AIDS crusader in Time’s list of world’s most influential
"I thought it was one of those prank emails," says Anjali Gopalan, child and animal rights activist, of the email that she got from Time Magazine. The mail said that her name had been shortlisted in this year’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. Jaya Shroff Bhalla reports.delhi Updated: Apr 20, 2012 10:08 IST
“I thought it was one of those prank emails,” says Anjali Gopalan, 54, child and animal rights activist, of the email that she got from Time Magazine. The mail said that her name had been shortlisted in this year’s list of 100 most influential people in the world, but she had to keep the news a secret.
We are chatting in the drawing room of her Gulmohar Park house. Gopalan is sitting on a swing, surrounded by her four dogs. “Yesterday evening I got a call from my friend in the US, who congratulated me for making it to the list. It was only then that I realised that it was for real. But the realised still hasn’t sunk in fully.”
Gopalan is the founder and executive director of The Naz Foundation (India) Trust, an NGO which she founded in 1994, and which is dedicated to the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India. Besides running a care home for HIV positive orphan children, she also does voluntary service for animal homes, where she helps in rescuing animals, bringing them to care homes and treating them for birth control.
“Making it to the list is a great feeling. I am very happy. This certainly gives me a new boost. It definitely feels nice to be recognised for the hard work you have put in for 18 long years,” said Gopalan, who was earlier nominated for the women’s Nobel Prize.
Gopalan, who houses 29 orphans in her children home, feels that the government has a lot to do before the quality of life for children in India improves. “Children still get a bad deal in our country. We really need to give them a safer and loving environment if we want them to develop into useful individuals,” she said.
“I want to see more people coming forward and taking the micro-work of our NGOs to macro level. That is the need of the hour,” she said.
Till that happens, however, she will have to be contented with sharing space with Barack Obama and Mamata Banerjee in Time Magazine.