Martha Farrell Award for Most Promising Individual
Winner of the Martha Farrell Award for Women's Empowerment--Most Promising Individual for 2017 is Rakhi Gope. Rakhi received her award (a hand-crafted trophy and a cheque for Rs 1.5 lakh) from members of the jury.
Rakhi Gope is a resident of a tea estate in Falakata in Alipurduar District of West Bengal, who has been leading the fight against child trafficking within her community, for the last 11 years. She has been working in an extremely difficult context, where she has faced numerous threats to her life. She has rescued hundreds of victims of trafficking and facilitated their rehabilitation by linking them to government-sponsored livelihood and shelter programmes. Rakhi works in over 134 villages, which comprise over 2.43 Lac households, where she has mobilized and sensitized the community, to become alert towards trafficking and prevent it within their families. She has also worked effectively with the local administration and serves on the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
At the young age of 31, Rakhi is an inspiration to many young girls and women in her community, for whom she envisions a safe and a violence free future. Like Martha, she leads by example and is undeterred in her fight against trafficking.
Speaking on the occasion, Rakhi said: "“Working in the tea gardens of north Bengal, fighting against trafficking of girls from my community, I am delighted to be receiving this award. It has reinforced my commitment to carry on with greater energy. I will tell all the girls in my community of this feminist, Martha Farrell, and through her life inspire them to become feminists."