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An award for a woman extraordinaire

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 15, 2018

President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the award to Bandari Jayamma as Naushad Forbes, President CII(left),Shobana Kamineni, President Designate look on

Orphaned at the age of 3, Jayamma’s poverty forced her out of school. Later, domestic violence pushed her into flesh trade. Undeterred, she fought against all odds to launch an NGO in Hyderabad with the help of some social activists

The name Bandari Jayamma might not ring a bell. This school dropout from Telangana took up the daunting task of providing education to children of sex workers nearly two decades ago.

She established Chaithanya Mahila Mandali (CMM), a non-governmental organisation focussed on empowerment of sex workers and their children.

CII award

Her tireless but low-profile contribution was recognised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Foundation by bestowing on her the Woman Exemplar Award. The award was presented to the unassuming, 39-year-old social worker by President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi today.

Jayamma is credited with directly impacting the lives of 4,428 women in sex work. Nearly a thousand of them are now engaged in alternative livelihoods. Orphaned at the tender age of 3, Jayamma’s poverty forced her out of school. Later, domestic violence pushed her into flesh trade.

Undeterred, she fought against all odds to launch the NGO in Hyderabad with the help of some social activists.

At the NGO, the emphasis is on teaching the children of sex workers life skills and putting them through formal education. The idea is to shield the vulnerable children from trafficking and violence.

Ray of hope

CMM gets the children of sex workers enrolled in government schools and monitors their progress closely. Jayamma also runs a home for 43 extremely vulnerable children to ensure their safety.

CMM has so far rescued 3,500 children from a wretched life,, CII said in a citation.

Jayamma works actively with women in sex work and connects them to childcare facilities, child protection schemes, skill training programmes and alternative livelihood projects.

Along with her, the CII Foundation also honoured Monika Majumdar of West Bengal and Kamal Kumbhar of Maharashtra, with the President giving away the awards.

Published on April 28, 2017

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