Shanti Devi may be illiterate, but she did not think twice before donating her entire savings for the construction of a government run-school in her village Lohchibga in Gurgaon district.
Now in her sixties, Shanti Devi was only 20 when her husband, an Air Force personnel, went missing almost four decades ago.
For years after that, she took care of her mother-in-law with meagre pension supplemented with tit-bit earnings through tailoring. Compassion for the children prompted Shanti Devi to dedicate her savings for the cause education and development of the children of her village. “I was pained at the dilapidated building housing the school. I thought this would be a good memorial in my late husband’s name,” she said. The building was completed last month.
It was no less an irony of fate that body of her husband, missing since 1968, was found in August and consecrated with full honours days after the school was dedicated in his memory.
Shanti Devi was one of the awardees at the Ujjawal Women Achievers Awards 2007 function at Kamani Auditorium on Thursday. Organised by Ujjawal Women’s Association, established in 1998, the other awardees included Seema Malhotra, Urmila Narang, Santosh Kumari and Prabha Shah, all unsung achievers in their own right.
The women were presented the award by Professor Aparna Basu of Delhi University. Basu congratulated the achievers and also the organisers for empowering women and its efforts to bring about a change in society. Founder president Bina Jain also spoke on the occasion.