bhatt, was a successful lawyer, while her mother, Vanalila Vyas, was active in the women’s movement.(International Co-operative Alliance)

 Under her leadership, SEWA established a cooperative bank in 1974 to provide small loans to women to start their businesses along with financial and business counselling.

> In 1979, she co-founded Women’s World Banking (WWB), a global network of microfinance organizations assisting women, and served as its chairperson from 1984 to 1988.

> In 1986, she was appointed to the Rajya Sabha by the president and chaired the National Commission on Self-Employed Women.

She was the chancellor of the Gujarat Vidyapith from March 7, 2015 till October 19 this year. (WiEP)

 Bhatt became a member of The Elders in 2007- a group of world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, working for peace, justice, and human rights.

> She had been recognised for her work globally and was a recipient of multiple awards including, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1977), the Right Livelihood Award for Changing the Human Environment (1984), the Padma Shri (1985), and the Padma Bhushan (1986)Ela Bhatt, activist and Padma Bhushan recipient, passes away; PM Modi tweets

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