Take a Risk! Make a Difference!
On April 7 2017, at Nehru Memorial Hall in Teen Murti Bhawan in Delhi, winners of first Martha Farrell Awards for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment were felicitated for their courage and commitment.
Launching the Award ceremony, Nandita Bhatt, a long-time colleague and friend of Martha, reminisced about Martha’s vision of a gender equal world. ‘Martha & I’, a film about her life produced for this occasion, showed how she had impacted different persons in her life.
“She left her body and now has made home in all our hearts," said Kamla Bhasin, well-known gender equality activist. She spoke about practicing what you preach, the form of feminism in everyday life that Martha lived. "Martha’s values for respect and justice for all are so much more relevant today", she said.
“I have been so inspired by Martha’s life that I want to make these awards shine on and recognise the strong work that so many people are doing in ensuring gender discrimination ends in India”, said Rizwan Adatia, whose philanthropic foundation, Rizwan Adatia Foundation, is co-sponsor of these awards along with PRIA.
“We all at Majlis are proud to be the first winners of Martha Farrell awards for the best organisation engaged in women’s empowerment. It has given Majlis a new meaning of feminist activism, far beyond the rhetoric," spoke Flavia Agnes, founder director of Majlis Legal Centre in Mumbai. Majlis Legal Centre is the winner of the Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women's Empowerment--Best Organisation for Gender Equality.
“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," said Rakhi Gope, winner of the words of the winner Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women's Empowerment--Most Promising Individual.
The evening concluded with a stirring musical performance by Sonam Kalra and the Sufi Gospel Project. "Music gives voice to speak up for justice, to question discrimination. I want to sing today to honour the life of Martha Farrell, so that her legacy through these Awards is never silenced," said Sonam Kalra before beginning the performance.
Reflecting on the Awards ceremony next morning, many of the 50 youth leaders from around the country have internalised the message of Martha’s life and work…”Take a risk!Make a difference!"