Champa won the “Woman Exemplar Award”

Champa Devi  was honored  with “Woman Exemplar Award 2011” on 8th April 2011 in New Delhi. The award promotes women’s empowerment at the community level by discovering  and recognizing those who have against all odds, excelled and contributed significantly to the development process in India. The award is given in the field of 1) education & literacy, 2) health and 3) micro enterprise.

Champa Devi  hails from a small village Vasela  in Kotra Tehsil, Udaipur. Kotra Tehsil is one of the most impoverished regions in Udaipur District. The area is affected  by poor livelihood opportunities and redundant agricultural viability, alongside oppressive customs and attitudes, deterrent  to development.

Born in a tribal family , Champa Devi is one of the lucky women who were able to get themselves educated. She had to walk 15 Kms to attend school. However after getting married she moved to Vasela village, where there were no opportunities for education and the attitude towards women was even more repressive. Champa Devi always had a positive inclination towards improving the status of women and girls in her village. She along with immense support from her husband joined hands with Seva Mandir and initiated voluntary education and guidance for adolescent girls. Soon she was successful in mobilizing women towards micro enterprise through Self-help Groups(SHGs).

Endless efforts were put in to bring about such a movement, all the more she had questioned an orthodox & strict value system, where women were suppressed. With every stepping stone Champa Devi succeeded in creating a niche for women’s empowerement  with an extending network of women joining hands with her. She actively encouraged women towards financial autonomy through SHGs and since then many women have started their small businesses and taking care of their financial needs.

Soon, Champa Devi contested for the elections and was elected the Head of Gram Panchayat and member of Zilla Panchayat. The win provided her with a broader platform to take up development initiatives at a larger level . She used her position to improve educational institutions in her Panchayat and promoted participatory grassroot democracy. Her enthusiasm has strengthened the presence of women’s network in her Panchayat. Not only she has supported women in her Panchayat, the network has spread to surrounding villages reaching out to more and more women and uplifting their status in the society.