The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum, in partnership with the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation announced Urvashi Sahni of Study Hall Educational Foundation (SHEF) as the winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year India (SEOY) 2017 Award. The Award was conferred by Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Government of India in New Delhi on Wednesday evening.
Applauding the work of all the three finalists of this year SEOY Award, the Union Minister said “Social Entrepreneurs deal with different aspects and challenges that exists in the society. They are bringing technology with their commitment and passion to transform lives of many people. I firmly believe that changing lives is far more important than anything else and hence to have a happier society we need many more social entrepreneurs like we have seen today.”
Social entrepreneurs are the change agents who are addressing the needs of underserved communities in both scalable and sustainable ways. The winner of SEOY India 2017 Award was able to impress the eminent jury by scoring high on the parameters of innovation, sustainability, direct social impact, reach & scope and replicability. The winner qualified as a candidate who is actively bringing social change by transforming traditional practice and is apt to be a role model for future social entrepreneurs and the general public.
“This year’s three finalists are all working to address different aspects of the education ecosystem – mid-day meals to help students focus in school, increasing girls’ enrollment in marginalised areas, and helping to change attitudes and culture around gender roles through schools. Our three finalists are operating at significant scale across India, pioneering advances in technology, community engagement, and learning methodology to build a strong educational foundation that will enable India’s future as a prosperous, innovative, and inclusive society”, said Hilde Schwab, Chairperson & Co-founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
Urvashi Sahni of Study Hall Educational Foundation (SHEF) was awarded for her exceptional contribution in the field of education that includes, empowers and builds leaders among India’s most disadvantaged girls. Aided by technology, policy push and partnerships with the state governments of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, SHEF has scaled its model of education to 900 government schools, trained 5,000 government teachers and impacted 1,50,000 girls directly and 270,000 girls indirectly in the hotbeds of poverty and gender discrimination.
The other two finalists were Mumbai based Safeena Husain, founder, Educate Girls and Bangalore based Madhu Pandit Dasa, founder, Akshaya Patra Foundation. Safeena, also an educationist, is working to close the Gender Gap in Indian education. Her organisation has evolved over 21,000 school programmes with over 200,000 girls enrolled in rural, remote and tribal areas while Madhu's foundation delivers Mid-Day Meals to 13,636 government schools in 12 states and feeds 16,00,000 students.
Of over 100 applicants received for this year’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year selection process for India, three finalists emerged after several stages of assessment. This year’s jury members included Hilde Schwab, Chairperson & Co founder, Schwab Foundation; Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson & Editorial Director, HT Media; Sudha Pillai, Board Member, Jubilant Life Sciences; Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog; Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprise; Paul Basil, Founder & CEO, Villgro Innovation Foundation; Neichute Doulo, Founder, Entrepreneur Associates & Winner, SEOY 2016 and Neelam Chhiber, Founder, Industree Crafts Foundation and Winner SEOY 2011.
The SEOY Awards have been in existence in India for 13 years now. 2017 celebrates eighth year of partnership between the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation.