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Gurgaon It’s Raining Awards


The year 2019 ended on a high note for Gurgaon. There were accolades & awards for Gurgaon residents, the recognition for their selfless social work. We bring you the Gurgaon winners of the prestigious Karmaveer Awards conferred by ICONGO in partnership with the United Nations and Sashakt Nari Parishad Awards in affiliation with Ministry of Ayush Government of India.

SUBURB opens its first 2020 Showcase on a positive note, sharing award newsmakers who saw the fame and are out here to keep the flame burning to bring about a change in their surroundings with their work and altruism.

Team SUBURB applauds the award winners and brings forth a snapshot of the work of the winners from Gurgaon

Anupam Kataria
Social worker & Philanthropist
Karmaveer Puraskaar Maharatna Award & the REX Global Fellowship

Anupam Kataria is a force to reckon with, self- driven, free-spirited, and an indomitable social crusader for over 40 years. She embodies the pivotal virtues of a true ambassador for social change. Over the decades she has worked at the ground level and gone through edgy time between life & death.

Anupam’s forte lies in her rooted understanding of the country’s socio- demographic & a cultural milieu which further strengthened with her proven expertise in planning & seamless execution, enable her to deliver exponentially successful programmes with ‘real- measurable-impact.’ From nurturing the abandoned & ailing, facilitating healthcare access and education for destitute, persons with special needs & orphans – to championing causes against gender bias & oppression, her varied body of work has earned her unmatched credibility with beneficiaries, associates & contributors.

“I am currently associated as a patron or goodwill ambassador to organisations like The Earth Saviors Foundation, Family of Disabled, WESS (Women Empowerment, Safety & Security), Anurag Society, The Divine Peace Trust, Gaurav Niketan, Samvedna, CanSupport, Shanti Avedna, OPNP-Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS and The Touch of Hope Foundation, among many others who are diligently working for the welfare of society and extending a helping hand to those who need it the most,” says Anupam.

Sinjini Sengupta
Author, Columnist & TEDx Speaker
Karmaveer Chakra Award (Silver category)

An alumnus of the prestigious Indian Statistical Institute, Sinjini works as an actuary for several years, managing financial risks for a multinational corporation; till fate decided to set her on the path of her true calling!

A major health scare back in 2014 came in the form of an illness which brought depression, fibromyalgia, spinal problems and severe body aches which required a complete break from work. The jarring health crisis, however, turned out to be life- changing in a positive way for her. Depressed and bed-ridden, it was in this tough period of life that Sengupta went on to discover her passion as a writer. “When I left my job and was bedridden, I discovered writing which became my survival instinct, and I used it for catharsis,”

She struck gold with her debut novel ‘Elixir’ itself in 2017 that went on to become a best-seller on Amazon in India. Today, she is a well-reputed blogger of the country. Her writing contributions find a place in several Indian & International publications. She has won awards for her poetry and screenwriting. The film based on her book Elixir was shortlisted for the screening at Cannes.

An author and social influencer, she has been on TEDx multiple times to speak on gender sensitivity in parenting, education, at corporate workplaces. She also gets invited to teach workshops and masterclasses on gender sensitivity, creative writing and public speaking.

I cannot exactly say if I picked up the pen or the pen picked me up, but something like that happened in between analgesics, physiotherapy sessions and long hours of medicated sleep, back in 2014

Sinjini Sengupta

Recently she is felicitated with the prestigious Karmaveer Chakra Award (Silver category) a global civilian honour given in partnership with the United Nations.

Aditi Misra
Education facilitator and social activist
Karmaveer Puraskaar Maharatna Award & the REX Global Fellowship

Aditi Misra is amongst the leading educationists in the country, not just Gurgaon. She has spent more than three decades in the field of education. Guiding, mentoring and teaching children is her passion. She has touched many hundreds of lives as the Founder-Principal of the Delhi Public School, Sector 45 in Gurgaon, established in 2011. The school has won many laurels at national & international level.

What truly sets Aditi apart is also her dedication and conviction to provide education to those children who cannot afford or do not have the means to sit in the classroom. As a philanthropist with a compassionate heart, she leads Shiksha Kendra under the aegis of DPS Society, an education centre for marginalised children in the same premises which is schooling a whopping 1300 children from classes 1 to 12.

“I started the Shiksha Kendra after realising that later in the afternoon when the regular school campus was empty, the children from the nearby villages who needed some basic remedial classes in English and other subjects could come for guidance and enrichment classes. A few of our teachers decided to join hands, and we got started. The response Shiksha Kendra received has been overwhelming and what started as afternoon classes for 100-150 kids gradually increased to 800 students in five years and 1200 in ten years,” she says with a smile.

I aim to help nurture children to make them good humans who are sensitive, compassionate and they grow up with dignity as to help other underprivileged and society at large.

Under her leadership, the school runs several programmes with the Indian Cancer Society (advocacy, awareness and fundraising). She has spearheaded programmes for HIV awareness for more than 1000 children from schools across India. The anti-bullying squad, the cyber congress and peer education programmes are also projects very close to her heart.

Another project close to her heart is a skill development centre which enables marginalised women to learn skills and earn a livelihood for themselves and their families. Her tremendous contribution to education and social causes earned her the REX Karmaveer Global Fellowship and the Karmaveer Puraskaar Maharatna awards this year.

Poonam Bagai
Founder & Chairman CanKids KidsCan
Karmaveer Awards

Poonam is a woman on a mission to who is dedicatedly working for the cause of cancer in children. She took inspiration from her own ordeal to change the life of others.

A Class I Government of India Officer, she gave up her career, after she had cancer and related depression in 2000-1, and decided to dedicate her life to the war against Cancer. She is a Survivor, Patient Advocate & Philanthropist.

In a short time span of 15 years she has founded and grown her pan India organization Cankids Kidscan, as a National Society for Change for childhood cancer in India, which today partners with 65 cancer centers and provides support in another 28 across the country in 41 cities and 22States. It also has MOUs with state Govt of Punjab and Maharashtra and 8 other Access to Care State projects, as well as has 7 Home away from Homes in Delhi, Kolkata, Trivandrum, Bangalore, Lucknow and Chennai.

She also pioneered the one and onlyspecial school for children with cancer – Canshala in Mumbai and the only pediatric palliative care center in India in Delhi. Today, the organization of over 1800 employees, volunteers and parent and survivor members serve and enable children with cancer and their families. To date it has supported over 42000 families under its overarching “You are Not Alone” program.

“As a cancer survivor, I know the challenges a cancer patient and his/her family face in not just dealing or accepting the issue, but also various difficulties that crop up during the course of the treatment and in other spheres of life. My children were only 7 & 3 years old when I was detected with colon cancer in 2000. In 2004 my co-founder Sonal Sharma & I set up CanKids KidsCan under the umbrella of Indian Cancer Society. Our mission is to increase the survival chances of child cancer patients, decrease the number of child cancer cases in India and create an effective cancer treatment model for the country,” says Poonam.

CanKids promotes awareness to encourage early and best possible treatment and believes all cancer children deserve a chance to be happy and to celebrate life – to study, play, live as a family and be healed.

Poonam is also the Vice Chairman of Pallium India – a national trust committed to palliative care. She has represented India as a Survivor Advocate and Global Cancer Ambassador at several forums and Conferences for UN High level meetings and with WHO.

The Karmaveer Award Series, a trivia

The Karmaveer Puraskar Awards established in 2004 by independent social work practitioner Jeroninio (Jerry) Almeida, Founder of Indian Confederation of NGOs (ICONGO), to recognise the hard work and positive impact that social workers have on the lives of vulnerable children, families and adults.

The Karmaveer Puraskar are the global awards for Social Justice and Citizen Action. The awards are given every year on the 26th day of November, which is India’s National Social Justice and Citizen Action Day. These awards applaud unsung heroes who believe ‘It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.’

The Karmaveer Chakra Award is a National People’s Award for Citizen Social Action and a global civilian honours instituted by the International Confederation of NGO (iCONGO) in partnership with the United Nations. It is given to those people across the globe who show relentless courage by walking the path less trodden and initiating a wave of change in society. The award is a tribute to the Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, 11th President of India, who had offered to be the ambassador for the awards. The REX Karmaveer Award commemorates the spirit of outstanding human beings, who bring their one dream on floor and unwind it to effect drastic changes for the betterment of the society.

The Growth Story

“With that spirit in mind we felt we needed to create the highest award to recognize people who are continually being the change and making a difference and hence we conceptualized and created the Karmaveer Maharatna, which we launched in 2019, our 11th year to celebrate completion of 10 years of Karmaveer making a difference around the world. Here we will be felicitating few past award recipients (One male and one female) from each of the 10 years,” says the Founder, Jerry.

It’s Reigning Women Empowerment

Gurgaon women are making their presence felt with their work for the broader community and society. Recently Sashakt Nari Parishad (SNP) under the leadership of Deepa Antil recognised and felicitated women for their social endeavours & services in an event powered by Ministry of Ayush, Government of India.

Functions and felicitation programmes powered by social media groups have become an everyday norm, especially in Gurgaon. Yet, some organisations work at the ground level and also select individuals from the society involved in quietly doing their bit to bring about a change in their surroundings. SNP one such social outfit that reaches out to women in need and at the same time recognises efforts of people who work for social and community welfare.

The Sashakt Nari Parishad

One such forum that is bringing women leaders forward is The Sashakt Nari Parishad (SNP), established in 2011 by leading educationist and woman activist Deepa Antil. A strong torch-bearer for women-centric issues, Deepa spearheads movements for the cause of urban and rural women. Her organisation as the names suggests works for women-specific causes- including child education, gender discrimination, save girl child mission, women health-centric issue like ‘Mass Awareness Campaign for Breast Cancer.’ The NGO is on a mission to provide a comprehensive path to women in need by supporting them in all their perils and challenges through professional judicious guidance and skill development. The other affiliates of SNP include Muslim Mahila Samman Samaroh, Mahila Samman Samaroh, SNP National Achiever Awards and Khaki Samman Samaroh.

Deepa a strong woman, is also one of the torch-bearers of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti adhao’ movement and Paint India Pink, the campaign for the fight against breast cancer.

Apart from handholding women, SNP recognizes the efforts of women from across social strata for outstanding work done by them to bring about a change in the society. SNP has set a benchmark in bringing out the silent contributors who make a difference to the society through their services.

The Achiever’s Award

On December 7, SNP felicitated women achievers at Sirifort Auditorium, New Delhi in a glittering event in association with Ministry of Ayush, Government of India. The award function was attended by many dignitaries including spiritual leaders, ministers, professionals and the gracious gathering of award winners, and other volunteers.

Woman of Substance Awards-2019

The highly coveted ‘Woman of Substance Awards’ an initiative by Sashakt Nari Parishad commemorated 30 individuals and institutions who have demonstrated commendable qualities of leadership and excellence in their professional and personal endeavours, making a contribution to the community at large. “It is just another step forward to make the world a better and safe place for women by acknowledging and appreciating their contribution towards society,’’ adds Deepa.

The award winners from Gurgaon

Veena Gupta
Founder & CMD of Seam Group
Founder, WESS NGO

A proud recipient of the Sashakt Nari Parishad’s Woman of Substance award, Veena Gupta is the founder of Seam Group of companies, she carries more than two decades of experience in executive protection, risk management, real estate, fire and security and is a member of many international security organisations.

“I do not agree with the old belief that men are strong and women need them for their protection. Women are equally capable of protecting themselves, their families and society,”

Veena Gupta

A woman bestowed with the title of ‘Lady Bodyguard,’ Veena Gupta is certified in various martial art forms and self-protection techniques. With her passion for social work, she founded the Women’s Empowerment, Safety and Security (WESS) NGO, a group of likeminded individuals and professionals who have come together for the cause of a safer community and environment for women.

Pushp Dahya
President BrijBhoomi Foundation Haryana, model, theatre artist, poet, motivational speaker and a social activist

A well- known face in the social circles of Gurgaon, Pushp is the founder of Gurgaon Helping Hands, Co-founder of Global Association of Empowered Women, President Brij Bhoomi Foundation Haryana,

Haryana, through her organisations, she reaches out to the underprivileged section of society via conducting donation drives, health camps and more. She believes in connecting people to make a chain wherein each one is supporting the other and moving ahead in life.

“I stand for what I consider right from the inner core of my being. I strongly support the education of the girl child and skill development among women to make them financially independent.’’

Pushp Dahya

Pushp was awarded SNP Achievements Award for her social work and her support for women rights.

Vineeta Jerath Grover
Founder & Editor of SUBURB, Gurgaon’s leading Lifestyle magazine

The true embodiment and spirit of woman empowerment, Vineeta Jerath Grover, Founder & Editor of SUBURB, Gurgaon’s leading Lifestyle magazine was recognised and awarded with the Woman of Substance Award, 2019. Her contribution to journalism, women empowerment and raising a voice through stories of social justice is note worthy and inspiring.

In her hunger to touch upon the lives of people she curates events for the niche and social causes like Thalassemia, Alzheimer’s, Cancer and other public health concerns. She is closely associated with different NGOs and support groups.

“I strongly believe in the power of compassionate co-existence wherein each one gets the opportunity to thrive and learn from each other.’’

Vineeta Jerath Grover

A US certified NLP practitioner, Vineeta believes in healing modalities and reaches out to people as a Reiki channel, beyond time & space, She is a motivational speaker, a mentor in all her humility works for the underprivileged communities.

This article was first published in the print version of January 2020 issue.

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