The list of awardees also included: Arunachalam Muruganantham, Anu Aga, Sandeep Pandey, Sandeep Pandey, Menaka Gandhi, Mansi Pradhan, Nafisa Ali, Lakshmi Agarwal, Prakash Baba Amte, Belinda Wright
Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation, has been conferred Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar 2019 for Smile Foundation’s committed and extensive contribution towards human welfare.
Mishra, recipient of Odisha Living Legend Award, hails from Sambalpur and Odisha. Mishra is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, an Associate Member of Institute of Company Secretaries of India and a lawyer. In 2005, Mishra quit his full-time corporate career and got completely involved in advancing the non-profit Smile Foundation.
Nine individuals have been given the award for building a brand of faith and hope through their conviction and actions while remaining committed to bringing about a change in the society and championing the cause of equality, humanity, social justice and human welfare.
The award ceremony held on August 30 in New Delhi was graced by Pranab Mukherjee, 13th President of India.
The list of awardees also included: Social Entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham; Social Worker Anu Aga; Social Activist Sandeep Pandey; Animal Rights Activist Menaka Gandhi; Women’s Rights Activist and Author Mansi Pradhan; Actress and Social Activist Nafisa Ali; Acid Attack Survivor and Activist Lakshmi Agarwal; Social Worker Prakash Baba Amte; Conservationist and Wild Photographer Belinda Wright.
In his powerful and poignant speech to mark the award ceremony, Former President, Mukherjee invoked the spirit of humanism and equality that underline the Constitution of India and added that: “I am delighted to hand over the awards to such wonderful people. It’s being humane that’s the most important thing in the world. Till the time we can’t become humane, we can’t become humans.”
The award citation highlighted the innovative approach and extensive partnerships, with a range of stakeholders, particularly with companies and corporates, fostered by Smile Foundation to enable interventions that have benefited 750,000 underserved children and their families.
Receiving the award, Mishra, said, “If an organisation created by a few ordinary people, without any experience of the social sector, could mobilise over 400 global corporate and 200,000 individuals to impact the lives of more than 1.5 million children and families in just over 15 years, it gives us hope that a positive change is happening and this may be the beginning of a new world.”
“The concept of society driven change has become more relevant today. New India is on the rise. The thought process of the millennials is different – they are aware of the social disparities around them, more sensitised towards their social responsibility. Increasingly, it is getting important to give access to the lesser privileged, to voice their concerns and issues and bring a sense of empathy to the privileged.”