Amala Akkineni Awarded ‘Nari Shakti Puraskaar’

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It is indeed a very proud moment for us! AISFM Honorary Director & Founder and Chairperson, Blue Cross of Hyderabad, actress, philanthropist, Amala Akkineni, was awarded the ‘Nari Shakti Puraskaar’ (2016) by President Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of International Women’s Day in New Delhi at Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 8th 2017.

The award is given to eminent women and institutions in recognition of their service for their country by the Union Women and Child Development (WCD), Ministry of India. Amala Akkineni was one of the 33 women from all over India who were awarded for rendering distinguished services ranging from mountaineering, environmental protection, wildlife protection, womens empowerment, sports, animal welfare, art and culture, economic upliftment of socially challenged communities – a rich and interesting variety of unusual contributions, all by women.

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Speaking to us and sharing her thoughts, on receiving the Nari Shakti Puraskaar, she said “It is an honour indeed to be recognised for work one does as a woman. It gives me an additional sense of responsibility now in the spot light of recognition; I feel I must do so much more. It’s important that suffering around us must never go unnoticed and un-addressed. We cannot fill our days with tasks or our shopping carts with expensive things and expect to fill the void in our souls. It is most definitely serving a greater good that gives life true satisfaction and meaning.”

The essence and importance of Women’s Day means making a difference in our own way she said, “Today I remember millions of women who live in a system that is yet to recognise their contribution. Millions of others who struggle to make a living, ostracised, discriminated against, paid less and taken advantage of. It is demeaning to have to face this day after day. I reach out to them in solidarity and understanding support, with sisterhood. As women we must stand together for change. Each do what we can to make a difference. It’s good that we have a special day to remember this.”

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She added that women can empower themselves with education, skills, work and economic self reliance and added that “This gives a woman power over her mind, her body, her choices and life.”

On a parting note she shared a few words for both men and women and said, “For now my thoughts drift to the disparities around us that are alarming. Exploitation of any kind is unethical. As a thinking and caring community we need to become comfortable having difficult conversations and make choices to push change. Change is resented at first, resisted next and challenged before it is accepted and embraced. Dialogue promotes understanding and understanding gives energy for change. Our world needs to grow and change for the better of all – eliminate exploitation that destroys the fabric of our community togetherness. It can’t be one person’s mission. It needs the energy of large numbers. Don’t just enquire “how I am” – find out instead what causes me anguish. Can I in return look into your eyes and ask “Are you truly happy? What is it that is troubling you in the depth of your heart?” And if I say “I saw something that moved me deeply”, you may stop and listen to the story and offer to do something useful about it along with me. I would do the same for you. I would never squirm and look the other way.”

A special thank you to all the wonderful men, women and living creatures who make me Nari Shakti!