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Meet the seven women achievers who took over PM Modi’s Twitter account on International Women’s Day

Seven women from different walks of life share their inspiring stories from PM Modi's Twitter handle on International Women's Day.

Seven women achievers from across the country took over the social media accounts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday as they shared their journeys to mark International Women’s Day and inspire people across the country.

Last week, PM Modi had announced on Twitter that he was “thinking of giving up social media accounts”. A day after the cryptic tweet, PM Modi revealed that on 8th March, International Women’s Day, he would give up his social media account and let women achievers who inspire us handle it for a day.

Greeting the women of the country on Women’s Day this morning, PM Modi wrote, “As I’d said a few days ago, I’m signing off. Through the day, seven women achievers will share their life journeys and perhaps interact with you through my social media accounts.”

From conserving water to fighting for the rights of the disabled, the seven women who were given access to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s social media accounts have made a significant contribution in various fields.

The Prime Minister shared brief videos of the women on his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages.

Here are the seven women who took over the Twitter account of Prime Minister Modi on Sunday to mark the International Women’s Day:

Sneha Mohandoss:

The first woman achiever to take over the PM Modi’s Twitter handle was the founder of ‘FoodBank’ – Sneha Mohandoss. ‘FoodBank’ is a Chennai-based group that has taken up an initiative to feed the homeless.

Sneha Mohandoss shared her journey, urging people to feed a needy person and contribute to a hunger-free planet. Introducing herself, Sneha Mohadoss said that she was inspired by her mother, who instilled the habit of feeding the homeless.

“You heard of food for thought. Now, it is time for action and a better future for our poor. Hello, I am Sneha Mohandoss Inspired by my mother, who instilled the habit of feeding the homeless, I started this initiative called Foodbank India,” Mohandoss tweeted along with a video introducing herself.

The Food Bank India founder works with volunteers, even those who reside abroad, to work towards eradicating hunger. With the help of her team, she has also initiated breastfeeding awareness drives.

“I work with volunteers, many of whom are outside India, to work towards eradicating hunger. We have over 20 chapters and have impacted several people with our work. We also initiated activities like mass cooking, cooking marathons, breastfeeding awareness drives,” she said.

“I feel empowered when I do what I’m passionate about! I wish to inspire my fellow citizens, especially women to come forward and join hands with me. I urge everyone to feed at least one needy person and contribute to a hunger-free planet,” she added.

Malvika Iyer:

The second woman achiever to take on Prime Minister’s social media accounts on the occasion of Women’s Day on Sunday was Malvika Iyer who survived a gruesome bomb blast at the age of 13.

Malvika’s story is studded with grit and determination. Even after losing her hands and damaging her legs in the explosion, Iyer went on to earn a PhD degree. Iyer survived a bomb blast when she was just 13. But that didn’t deter her from pursuing her dreams. Through the prime minister’s social media handles, Malvika asked the youth to change their mindset towards disabilities and the disabled.

Elaborating, she tweeted, “I survived a gruesome bomb blast at the age of 13 that blew off my hands and severely damaged my legs. Yet, I worked and went on to get my PhD. Giving up is never an option. Forget your limitations and take on the world with confidence and hope.”

The survivor who triumphed life’s struggles through higher education knows its importance. Calling education ”indispensable”, she also urged to sensitise young minds so that they don’t discriminate.

Having gone through discrimination herself, Iyer said, “We need to show people with disabilities as role models instead of showing them as weak and dependent.”

She added, “Attitude is half the battle in destigmatising disability.”

She said the mindset towards disabled people must change. “The fact that the honourable PM has chosen to broadcast my views on the Women’s Day makes me believe that India is on the right path in dismantling age-old superstitions regarding disability,” Iyer asserted.

Arifa Jan:

The third woman achiever to share her story through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s social media accounts on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2020 was Arifa from Kashmir.

Sharing her story, Arifa said he always dreamt of reviving the traditional crafts of Kashmir as a means to empower local women. “I saw the condition of women artisans and so I began working to revise Namda craft,” she shared via PM Modi’s social media handles on Sunday. Arifa said her craft is a coming together of tradition and modernity.

“It is designed to suit the modern-day market. My first business activity was participating in an exhibition of handmade items in New Delhi. This exhibit attracted a good clientele and a turnover,” she shared.

Thanking the prime minister for the opportunity to use his social media accounts to voice her story to the world, Arifa said she will “work harder for the betterment of craft as well as the artisans all over Kashmir”.

Braving all the odds, the Kashmiri women achiever has taken up the daunting task to revive the once-famed handicraft “Numdha”, the traditional embroidered rug which has over the years lost its sheen.

After her Bachelor’s degree in commerce from Kashmir University at Srinagar, Arifa’s friend at Jammu and Kashmir government’s who had set up Craft Development Institute (CDI) counselled her to take up a two-year Craft Management and Entrepreneurial Leadership programme. Even as she enrolled herself, Arifa could not afford to pay her fee. However, with grants from the state government, she was able to enrol to the programme.

During the two-year course, Arifa also went to Kyrgyzstan for specialised training. It was at the end of this programme that Arifa took as a challenge the daunting task of reviving the dying craft.

“Numdha” is a traditional felted Kashmir carpet, made by rolling and pressing wool by the application of moisture. Until some years, Kashmiri drawing rooms were furnished with Numdhas in winters. There was once a huge local, as well as national demand and the handicraft, had a good export market. However, the demand died down and exports declined in the past for more than a decade.

Arifa then decided to turn her project into a full-fledged venture and in the process help in reviving the craft by giving artisans their due. Her love for the craft and the zeal to take it ahead has inspired many around her.

Arifa Jan will also be honoured with ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’ by President Ram Nath Kovind in the national capital on the occasion of International Women’s Day on Sunday. The award will be given at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan for her role in the revival of dying crafts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Kalpana Ramesh:

Kalpana Ramesh, who on the occasion of women’s day took over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s social media accounts, gave a powerful message on water conservation urging people to become a water warrior.

Appearing on the Prime Minister’s Twitter handle, as Kalpana Ramesh tweeted, “Be a warrior but of a different kind! Be a water warrior. Have you ever thought about water scarcity? Each one of us can collectively act to create a water-secure future for our children … Here is how I am doing my bit.”

Kalpana Ramesh is a Hyderabad-based architect who advocates water conservation in residential apartments, office blocks through rainwater harvesting.

A volunteer with SAHE, Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour, Kalpana who also goes by the moniker ”Go Green Water Champion” tweeted through the Prime Minister’s account, “Small efforts can make a big impact. Water is a valuable inheritance we got. Let’s not deprive our next generations. Contribute by using water responsibly, harvesting rainwater, saving lakes, recycling used water and creating awareness.”

Kalpana expressed her happiness at featuring on the Prime Minister’s social media accounts on international women’s day.

“I never imagined I could bring back birds to a lake or tweet from our PM”s handle. With a firm resolve, the impossible can emerge. We can bring a change in the communities with collective action on how we manage water resources. Let us become problem solvers,” she tweeted.

Vijaya Pawar:

Vijaya Pawar, who hails from rural Maharashtra, showcased the traditional Gomati art and handicrafts by the Banjara community by taking to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s social handles on Sunday.

Pawar has been instrumental in preserving and continuing the handicrafts of the Banjara community of rural Maharashtra.

“You have heard about handicrafts from different parts of India. My fellow Indians, I present to you handicrafts of the Banjara community in rural Maharashtra. I have been working on this for the last 2 decades and have been assisted by a thousand more women,” Pawar’s message on PM’s Twitter account read.

“To promote Gormati art, Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only encouraged us but also helped us financially. It is a matter of pride for us. I am fully dedicated to the preservation of this art and feel proud on the occasion of Women’s Day,” she shared.

Kalavati:

Kalavati Devi from Kanpur was the sixth one to share her story on PM Modi’s Twitter timeline. She narrated how she collected funds to stop open defecation, encourage cleanliness in her neighbourhood.

Kalavati Devi from a slum in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur had a message that if people want to be healthy they need cleanliness. Devi shared her story of how she built thousands of toilets in her locality by begging and borrowing.

“My message to the country’s sister, daughter and daughter-in-law is that sincere effort to take society forward never fail. So get out. If someone speaks bitterly, let them. If you want to achieve your goal, then do not look back,” Kalavati Devi tweeted in Hindi.

“The place where I lived was absolutely filthy. But I strongly believed that we can change this situation through cleanliness. I decided to convince people. I collected money to make toilets. Eventually, I got success,” she added.

Veena Devi:

Veena Devi of Munger in Bihar was the last one to handle PM Modi’s Twitter account on International Women’s Day. Veena Devi shared her success story on PM Modi’s timeline, proving that where there is a will, there was way. She did not allow lack of space to create hurdles in her plan to cultivate mushrooms and grew the crop under her bed, said the tweet written in Hindi.

“Everything can be achieved by will. My real recognition came from cultivating one kilo of mushrooms under the bed. This not only made me self-sufficient but gave a new life by increasing my confidence,” said Veena Devi.

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